The Board of Darwin Festival has announced that experienced arts leader Kate Fell will take over the role of Artistic Director following current AD Felix Preval’s departure after this year’s festival, bringing his six-year tenure to an end.

Kate Fell

Kate Fell. Photo supplied.

Fell comes to the role with over 20 years of experience in the arts sector, most recently in the role of Program Director at Brisbane Festival. Previously she served as Executive Producer at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) and Creative Director for Festival 2018 at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, as well as working with Circa Contemporary Circus for seven years.

“I’m incredibly excited to be accepting the role of Artistic Director of Darwin Festival and can’t wait to immerse myself in the Festival program this year before stepping into the role full-time. The Northern Territory has a truly unique creative arts scene, and it offers something that can’t be found anywhere else in Australia. I look forward to becoming a part of this wonderful community and helping lead an international Festival that Territorians can be proud of,” said Fell.

Fell will join the festival this year, before taking over creative direction for the 2023, 2024 and 2025 festivals.

“Darwin Festival’s Board are pleased to welcome Kate on board as our new Artistic Director. Kate’s impressive background as a leader in large scale Festivals is sure to have a positive impact on the future of Darwin Festival and we look forward to working with her,” said Board Chair Ian Kew. “The Board would also like to acknowledge and thank Felix for his steadfast determination and passion in leading the creative direction of the Darwin Festival over the last six years. His tireless work has helped position the Festival as a leading international art and culture event.” 

“Directing Darwin Festival artistic vision has been a real highlight for me professionally and personally, and I couldn’t be happier to pass the baton on to Kate Fell,” said outgoing Artistic Director Felix Preval. “Kate is a wonderful colleague and collaborator, and I feel sure that she will bring Darwin many more years of fantastic programming, and will fall in love with the city, just as I have.”

This year’s Darwin Festival runs 4–21 August, with performances throughout Darwin in venues including Darwin Entertainment Centre and Brown’s Mart Theatre. Headlined by comedian and musician Tim Minchin, the 2022 program features Andrea James’ play Sunshine Super Girl, Mitch Jones’ dark climate-minded circus Autocannibal and the Darwin leg of the Australian Ballet’s regional tour.

“Darwin Festival has experienced enormous change, growth and, ultimately, great success under Felix’s artistic direction. On behalf of the staff, artists, board of Darwin Festival, we thank Felix for his outstanding commitment, passion and flair over these last six years. A huge welcome to Kate! Her steadfast track record and leadership qualities are a coup for Darwin Festival,” said Darwin Festival CEO James Gough.


More information about Darwin Festival can be found at darwinfestival.org.au

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