Meet The Artistic Director

Andrew Ross

After being involved in the Melbourne student and alternative theatre scene in the 1970s, Andrew set up a schools touring theatre company in Perth, Western Australia which later became Acting Out and ultimately Barking Gecko. After undertaking post-graduate director training in the UK with the British Council he returned to Australia to work with Jack Davis on his first major play The Dreamers for the 1982 Festival of Perth. On his way back to Australia he travelled through India, Malaysia and Indonesia taking every opportunity to see live performances, commencing a lifelong interest in the performing arts of South Asia and South East Asia.

After The Dreamers he continued to work with Jack Davis with the production of No Sugar touring to Vancouver, Ottawa and London and the First Born trilogy winning the Melbourne Greenroom award for the best production of 1988. In 1991 he became the first Artistic Director of the newly formed Black Swan Theatre Company in Western Australia where he stayed until 2003. During this fertile period of creativity he worked closely with composer Iain Grandage, designer Zoe Atkinson and painter Robert Juniper, directing the premieres of musicals Bran Nue Dae and Corrugation Road, Mamu with the Tjuntjuntjarra community from the Great Victoria Desert, adaptations of the novels Tourmaline and the Merry-Go-Round in the Sea by Randolph Stow and The Year of Living Dangerously by Christopher Koch, and in the 2000 Perth International Arts Festival, Plainsong adapted from the medieval mystery plays by David Britton.

In 2003 he took up the position of Director of the newly opened Brisbane Powerhouse where he remained for 10 years overseeing a program including commissioning and producing several international touring productions. In 2014 he worked within the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy producing the Indonesian Performing Arts Market, IPAM 2013. Andrew Ross was the recipient of an Australia-Indonesia Merdeka Fellowship, enabling him to research the export potential of the contemporary performing arts of Indonesia.

He has taught and directed productions at the Victorian College for the Arts and Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts where he was an Associate Professor. 2015 was Andrew's first as Artistic Director of Darwin Festival, a Festival that catered to the many, balanced the familiar with the strange, the sublime with the frivolous and most of all, created for the true festival adventurer the possibility of that totally unexpected and thrilling moment that makes a festival a festival.