NEW SHEP­PAR­TON FES­TI­VAL DI­REC­TOR

IN­COM­ING CRE­ATIVE DI­REC­TOR LOOK­ING FOR­WARD TO BE­COM­ING PART OF THRIV­ING ARTIS­TIC COM­MU­NITY

Shepparton News - - FRONT PAGE - By Tara Whitsed ● Ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est for the Shep­par­ton Fes­ti­val close on Mon­day, Septem­ber 4, and can be sent to ad­min@shep­par­ton­fes­ti­val.org.au

Shep­par­ton Fes­ti­val’s new cre­ative di­rec­tor Steve May­hew is ex­cited to work with the com­mu­nity after of­fi­cially tak­ing up the po­si­tion this week.

‘‘I’m ex­cited to have fun and play with the com­mu­nity and art that’s be­ing pro­duced lo­cally as well as na­tion­ally,’’ he said.

Out­go­ing fes­ti­val di­rec­tor Ros Aber­crom­bie, who has spent the past three years in the role, said she was rapt when the board told her Mr May­hew would take up the po­si­tion.

‘‘It’s great the fes­ti­val can once again bring an out­side per­son who can work with the com­mu­nity,’’ she said.

‘‘It couldn’t be go­ing into bet­ter hands.’’

Ms Aber­crom­bie said although she had not met Mr May­hew pre­vi­ously, she was fa­mil­iar with his work after he spent the past 25 years pro­duc­ing, cu­rat­ing and pro­gram­ming the arts.

In­ter­est­ingly, the tran­si­tion could be seen as a role-swap as Ms Aber­crom­bie forges into her fu­ture po­si­tion as cre­ative pro­ducer of Coun­try Arts SA — where Mr May­hew has just fin­ished up.

Ms Aber­crom­bie said it showed that a spe­cific skill set was re­quired when it came to run­ning re­gional arts events.

‘‘There’s a dif­fer­ent way of work­ing re­gion­ally,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s a dif­fer­ent play­ing space and it’s ex­cit­ing that there’s some­one com­ing into the role who can work lo­cally.’’

Although Ms Aber­crom­bie said she had spent the past few months get­ting used to the idea of say­ing good­bye to Shep­par­ton, the fes­ti­val was in an ex­cit­ing stage of growth.

She said ev­ery­one in­volved had worked hard to re­brand and re­set the fes­ti­val’s cre­ative di­rec­tion, hav­ing also se­cured fund­ing from Re­gional Arts Vic­to­ria.

‘‘It’s also a tes­ta­ment to ev­ery­one who came be­fore me. We feel we’re in a re­ally ex­cit­ing space with lo­cal arts as well.’’

Mr May­hew said it would be busi­ness as usual look­ing to next year’s Shep­par­ton Fes­ti­val with the theme ‘By De­sign’ after the an­nual gen­eral meet­ing was held this week.

‘‘There will be things that look dif­fer­ent, but keep talk­ing to us. We’re al­ways here,’’ he said.

Pic­ture: Julie Mercer

New to the job: Shep­par­ton Fes­ti­val’s in­com­ing cre­ative di­rec­tor Steve May­hew (front) with out­go­ing fes­ti­val di­rec­tor Ros Aber­crom­bie and cur­rent fes­ti­val chair Fiona Smole­naars.

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