For most of us, the lead-up to Christmas is a chance to take stock, reflect and relax. But for Lindy Hume, all such thoughts are on hold until the end of January. Especially relaxation.
For the new year will find Hume in the final throes of preparation for the 2010 Sydney Festival. Taking over the artistic directorship from Fergus Linehan, she is only the sixth Director in the Festival’s 33-year history.
Although born in Paddington, Hume spent much of her childhood in Annandale and Glebe, and has strong links with the area. “Wigram Road was my home for a long time. I went to Glebe Public School and Camperdown Public School in Fort Street, my mum was teaching at Sydney University and my dad was teaching at Ultimo,” she said.
As with any new director, Hume will inevitably put her own stamp on proceedings. She is careful, however, to turn the focus away from her own role and toward the essence of the event: “This Festival is not about me; it’s about our audience.”
But she happily admits there is a burden of responsibility on her part not to disrupt the successful elements of a long-standing formula.
“A lot of our thinking … particularly for 2010, has been around this idea of continuity and change,” she said. “On one side, what are the things that are absolutely inviolable, the Festival staples – what must we maintain at all costs? And when you look at those things, they’re pretty damned obvious. We must have that bold, adventurous, contemporary programming; we must have an amazing free program; we must have that sense of adventure and ‘la dolce vita’, fabulous moments that are a part of the Festival.”
Also a Festival staple is opening night, with the CBD set to play host to nearly a quarter of a million people. American soul legend Al Green will headline a free concert in The Domain.
The program for the inner west, meanwhile, takes in a ‘walking route’ area, encompassing a number of venues. “The Seymour Centre is absolutely packed with programming – everything from the gorgeous Manganiyar production, which is these 43 Rajasthani musicians in this crazy light-box contraption, [to] one of our theatre highlights, ‘Six Characters In Search Of An Author’,” she said. “We’ve also got a huge number of projects in CarriageWorks, and then there’s John Cale at the Enmore Theatre.
“In a way you don’t need to leave the precinct to get the most amazing things out of the Festival. In a way we’re just responding to the people that we know are in the area, and what we know they love – contemporary music, it’s very much arts – and theatre-oriented people there.”
The 2010 Sydney Festival runs from January 9 to 30 at locations throughout Sydney.