15 Dec 2011
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New Zealand-born Shelagh Magadza will be the new Artistic Director of the New Zealand International Arts Festival for 2014 and beyond.
Ms Magadza was Artistic Director of the past four Perth International Arts Festivals. She was appointed after a highly competitive selection process involving high-calibre applicants from around the world, says Festival Executive Chair, Kerry Prendergast.
“Shelagh is exceptionally talented and her artistic leadership of the last four Perth Festivals has been characterised by bold and imaginative artistic leadership, an appetite for risk and a focus on reaching into the community. Her programming at Perth contributed to significant growth in audience numbers and box office success during her tenure,’’ says Ms Prendergast.
The Perth Festival is the longest running annual international arts festival in the southern hemisphere, with a strong international reputation. In addition to her position as Perth’s Artistic Director, Ms Magadza was previously the festival’s Assistant Director.
Born in New Zealand, Ms Magadza lived in Zimbabwe until she was 20, before returning to New Zealand. Moving to Wellington in 2012 to take up her new position “gives me the opportunity to re-engage with a place that is one of the most exciting cultural centres in the region”, she says.
Prior to moving to Perth in 2002, Shelagh Magadza had a long and successful relationship with the New Zealand International Arts Festival, working for five Festivals in a variety of roles. She has also held positions with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Harare International Arts Festival.
“Shelagh is a dynamic and inspiring arts sector leader who will bring an extraordinary combination of skills to her new role,” says Ms Prendergast. “She understands New Zealand audiences, she delivers programmes that are contemporary, inspiring and that take risks. She has a track record of attracting some of the world’s leading artists to her festivals and also commissioning new local works.’’
Ms Magadza will take up her new position in April next year, replacing the current New Zealand International Arts Festival Artistic Director, Lissa Twomey. Ms Twomey’s third and final New Zealand International Arts Festival opens on 24 February 2012.
Ms Prendergast said New Zealand International Arts Festival had been fortunate in attracting highly talented Artistic Directors and paid tribute to Ms Twomey’s programming since 2008. “Lissa’s three festivals have been characterised by exciting and lively programming. Her 2012 Festival is no exception and has already attracted huge interest and healthy ticket sales.’’