Anthony Sargent, recently departed boss of Sage Gateshead, is off to Canada to run a major festival in Toronto.
He has been appointed as the new chief executive of the Luminato Festival, which for 10 days each year sees Toronto’s theatres, parks and public spaces hosting hundreds of arts and food-related events.
The annual June festival is described as one of the leading arts festivals in North America, celebrating theatre, dance, music, literature, food, visual arts, magic, film and more.
The ninth Luminato Festival takes place this June and Mr Sargent will attend as a visitor before taking up the reins for the 10th anniversary edition next year.
Tony Gagliano, the festival’s co-founder and chair, said: “We couldn’t be more excited to introduce Antony as our incoming chief executive officer as Luminato Festival looks toward its second successful decade.
“In the past nine years we’ve established a reputation as a premier multi-arts festival, known for presenting inspiring work by the best artists from Toronto and around the world.
“Anthony’s reputation and work precedes him and we can’t wait to see him take the Luminato Festival to the next level.”
He added that Mr Sargent had been recruited to the post following an extensive global search.
Mr Sargent spent 15 years in the North East, opening Sage Gateshead, overseeing the development of its pioneering music performance and education programme and then marking the building’s 10th anniversary at the end of last year.
He is also currently elected chair of the New York-based International Society for the Performing Arts, the leading international network for performing arts.
He said he was “enormously excited” by the prospect of his new job and planned to relocate to Canada in late July.
He said: “In less than a decade, Luminato Festival has made a global impact for Toronto, a proud new emblem of the city’s multi-faceted cultural energy and sense of adventure.
“Festivals of many different kinds have been a consistent thread through my entire working life and I’m delighted to have been invited to work with Luminato’s visionary artistic director, Jorn Weisbrodt, with the festival’s ambitious board and great staff team, and with the local arts community to lead Luminato into the future, adding new excitements to all its admired successes to date.”
Before coming to the North East Mr Sargent had two long spells with the BBC, first running its concerts programme and then taking control of its BBC Music Millennium Live festival.
In between he was on the management team of London’s Southbank Centre and held the new position of head of arts for Birmingham City Council, leading ambitious arts initiatives including the city’s 10-year festival of the 20th Century, Towards the Millennium.
Luminato Festival is a charitable, not-for-profit cultural organisation whose vision is “to commission and present significant local, national and international programming that reflects Toronto as a crossroads of ideas, cultures and traditions”.
Mr Sargent’s successor at Sage Gateshead is Abigail Pogson, previously chief executive of Spitalfields Music in London.