Mentors involved in the training formats of The Festival Academy are renowned festival directors and managers, experienced festival operators, professionals and artists.

Carolina Courbis Bascuñán, participant in the Atelier Merano 2017

"What I feel that what’s very valuable from the Atelier is: (...) The amazing pool of mentors that shared their experience with us. A group of real experts in their fields from a range of backgrounds, that were generous enough to tell us about their stories, ideas, achievements and failures, but overall that were genuinely open to have an horizontal conversation with us which in every single case, nurtured our idea of festivals."

Over 60 presenters have allowed insights into their careers

During their participation presenters not only act as lecturers and mentors as they engage in one-on-one discussions with the participants. They are present for various days, often for the whole period of the training. They allow participants an honest and open insight into their careers including both success stories and failures. They share their motivation and explain their artistic choices in view of The Festival Academy’s mission.

Photo credit to Olivier Truyman
Robyn Archer

“As mentors and presenters I know we will get at least as much out of the participants as they may get out of us in the coming week. It should be understood at the outset that there are very few differences between us as mentors and you as participants, except perhaps in terms of experience. We are all participants in the Atelier.”

Pool of Experts

  • Robyn Archer, Artistic Director The Light in Winter Melbourne - Australia
  • Hortense Archambault, Director MC93 Maison de la Culture de la Seine Saint-Denis -  France
  • Norman Armour, Executive Director PuSH International Performing Arts Festival Vancouver - Canada
  • Mantse Aryeequaye , Co-director Chale Wote Festival - Ghana
  • Steve Austen, Permanent Fellow Felix Meritis Foundation - The Netherlands
  • Mark Ball, Associate Artistic Director of Manchester International Festival (MIF) - UK
  • Darko Brlek, Artistic and General Director Ljubljana Festival - Slovenia
  • Seok Kyu Choi, Creative Producer AsiaNow Productions - South Korea
  • Christopher Crimes, Consultant/Advisor to [N!A] Project and Eleusis 2021 European Capital of Culture - France/Greece/UK 
  • Jelle Dierickx, Artistic Coordinator Musikfestspiele Potsdam Sanssouci - Germany
  • Rania Elias, Director Yabous Cultural Centre and Jerusalem Festival - Palestine
  • Bernard Faivre d’Arcier, President Lyon Biennial - France
  • Marie- Hélène Falcon, Former Director Festival TransAmériques Montréal - Canada
  • Rose Fenton, Co-Founder and Former Director LIFT Festival, Former Director Free Word - UK
  • Cristina Fuentes - International Director Hay Festival, UK/ South America
  • Heiner Goebbels, Artistic Director Ruhrtrienniale - Germany
  • Ching-Lee Goh, Executive and Artistic Director CultureLink Singapore - Singapore
  • Agnes Havas, Director Armel Opera Festival - Hungary 
  • Gavin Henderson, Artistic Director Dartington International Summer School - UK
  • Nele Hertling, Member Strategy Group “A Soul for Europe” - Germany
  • Tzvetelina Iossifova, Director Red House for Culture and Debate - Bulgaria
  • Hjamar Jorge Joffre-Eichhorn, Theatre activist, co-funder Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organization, Theatre of the Oppressed and Playback Theatre - Germany / Bolivia / Afghanistan 
  • Carole U. Karemera, Artistic Director Ishyo Arts Centre - Rwanda
  • Marta Keil, Curator, dramaturg and researcher - Poland
  • Seonghee Kim, Artistic Director Asia Culture Center Theatre - South Korea
  • Elisabeth Knauf, Production Manager Hebbel am Ufer - Germany
  • Nevenka Koprivsek, Artistic Director Mladi Levi Festival - Slovenia
  • Celestine Kubelka, Production Manager Wiener Festwochen - Austria
  • Wai-Lap Kwong, Programme Director Guangdong Modern Dance Festival - China
  • Gundega Laivina, Artistic Director New Theatre Institute of Latvia - Latvia
  • Grace Lang, Programme Director Hong Kong Festival - China
  • Annet Lekkerkerker, Managing Director Holland Festival - The Netherlands
  • Kee Hong Low, Head of Artistic Development West Kowloon Cultural District Hong Kong - Singapore
  • Hongming Lin, Professor and Dean of the Art Management Department of Shanghai Conservatory of Music - China
  • Roy Luxford, Programme Director Edinburgh International Festival - UK
  • Ruth Mackenzie CBE, Artistic Director Théâtre du Châtelet - France 
  • Sir Brian McMaster, Former Director Edinburgh International Festival - UK
  • Joseph V. Melillo, Artistic Director Brooklyn Academy of Music New York - US
  • Jinghui Meng, Artistic Director Beijing Fringe Festival, WuZhen Theatre Festival, Beijing Bee Hive Theatre - China
  • Michał Merczyński, Director Malta Festival Poznan, Nostalgia Festival Poznan - Poland
  • Sir Jonathan Mills, Former Director Edinburgh International Festival - UK
  • Ismail Mahomed, Chief Executive Officer of the Market Theatre Foundation - South Africa
  • Gerard Mortier, Former General Director Teatro Real de Madrid; †2014
  • Roberto Naccari, General Manager Santarcangelo Festival - Italy
  • Bret Pyper, Associate Professor and Head Wits School of Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg - South Africa
  • Oussama Rifahi, Board member Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) - Germany / Lebanon 
  • Mark Russell, Founder and Co-Director Festival Under the Radar - US
  • Marie-Agnès Sevestre, Director Festival des Francophonies en Limousin - France
  • Graham Sheffield, Director Art British Council London - UK
  • Chiaki Soma, Representative Director of Arts Commons Tokyo - Japan
  • Galin Stoev, Founder Fingerprint Company - Belgium/Bulgaria
  • Tom Stromberg, Former Director Impulse Festival - Germany
  • Fruzsina Szép, Festival Director Berlin Festival & Lollapalooza Berlin Hörstmann Unternehmensgruppe HUG - Germany
  • Gebing Tian, Director, Founder and Artistic Director of Paper Tiger Theatre Studio - China
  • Han van Poucke, Head of Production Holland Festival - The Netherlands
  • Mike Van Graan, President African Cultural Policy Network - South Africa
  • Carla Van Zon, Artistic Director Auckland Arts Festival - New Zealand
  • Monique Veaute, President Fondazione Romaeuropa - Arte e Cultura - Italy
  • Matthias Vogt, Institut für kulturelle Infrastruktur Sachsen - Germany
  • Catherine J. Wang, President of the Centre for China Shanghai International Arts Festival - China
  • Alain Weber, Artistic Director Fez Sacred Music Festival - Morocco
  • Carmen Romero Quero, Executive Director Teatro a Mil Foundation - Chile
  • Nick Rongjun YU, chief director of ACT Shanghai International Theatre Festival - China

Mark Ball at the Atelier Edinburgh 2014 (photo by Clark James)