Lindy Hume's Farewell

(7.30pm 9 February 2012, Carriageworks)

Thank you. Good evening, everyone. I would like firstly to acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the 200 nationalities who make up our wonderful city.

Lindy, we are here to say goodbye to you and thank you for your three inspiring Sydney Festivals.

Looking back over 2010, 2011 and this January, there are so many memories of outstanding performances and events.

Each director brings something of his or her own cultural bias and individual genius to Sydney Festival.

In Lindy's case, I think they found expression in her determination that Aboriginal culture should be not just represented, but strongly integrated into the Festival programs.

It really flowered this year in "Black Capital", established in partnership with Carriageworks.

"I Am Eora" was an extraordinarily ambitious fusion of music, theatre and dance, featuring an amazing group of artists who touched minds and hearts with their vital and intense performance.

"Black Capital" also gave us the opportunity to see and hear a range of other talented artists including Brook Andrew whose "caravans as art" is still intriguing patrons out in the Carriageworks foyer.

As well as continuing traditions such as Festival First Night, Lindy also broadened its reach through an expanded program of talks and forums that connected people with art and ideas.

An important strand of that was the relationship with Sydney University that Lindy developed resulting in an array of events, ranging from open-air cinema in the Quad to engaging Master of Architecture students to design a temporary performance venue for one of three Festival spaces.

Then there was the Bright Club - a late-night comedy show with University lecturers delivering eight-minute stand-up routines on their chosen subject in The Famous Spiegeltent.

Over the past three years, there have been wonderful concerts such as the Manganiyar [mang-an-yar] Seduction, the fabulous Trocadero Dance Palace at Town Hall and - one of my own favourite - My Bicycle Loves You - a co-commission with Perth festival, for Legs on the Wall in 2011. This year Babel and Assembly.

Like every director, Lindy had to contend with unpredictable weather, unexpected glitches and the ever-present anxieties about box-office. But with the stalwart backing of Josephine and her staff she has given us a memorable and inspiring series of Festivals.

Well-known as a director of theatre and opera here, in Europe and in the US, she is now taking on a new role as Artistic Director of Opera Queensland.

They are lucky to have her.

Lindy, we wish you all the best there and thank you for a wonderful three years here!