Olga Barry announced as new Festival Director of Kilkenny Arts Festival

Kilkenny Arts Festival has announced the appointment of Olga Barry as Festival Director, a position which she will take up in September.

This appointment comes following the announcement in recent months that current Festival Director Eugene Downes would complete his five-year tenure as Festival Director with the event’s 45th edition this August.

Olga Barry is currently the Festival Producer for Kilkenny Arts Festival and has previously held senior positions with Crash Ensemble, the Festival of World Cultures and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra as well as being in demand as an independent producer, serving as the overall Project Manager for the Ireland 2016/RTÉ Reflecting the Rising event during the centenary celebrations, Producer for New Music Dublin and Project Manager for RTÉ for the inaugural Cruinniú na Cásca in 2017.  

Speaking of the announcement today Olga Barry commented: "Kilkenny Arts Festival has, since its very beginnings, a very real sense of world-class artistic standards and is rightly seen as a summer highlight of the Irish artistic and cultural calendar. Kilkenny’s unique cityscape, its warmth and intimate scale, its stunning historic venues all create a very special festival environment for audiences and artists alike. I am thrilled and honoured to be asked to lead the Festival at this time". 

Kilkenny Arts Festival chairperson, Emer Foley said: "Following an open competition, the Board of the Festival is delighted to announce Olga Barry as the next Festival Director. The festival has developed enormously under the tenure of departing Director, Eugene Downes, and has seen significant growth in the past number of years. He will be greatly missed and we wish him the very best in all his future endeavours. It is an exciting time for the festival and there are exciting opportunities as well as challenges ahead. We are very much looking forward to Olga, with her wealth of experience, leading the festival through the next phase of its development".

Eugene Downes commented:  "Olga has been central to the Festival’s success over the past five years.  I’m thrilled to be handing over to such a gifted and respected arts leader".

The 45th Kilkenny Arts Festival will take place from 9-19 August. 

Kilkenny Arts Festival is core funded by the Arts Council and supported by Fáilte Ireland and Kilkenny County Council.