Sydney Festival 2012 Program Launch

(7pm 2 November 2011, CarriageWorks)

Good evening, everyone, and welcome. I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, and to pay my respects to the Elders, both past and present. And I thank Ricky Lyons for his Welcome to Country.

I'd like to offer a special welcome this evening to:

  • Premier Barry O'Farrell, and President of Sydney Festival;
  • Minister for the Arts, George Souris;
  • Michael Crouch, of Zip Industries, the Festival's principal sponsor;
  • Members of the Consular Family;
  • to the fabulous, hard-working staff of Sydney Festival; and of course, to
  • Lindy Hume, whose third and final Festival this is.

And to you all, Distinguished guests

It's come a long way since 1977, hasn't it? But then so has Sydney, and Sydney Festival reflects our City in all its vivid and engrossing variety.

It creates a welcoming and charismatic global meeting place, connecting Sydney to the world, attracting visitors and enriching our cultural and imaginative life.

Lindy's final program lives up to this promise over a wide range of art-forms, featuring international and Australian performers from the worlds of music, dance, physical theatre, popular culture, visual arts and more.

It's like some marvellous net cast right across Sydney, bringing people together in celebration of all that Sydney, and the world, has to offer.

Its now-famous range of spectacular free events as well as the ANZ Tix for Next to Nix booth in Martin Place make it a genuinely accessible Festival for all. This year it is further broadening that accessibility by offering Captioning and Audio Description for selected performances - a trend it will continue in future.

Our City Villages will play host to a range of events, the City Recital Hall will feature jazz and contemporary music, while the Festival Garden and The Famous Spiegeltent will again return to our beautiful Hyde Park. Exciting programs will be staged at the Sydney Opera House and the University of Sydney.

The City of Sydney is a proud partner with the NSW Government and the corporate sector in ensuring this Festival can continue to inspire, provoke and delight us all.

Of our $1.65 million contribution, half a million goes to Festival First Night, the free event which takes over the city streets and herald's the Festival's beginning.

It's a stunning way for people to reconnect with their City, to discover for themselves the possibilities inherent in our streets and public spaces.

As Chair of the Board, on behalf of the Festival board members, I thank all our partners and sponsors, including our new Sustainability Partner, Unilever which is helping the Festival to develop its own Green Plan to make it a truly sustainable event.

In partnership with the NSW Government, we've this year established a relationship with our sister-city of Guangzhou via China Southern Airlines which is our official airline for the 2012 Festival and also our first overseas-based sponsor.

I also want to thank the Associate Producers - a generous support group of individuals, foundations and arts organisations, who this year enabled Sydney Festival's biggest-ever commission, I am Eora, to be created. They join the Director's Circle members, the founding donors of the Festival's philanthropy program.

Our thanks also to Zip Industries, a home-grown family company, now international, supporting Australian innovation in the very significant component of Australian work in the 2012 program.

From the board, and from the people of Sydney, a very big thank-you to you all.

And a very big thank-you to Lindy Hume, who has delighted, intrigued and stimulated this City for the past two years, and in 2012, will do so again.

It will be a thrilling start to summer!