Using exhilarating creativity and irresistible spectacle, Jonathan Holloway has dedicated his professional life to transforming great organisations and cities, from London's South Bank to major international arts festivals in Europe and Australia.
Born and bred in Sheffield, he cut his teeth as a stand-up comedian and theatre director, since when he has travelled the world as a festival director, chief executive, educator and cultural leader.
In the UK he spent seven years heading up public events at London’s National Theatre, then seven years leading the team at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, growing it massively to be the third largest annual arts festival in the UK and delivering Creative Partnerships for the region, the government's flagship creativity in schools programme.
In Australia, his first Perth International Arts Festival in 2012 opened with 30,000 people dancing in the streets, as angels and two tonnes of feathers fell from the sky.
In 2015 he masterminded the largest single arts event Australia has ever seen, when 1.4 million people spent three days walking with giants through the main streets of Perth.
In 2017 he brought Taylor Mac’s epic 24 hour production A 24-Decade History Of Popular Music to Melbourne, the only time it will be seen complete outside the US.
All three won the rare and prestigious Helpmann Award for Best Special Event.
Currently the Artistic Director of Melbourne International Arts Festival, the flagship arts event of Australia’s cultural capital, the Sydney Morning Herald hailed 2017 as “the strongest Melbourne Festival in years... only the brilliance and daring of festival director Jonathan Holloway’s programming made it possible, and if you didn’t see it, you missed a landmark theatrical event”.
His 2018 Melbourne Festival was headlined by the Fire Gardens, an immersive fiery spectacle that took over the whole of the Royal Botanic Gardens, with all 30,000 tickets selling weeks in advance.
By championing giant thinking and vision, managing talent, leading delivery teams, and collaborating with governments, sponsors, the media and the public, he has repeatedly harnessed innovation, persuasion and health & safety to create unmissable, unexpected and unforgettable experiences for massive audiences.
Jonathan was the stand out presenter at the conference and took the audience on a unique behind the scenes journey of the Giants. Funny and inspiring he gave us insightful and practical take aways to use in our own journey and most importantly dared us to be visionary and creative in all aspects of our lives.
2018 Asia Pacific Venue Industry Congress
A great orator and teller of stories, he has that unique ability to create wonder in audiences. Jonathan has presented to our employees on many occasions and they always come out saying 'that was amazing, really enjoyed the presentation and the humour’.
Manager, Community Investment, Rio Tinto
Jonathan is a dream to work with, a force of nature. Passionate, funny, highly effective plus an accomplished artist. He's got great guts and artistic vision.
Kate Miller-Heidke, Singer-songwriter
Jonathan transformed a street performance into a discussion on IT, systems and infrastructure with insight, humour and enthusiasm.
I saw this guy speak at the recent National Convention. In one word… brilliant! Crawl over broken glass to be there!
Past National President
Professional Speakers Australia
Jonathan Holloway’s lessons and reflections will re-focus your team on what’s important in perhaps the most engaging and entertaining way you’ve experienced for some time.
CEO, Wyndham City Council
Brilliant - funny, inspiring, highly intelligent, deeply empathetic, audaciously mischievous. I’d like to see him at more conferences and events, making people laugh, feel, think and then go out and do something special.
Andrew Horabin, Keynote Speaker
Jonathan’s bespoke, enigmatic and audacious style had delegates hanging on his every word. Intelligent, inspiring and highly entertaining.
Australian Performing Arts Centres Association
Jonathan has a giant message and method for each and every conference group, organisation, person. Through laughter, thoughtfulness and story he creates everyday meaning for how we can ‘Festivalise’ our businesses/lives and the benefit that such innovation, creativity, organisational skill and collaboration brings. Each of us can learn from the Art of business and the Art of life. Have your convention go way beyond the conventional - go Gigantic and get Jonathan!
Glenn Capelli, Professional Speakers Australia ‘Keynote Speaker of the Year 2013’
His passion is contagious, and is bound to inspire staff, supporters and audiences alike.
Governor of Victoria