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David Sefton to become artistic director of the Adelaide Festival in Australia

March 2, 2011 |  3:34 pm

Sefton&Lenka David Sefton, former executive and artistic director of the UCLA Live performing arts series, has told Culture Monster he is getting a new job in a new country.

Sefton, 48, will become artistic director of the Adelaide Festival in Australia in 2013, 2014 and 2015 --the first years it will go from a biennial to an annual format. He says he will begin working with the festival in May and he and his family will move to Australia in the fall.

The festival issued a press release announcing Sefton's appointment Wednesday. The multi-week event, which was started in 1960, presents Australian and international artists in fields including opera, music, theater and dance. "It also has a lot built around it," says Sefton, such as a writer's week and the WOMADelaide world music and dance festival.

"I hope to do many of the things I tried to do here," says Sefton, "such as bringing in interesting new international performers, building bridges to different music worlds and breaking down barriers." He also plans to "expand on Adelaide's history of commissioning and producing."

Sefton, who is from Liverpool, England, ran the contemporary culture programs at London's South Bank  Centre/Royal Festival Hall before spending nearly a decade at UCLA Live, where he increased the artistic ambition and scope of the series' programming. He resigned last May because, he says, "we all agreed it was no longer possible to deliver the program they had brought me in to do 10 years ago, given the financial environment the state and the university found themselves in."

Since his departure from Westwood, Sefton has been "exploring the feasibility" of creating a downtown multi-arts festival. Adelaide Festival officials approached him at the beginning of the year, he says, and he was hired soon after. "It's exciting because Adelaide is a festival town and there's lots of support from the community and the government," says Sefton, noting that he will have "substantially greater resources" than he had at UCLA.

Sefton recently received another piece of good news. He has been named a Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters by France's Ministry of Culture. The award is given "to people who work in the field of arts and letters who make a significant contribution to French culture," says a spokeswoman for the French consulate in Los Angeles. She said Sefton, who is being honored for promoting French artists through his work with UCLA Live, is scheduled to receive his medal this spring.


UCLA Live director David Sefton resigns

UCLA Live eliminates international theater festival in 2010-11

-- Karen Wada

Above: Sefton with Lenka Udovicki, who directed Annette Bening in UCLA Live's "Medea" in 2009, at an after-party for the play. Credit: Mark Savage