Chrissy Sharp to leave Sydney Writers’ Festival after three years of remarkable leadership. 

Brooke Webb and Michael Williams to lead the 2022 Festival. 

Chrissy Sharp, one of Australia’s leading and most respected arts administrators, has resigned as CEO of Sydney Writers’ Festival after three outstanding years of service.

“We have loved every moment of Chrissy’s leadership with us,” Sydney Writers’ Festival Chair Mark Scott said.

“We could not believe our good fortune in recruiting Chrissy back in 2018, and every day she confirmed that initial view with her clear and decisive leadership, not least in taking us through the massive COVID disruption of 2020.”

The phenomenal success of the 2021 Festival and its strong focus on Australian writers and ideas that saw significant attendance rates was in no small part due to Chrissy’s energy and determination for the Festival to bounce back after the cancellation of the 2020 program due to the COVID lockdown.

Despite the cancellation and closed borders, the Festival’s trust and foundation funding increased by 262% in 2020. Chrissy also oversaw remarkable growth in the Festival’s digital program of podcasts and events, with close to 600,000 downloads from May 2020 to May 2021.

“There are few leaders of Australian arts organisations who have earned greater respect and admiration than Chrissy Sharp. We will miss her intellect and commitment to delivering the finest experiences for audiences.”

Mark Scott, Sydney Writers’ Festival Chair

Following the success of the 2021 Festival, the Sydney Writers’ Festival Board of Directors is happy to announce that CEO Brooke Webb and Artistic Director Michael Williams have been appointed in their respective roles to lead the organisation over the next 12 months, delivering the 2022 Festival. 

Brooke Webb has been an executive director, executive producer and artistic director for leading global entertainment and production companies for 25 years. She has produced and directed large-scale festivals including Vivid LIVE, GRAPHIC festival and The Taste of Tasmania, as well as theatrical concert events for Cirque du Soleil and Universal Music (NYC), Julie Taymor’s ‘The Lion King’ and Mel Brooks’ ‘The Producers’. Brooke was appointed Acting CEO in February 2021 and was instrumental to the effective delivery of this year’s Festival. 

Michael Williams has spent the past decade at the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne; as its founding head of programming in 2009, and then as its director from September 2011. He has hosted two shows on ABC Radio National and is a regular guest on ABC radio and TV. He is currently also host of Guardian Australia’s monthly book club. Michael was the Artistic Director of the 2021 Festival.

“We are very fortunate to have Brooke and Michael working with us again to deliver the next Sydney Writers’ Festival,” Mark said.

“They are both exceptional, creative leaders and have a clear sense of what our audiences want from one of the world’s great writers’ festivals.”

“The Board is very excited about what they have in store for our committed and growing audiences in 2022.”

 

For further information, please contact Festival Media Manager, Benython Oldfield benython@zeitgeistmediagroup.com | 0410 355 790