Sydney Festival Founding Director Stephen Hall Dies

Stephen Hall, founding director of the Sydney Festival, passed away aged 78.

The one-time stage manager at London’s Royal Opera House led the festival from 1994 to 1997.

An expert networker in high business, arts and financial circles, he ensured a flow of donations to stage international productions and experimental Australian works. At its peak, the A$6 million ($4.8 million)-budget festival generated A$45 million ($36.4 million) for New South Wales. But a run-in with the then-Lord Mayor of Sydney Frank Sartor after the festival exceed its budget by A$500,000 ($404,670) saw Hall lose his job.

He continued to work on projects including Sydney’s elaborate New Year’s Eve celebrations.