Olivia Ansell has been appointed as the new Director of Sydney Festival. The Australian curator, producer and former dancer, who is currently Head of Contemporary Performance at the Sydney Opera House, will commence her three-year contract in November and present her first festival in January 2022.

Ansell said she is “beyond thrilled” at her appointment. “Truthfully there are two jobs I’ve always wanted – and it’s the one I have now and the one I’ve just accepted, so I cannot believe that that’s happened to me, that I’ve had that strike rate. I adore my job at the Opera House and I always thought one day I’d love to direct the Sydney Festival. I thought I might get approached in many years to come, and all of a sudden here we are,” she told Limelight.

Olivia Ansell. Photograph © Daniel Boud

Ansell took up her current position at the Sydney Opera House in January 2018, where she has curated a program including the musical SIX, Hofesh Shechter’s  acclaimed dance work Grand Finale, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical In the Heights, A O Lang Phoby Cirque Nouveau du Vietnam, Natalia Osipova and David Hallberg’s Pure...