Carriageworks today named respected international arts administrator Fergus Linehan as its next Chief Executive Officer.
Fergus is known across the world for his success leading the Edinburgh International Festival, Sydney Festival, Vivid Live at the Sydney Opera House and the Dublin Theatre Festival.
He curated Carriageworks’ inaugural performance, ‘Zero Degrees’ by Akram Khan and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, in January 2007, when he led the Sydney Festival.
“We are thrilled to have attracted such a respected international figure to lead Carriageworks into its next chapter,” Carriageworks chair, Cass O’Connor, said today.
“We were determined to appoint such an accomplished leader because of the scale of our ambition. Carriageworks has both history and potential at a time our arts and cultural sectors spark back to life. Importantly, new state and federal governments have similar ambitions to strengthen Australia’s creative industries,” she said.
Fergus said he was excited about the potential for Carriageworks to grow in a way that engages and serves the community.
“In 2007 I stepped through the doors of Carriageworks as curator of the venue’s inaugural performance. The performance was a stunning convergency of cultures, art forms and perspectives that left me in awe. But it was the venue itself that left an indelible mark,” Fergus said.
“Here, on this site of culture, industry and activism, architects Tonkin Zulaikha Greer had shaped one of the greatest performing arts facilities in the world. In a city that treasured its eastern harbour views, here was an urban space that optimistically faced west and towards the future.
“I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to serve the local and wider Sydney communities, but I am also acutely aware of the responsibility that comes with it. Carriageworks sits on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, in a place of profound cultural and historical significance.
“I will do everything I can to contribute to this remarkable venue and the community it serves, alongside the passionate team at Carriageworks,” he said.
Cass paid tribute to Jonty Claypole MBE, a former Director of Arts for the BBC, who was persuaded to serve for a finite time as interim CEO during the search process.
“I would like to acknowledge Jonty Claypole’s outstanding leadership. We had worked with him in late 2022 before requesting that he join as Acting CEO early this year. He stepped out of other commitments at very short notice and provided thoughtful guidance and direction for the team,” Cass said.
“Jonty will continue to be in high demand across the sector, and we look forward to having a continuing association with him in the future,” she concluded.
Fergus, who was born in Ireland, returned to Sydney last year where he now lives with his wife Sophie and two children. He will join Carriageworks on 1 June 2023.