The Melbourne Festival Board has reappointed Artistic Director Brett Sheehy to oversee a third Festival in 2011.

Festival President Carrillo Gantner AO says ’Brett did a great job in programming his first Melbourne Festival last year. Audiences were up by 36% and box office by 18% compared to the previous year. The Festival is in a growth phase and Brett has exciting plans in train for this year. Top of the agenda for my first meeting of the Festival Board was Brett’s reappointment for 2011. The Board is delighted that he has accepted as it will give our audience and sponsors confidence that the Festival will continue to flourish’.

Brett Sheehy’s first Festival exceeded expectations with outstanding ticket sales, many sold out seasons and near-capacity houses. The stunning 16-day program enthralled, excited and challenged Festival-goers and evoked lively discussion and engagement across the city.

Festival CEO Vivia Hickman says ‘I am delighted to continue working with Brett in our joint quest to make the Melbourne Festival one of the world’s leading annual, international arts festivals. We aim to significantly increase Melbourne’s identity as an arts capital city in the global arts arena and have exciting plans in the pipeline for 2010 and now 2011.’

Brett Sheehy says ‘At the outset of my tenure, the Festival Board, Vivia Hickman and I embarked on a
challenging multi-year vision of growth and engagement for Melbourne Festival, and I’m delighted to be staying the course for another year.”

Brett Sheehy is one of Australia's most accomplished and acclaimed directors, producers and curators. He is the first person ever to be appointed to direct three of the five international arts festivals in Australia's State capital cities and is an advocate for excellence, innovation, accessibility and dialogue between all artforms in the Australian cultural landscape.

The Melbourne Festival is Victoria’s flagship cultural event. Heralded for its global reach and its importance to Australian and internationally recognised artists, the Festival’s program focuses on the contemporary trends in all artforms and typically brings together over 700 artists each October in Melbourne.

Brett Sheehy will launch his 2010 Melbourne Festival program on Tuesday 13 July. The 2010 Melbourne Festival will be held between 8-23 October.