Olivia Ansell has announced her first program as the new Director of Sydney Festival. Running from 6–30 January, her 2022 line-up will span 133 events including 33 world premieres and 52 new commissions.

As she set about programming the Festival, Ansell was constantly having to adjust to the changing health regulations, travel restrictions and border closures due to COVID.

“It’s amazing in the last two years how agile we’ve become,” she says. “We have seen the digitisation of works and people thinking about their carbon footprint, we have seen a lot of social change, so really we are stepping into a different world than we were previously. We have seen unprecedented border issues where I wasn’t sure I could I get Victorian artist home or artists from WA into NSW. I always thought international borders would be difficult but I never imagined we’d be having conversations around what if we can’t get Victorian artists home.”

“So much has happened socially and politically, so the four themes for the festival are: Hope, our dream for the future; Change, empowering hope...