Lindy Hume

Lindy Hume was Director of Sydney Festival from 2010 to 2012. She was the first woman in the job and the also first practising artist. This meant she could visit and contribute to rehearsals without artists thinking, “the suits arrive.” Lindy remembers her mission to give different parts of Sydney a voice in the Festival.

I grew up in Glebe, went to Glebe Primary School, Fort Street High, I went to ballet school at Chippendale. You know, I’m the real item in terms of the Sydneysider. And I wanted a reflection of the Sydney that I knew and loved and also hated sometimes. And that kind of ambivalence that I felt about taking on the job of Sydney Festival was partly a bit to do with that sort of rather self-congratulatory, “We’re so fabulous, we’re Sydney” which I genuinely couldn’t identify with. My Sydney is a different kind of a Sydney that I love. I love the crazy cockatoos and the light shimmering through the trees and the cicadas and that sort of amazing heat on your skin. That sort of summer for me is the kind of extraordinary euphoria that you feel in summer in Sydney, and I feel that from when I was a little girl. And it’s as much about that kind of nostalgia that I sort of wanted to tap into a little bit.

But also yes, I wanted to go west because I could see – I mean, that was the big change for me when I came back to Sydney – while a lot of the focus was on sort of, you know, the glamour end of town, the beautiful city at the harbour, that sort of really magnificent, absurdly spectacular part of Sydney that is kind of gobsmackingly glamorous and beautiful – but what was really interesting was watching what was happening out west and the extraordinary growth in confidence in Parramatta and Campbelltown.

This interview is part of the City of Sydney’s oral history project, Sydney Festival through the eyes of its Directors, 1977-2016

Martin Portus