Adelaide Fringe Announces Director’s Contract Extension And New Executive Appointments

Published: Mon, Oct 18 2021
Posted in General

Photoshoot of Heather Croall, Nancy Bates and Tara MacLeod. Photo: Ian Routledge, 2022

As plans for the 2022 Adelaide Fringe continue to move forward, the Adelaide Fringe Board today announces Director and CEO Heather Croall’s contract has been extended by two years to 2024, as well as the appointment of two new executives to the team.

Accomplished singer-songwriter and Adelaide Fringe artist Nancy Bates, with many years of experience providing a greater understanding of engaging First Nations people within health, education and arts sectors, joins the team as Reconciliation and Diversity Manager.

Ms Bates has also played a key role in implementing Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs) across various organisations and will work with the Adelaide Fringe on implementing its RAP.

“I’m excited about working with the entire Fringe team and putting into practice my past experience of shifting people’s hearts and minds. It is validating to me that this work is important,” she says. “My hope is for every individual across the organisation to continue to see reconciliation as their role, and I will work towards further embedding reconciliation across every part of the Fringe.”

Adelaide Fringe also announces the appointment of Tara MacLeod as its new Head of Operations. Ms MacLeod joins the team, having spent the past year as Head of Development, Operations and Events at the Adelaide Film Festival. Prior to that, she was General Manager of game day events for 11 years and General Manager of Strategic Projects for two years at the Port Adelaide Football Club.

Ms MacLeod will oversee the diversity and inclusion work at Adelaide Fringe, as well as roll out plans across access and production, people and culture.

 “The culture at Fringe is very inclusive. We have a number of initiatives in place to remove barriers to participate in our festival; we aim to make everyone feel they belong at Fringe and we strive to get better at it all the time,” she says.

“I’m pleased to have settled into the role and I look forward to growing the work Fringe does across access, diversity and inclusion with a long-term view in this space.”

CEO and Director Heather Croall will continue to lead the Adelaide Fringe through to 2024. Ms Croall says she is thrilled to be offered the two-year extension to her contract and is as dedicated as ever in delivering safe and successful editions of the festival in the coming years.

Ms Croall delivered her first Adelaide Fringe in 2016 after returning home from the UK where she had been CEO and Director of Sheffield Doc/Fest for a decade. At the Adelaide Fringe, Ms Croall has led an ambitious organisational digital transformation. Adopting agile methodologies, Ms Croall has ushered in a new digital platform and ticketing system resulting in exponential growth across audience numbers and ticket sales.

“I am committed to continuously improving the Fringe experience for all stakeholders, especially artists, who are the backbone of the festival,” she says.

Under her leadership, the Adelaide Fringe Box Office has doubled, and in 2017, she launched the Donor Circle, which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to assist artists at the Fringe.

Last year, Ms Croall won the Leadership Award at the SA Woman Awards, and earlier this year was nominated as Leader of the Year in the South Australian Woman of the Year Awards. 

Most recently under Ms Croall’s directorship, the 2021 Adelaide Fringe was the largest festival presented anywhere in the world during a global pandemic.

“It is both an honour and a privilege to once again be given this outstanding opportunity to deliver such a magical and iconic festival in South Australia. I remain dedicated to providing the best possible platform for artists and audiences to engage in and enjoy arts and culture,” she says.  “The Adelaide Fringe is an extraordinary collaboration between artists, venues, sponsors, donors, government, audiences and more. The Fringe has become part of the cultural and artistic fabric of this State; often cited as the best time of year to be in Adelaide. I am incredibly lucky to work with an amazing team and a huge number of brilliant participants in the delivery of this phenomenal festival that has a big place in all our hearts.”

Adelaide Fringe 2022 is on from 18 February – 20 March.