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The time has come, our beloved Executive Director Rob Brookman is retiring after his 45 year career in the arts, 20 of which have been spent in service to the Adelaide Festival. His successor is the dynamic arts leader Elaine Chia who comes to the Festival from City Recital Hall in Sydney and made it to Adelaide just hours before the border was closed to commence the hand-over with Rob.

“It has been a singular privilege to spend a large part of my working life engaged in the task of helping make our Festival one of the best in the world. We have recently experienced another brilliant program from Neil and Rachel, which has further cemented their era as one of the Festival’s finest. Personally, the last three years have been a wonderful coda to my career and I cannot imagine a better way to go out with the Festival on an absolute high, notwithstanding the dramas arising from the unwelcome arrival of COVID-19,” said Rob.

Artistic Directors Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy said, “Rob Brookman is a legend in the arts in this country and beyond. It has been both privilege and pleasure to work with him in delivering the 2018, 2019 and 2020 Adelaide Festivals. His history with the Festival, leadership of our dedicated staff and deep understanding of the Festival’s role in the cultural life of both the state and the nation has been intrinsic to the success of those events. We will miss him greatly. 

We also look forward to a new era working in partnership with Elaine Chia whose own experience, networks, knowledge and leadership style promise to advance Adelaide Festival’s central role in brokering relationships between our audiences and local, national and international artists,” they said.

Elaine is excited about moving to Adelaide, she said, “Rob has given his all to the festival and created a lasting legacy of which I am, along with many others, fortunate recipients. While the challenges faced during this unprecedented time makes it a very interesting time to step into a new role, I’m thrilled to do my part in continuing to grow the festival’s strong local, national and international reputation.”

Festival Chair Judy Potter is delighted to have achieved such a smooth transition in this key role and said: “Rob has dedicated his career to the service of the arts industry and is one of the most successful and experienced arts administrators in Australia.  I and the Board of the Festival thank him for his significant contribution to both the wider arts industry and to the recent success of the Adelaide Festival. His contribution has been outstanding and we owe him a huge debt of thanks. He is a hard act to follow but we have struck gold in securing the unique talents of Elaine Chia to work alongside Rachel, Neil and our team to build upon the outstanding success of the last four Festivals. As a passionate advocate for the arts, her whole-of-business approach brings sensitivity to business and arts practices across diverse cultures and scenarios.”

We’ll miss you, Rob!
Welcome, Elaine!

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