Provoking and inspiring, Melbourne Festival seeks to connect art forms, people and ideas. At the heart of Melbourne's culture of creativity, we curate unique experiences that bring people together and break new ground in culture and the arts.

Melbourne Festival is one of Australia's leading international arts festivals and has an outstanding reputation for presenting unique international and Australian events in the fields of dance, theatre, music, visual arts, multimedia, free and outdoor events over 17 days each October.

First staged in 1986 under the direction of composer Gian Carlo Menotti it became the third in the Spoleto Festival series—joining Spoleto, Italy, and Charleston, United States. Known as Spoleto Melbourne – Festival of the Three Worlds, the Festival changed its name to the Melbourne International Festival of the Arts in 1990. In 2003, the Festival was renamed Melbourne International Arts Festival, and is now commonly known as Melbourne Festival.


1986-88 Gian Carlo Menotti
1988-91  John Truscott AO
1992-93 Richard Wherrett AM
1994-96 Leo Schofield AM
1997  Clifford Hocking AM
1998-99 Sue Nattrass
2000-01 Jonathan Mills AO
2002-04 Robyn Archer AO
2005-08 Kristy Edmunds
2009-12 Brett Sheehy AO
2013-15  Josephine Ridge
2016+  Jonathan Holloway