MARTIN’S PIAF AD­VEN­TURE

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - TANYA MACNAUGHTON

IT has been ex­actly nine months since Syd­ney-born Wendy Martin moved to Su­bi­aco to start her four-year ad­ven­ture as Perth In­ter­na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val (Piaf) artis­tic di­rec­tor but her con­nec­tion to the city be­gan long be­fore then.

“My pa­ter­nal grand­fa­ther was born in Perth in 1898 and was an im­pre­sario who ran the Tivoli cir­cuit in Mel­bourne and Syd­ney,” Martin said.

“My dad took over the Tivoli cir­cuit when he was 24 be­fore be­com­ing a film and tele­vi­sion pro­ducer and then for 26 years he was the chief ex­ec­u­tive of Syd­ney Opera House.

“So I grew up sit­ting in the plush red vel­vet seats of the Tivoli Theatre as a lit­tle girl and one of my strong­est mem­o­ries is be­ing just over two years old, sit­ting in my mother’s lap at the Tivoli watch­ing The Wizard of

Oz.”

It was while Martin her­self was work­ing at Syd­ney Opera House that she be­came aware of the “amaz­ing pro­gram­ming” former Piaf artis­tic di­rec­tor Sean Do­ran was do­ing be­fore she trav­elled west for her first Piaf pro­gram driven by Lindy Hume.

Sev­eral fes­ti­vals later, Martin left her role as head of per­form­ing and dance at Lon­don’s South­bank Cen­tre to see Jonathan Hol­loway’s fi­nal ‘gi­ant’ tri­umph in Fe­bru­ary be­fore tak­ing on the huge role.

“I now have an of­fice over­look­ing the Swan River and be­fore that I was over­look­ing the Thames and be­fore that I had a view of Syd­ney Har­bour,” Martin said.

“I don’t know where you go from here but I have four years to think about it.”

Martin, who is a keen cy­clist and in love with Cottes­loe Beach, said the sense of ad­ven­ture and op­por­tu­nity to dis­cover the city her grand­fa­ther grew up in at­tracted her to the po­si­tion.

“I am def­i­nitely in­spired by a sense of place, by the ex­tra­or­di­nary land­scape of WA, the rich in­dige­nous cul­ture po­si­tioned on the In­dian Ocean rim and the di­verse cul­tural com­mu­nity,” she said.

“At the heart of Piaf is the work of the world’s great artists; I think it’s through the lens of their imag­i­na­tion that we get to see, un­der­stand and re-imag­ine our world and that’s why I think fes­ti­val time is so ex­cit­ing, to be in the or­bit of the world’s great cre­ative imag­i­na­tions.”

Martin said she looked for­ward to the new Piaf hub at El­iz­a­beth Quay host­ing an incredible pro­gram of con­tem­po­rary mu­sic while fes­ti­val open­ing Home at Lan­g­ley Park would be an epic cel­e­bra­tion of land­scape, cul­ture and com­mu­nity.

“We’ve put so much thought and pas­sion into cre­at­ing the pro­gram and hope au­di­ences em­brace it with that same pas­sion and ex­cite­ment.”

Perth In­ter­na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val 2016 runs Fe­bru­ary 11 to March 6.

The 2016 pro­gram was launched on Wed­nes­day at Perth Con­cert Hall and is at www.perth­fes­ti­val.com.au.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie d446088

Piaf artis­tic di­rec­tor Wendy Martin.

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