Meet PIAF Artistic Director Wendy Martin

Tuesday 1 November 2016

She grew up on the plush red velvet seats of the Tivoli theatre in Sydney and now she bounces from West Coast to East Coast and across the world taking in the works of inspiring, entertaining and thought-provoking artists – all to take you on a big, bold PIAF adventure. Get to know our Artistic Director Wendy Martin.

Personally, what is your favourite part of Western Australia?

I’m in love with the turquoise blue of the Indian Ocean and the changing hues of the WA sunset.

Favourite city to travel to:

I’ve travelled so much this year to great cities across Asia and Europe and the US that right now I just want to be home in the quiet beauty of Perth.

How many shows have you seen in the last year?

It would probably take me an hour trawling through my diary to count them all!

What does a year in the life of PIAF’s Artistic Director look like?

Angst in January, Festival fever in February, recovery in March – and then it all starts again.

How have you arrived at this point in your career?

I worked in television and hit the jackpot with a job at ABC TV Arts and later at SBS. I interviewed every Aussie and international artist who toured to Australia, made arts documentaries and, inspired by those experiences, wanted to produce live events. At Sydney Opera House then Southbank Centre, London I produced a range of festivals before landing at PIAF.

How does the programming process start for you?

The programming process is constant and ongoing. I’m always researching, thinking about the program, seeing work, reading reviews, watching videos and staying in contact with colleagues across the world.

What can we expect from this year’s program?

Beauty, whimsy, fantastic entertainment and thought-provoking work.

Name an artist you love working with:

Nigel Jamieson. We both believe that art has the power to change the way people see the world.

Name a budding artist that people in Perth should keep an eye out for:

Ochre Contemporary Dance Company under the new artistic leadership and exciting vision of Mark Howett.

Is there a lot of pressure to make every Festival bigger than the last?

Bigger doesn't mean better. I want people to have experiences that make them think and feel deeply. So many people have told me they loved our 2016 opening event Home and our Museum of Empathy project, Mile in My Shoes. This tells me how greatly the audience values our own stories –that has been the most important understanding for me.