Fergus Linehan appointed new director for the Edinburgh Festival


The new director of the Edinburgh International Festival has been appointed.

Fergus Linehan will take up the role full-time from October next year, replacing Jonathan Mills, who will step down after eight years in charge.

The 43-year-old Irishman was named director designate today and will begin work on a part-time basis on 1 May ahead of planning for his first festival in 2015.

From 2004 to 2009 he was chief executive and artistic director of the Sydney Festival before going on to work as head of music at Sydney Opera House.

Before that, he spent five years working as the artistic director of the Dublin Theatre Festival.

Mr Linehan, who is currently director of Sydney's Vivid Live festival, said: "I am delighted and deeply honoured to have been appointed as the next director of the Edinburgh International Festival.

"I look forward to safeguarding the founding principles of the festival in ways which are engaging and relevant to all.

"In particular, I look forward to moving to Edinburgh to serve the devoted festival-goers and artists from Scotland and around the world, who have grown to love this wonderful institution over the past seven decades.

"Successful festivals respond to both place and provenance to create a unique identity, and this is particularly true of Edinburgh, the pre-eminent festival city.

"It is with this in mind that I will begin the exciting work of developing my plans and ideas for the 2015 and future festivals."

Donald Wilson, Edinburgh's Lord Provost and chair of the Edinburgh International Festival Society, said: "Fergus brings new skills, intellectual rigour and a highly successful track record to the festival and the city."

Holyrood Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop added: "The Edinburgh International Festival has a worldwide reputation for excellence and innovation.

"In bringing together exceptionally talented artists from nations across the globe, it helps to celebrate and promote Scotland's rich culture and heritage on the world stage and strengthen our links with other countries.

"I welcome Fergus Linehan's appointment as director and wish him every success in the role."