Spill Festival appoints new director and announces event for October

Robin Deacon, Spill Festival's new artistic director who takes up his post in June.

Robin Deacon, Spill Festival's new artistic director who takes up his post in June. Spill have announced that this year's festival will be going ahead in October - Credit: Spill

Ipswich’s world-renowned Spill Festival has appointed a new director after an extensive recruitment search.

The Spill Festival has announced that British-born Robin Deacon will be leaving his role as Professor of Performance at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, one of the world’s leading multi-disciplinary art schools, to take up the role with Spill.

The festival’s founder and artistic director Robert Pacitti announced last summer that he was stepping down in order to concentrate on his own work and since then the organisation has been looking for a replacement for the Ipswich-born performance art-maker.

Portrait of Robert Pacitti outside the Think Tank. Photo: Gregg Brown

Robert Pacitti who is stepping down as Spill's director. His last festival is being staged in October - Credit: Gregg Brown

One of the key elements of the job description was that the Spill Festival should continue to be based in Ipswich and actively develop new connections with the town’s diverse communities.

An established artist, writer and filmmaker, Robin will join the team from June 2021. Relocating to Ipswich for the role, Robin will lead Spill’s extensive year-round programme and curate the world-renowned Spill festival, working with innovative artists from around the globe.

Robin will recruit a new Spill executive director later this year.

Robin said: “Returning to the UK to take up the role of artistic director and CEO of Spill is a dream come true. As a former Spill artist, I feel such a deep connection to this festival, so it is a profound honour to be given the opportunity to lead it. I will take good care of the incredible legacy that Robert leaves behind, whilst taking the festival into exciting new territories. I can’t wait to begin working with the Spill team to create unique and challenging experiences for artists and audiences alike.”

Outgoing artistic director, Robert Pacitti, added: “I am thrilled that Robin is going to be taking Spill forward. I feel deep gratitude knowing that the company and festival I grew from seed across three decades are in such inspiring, capable hands. Robin has a future vision for Spill which will see it morph and grow in bold exciting ways, and I’m already looking forward to being a festival visitor - as what’s coming is going to be great.”

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Robert’s last festival as director and curator will be presented in October.

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