Ebony Bott announced as new Head of Contemporary Performance
Sydney – Tuesday 10 November, 2020. Leading arts curator and producer Ebony Bott has been appointed as Sydney Opera House's new Head of Contemporary Performance, overseeing the development of innovative and entertaining new productions by today’s great artists from Australia and the world.
Launched in January 2017, the Opera House’s Contemporary Performance program has established itself as integral part of the Sydney arts landscape through the presentation of unmissable contemporary dance, music theatre, cabaret, circus and magic, comedy, and pop-culture events.
Ebony brings 16 years’ experience as a festival director, programmer and creative producer to the role, having worked across a variety of senior curatorial, marketing and audience development positions in both Australia and New Zealand. Most recently as Creative Director of Cabaret and Commercial at Adelaide Festival Centre (Jan 2018-Oct 2020), Ebony curated and delivered the award-winning Adelaide Cabaret Festival and the broader musical theatre and commercial program. Prior to this, she was the Creative Producer of Families and Young People at Arts Centre Melbourne.
During her career, Ebony has worked in many leading Australian theatre companies in a range of marketing, producing and directorial roles including Arena Theatre Company, Back to Back Theatre, Circus Oz as well in festival focused roles at Australian Festival for Young People (Come Out) and New Zealand’s National Theatre for Children and Children’s National Arts Festival in Wellington. She has also worked as a freelance producer for Yana Alana & Tha Paranas; Dee & Cornelius; and contemporary dance artist Alison Currie.
Ebony will join the iconic arts venue’s internal programming team Sydney Opera House Presents, led by Fiona Winning (Director, Programming) and will work alongside five other programming heads, including Stuart Buchanan (Digital Programming), Tamara Harrison (Children, Families & Creative Learning), Ben Marshall (Contemporary Music), Rhoda Roberts AO (First Nations) and Edwina Throsby (Talks & Ideas).
Sydney Opera House Director, Programming Fiona Winning, said: “We’re delighted to welcome accomplished and internationally regarded curator, Ebony Bott, to the Sydney Opera House Presents team. The Opera House is for everyone, so the diversity of our artistic experience is critical to ensure both the relevance and reach of the program. Ebony’s incredible depth of experience means that she is uniquely placed to lead our Contemporary Performance team, who play a key role in creating bold, entertaining and inspiring experiences that connect with audiences across the community.”
Ebony Bott said: “I’m excited about the opportunity to lead, advocate and curate an ambitious contemporary performance program for this iconic cultural institution. It’s important that our major performing arts venues are an anchor for the arts sector at this time of great change, through conversation, through guidance, through presentation opportunities and by continuing to herald innovative ways to reach audiences. I am galvanised by the possibilities within this role, at this time.”
Ebony commenced in the position this week, and fills the role vacated by Olivia Ansell who programmed three years of Contemporary Performance – creating an appealing mix of entertaining, provocative, and popular productions that saw significant audience growth during her tenure. Highlights included music theatre presentations (Six, In The Heights), cabaret (Blanc de Blanc Encore); magic, circus and illusion (The Illusionists: Direct from Broadway and Cirque Stratosphere) and comedy (Hannah Gadsby). Olivia departed the Opera House to take the role of Festival Director, Sydney Festival from 2022-2024.
Upcoming Contemporary Performance presentations include comedy gala Let’s Laugh and the recently announced seasons of RENT, James Galea’s BEST TRICK EVER and Circa’s Peepshow.
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