The man credited with pushing the Perth International Arts Festival onto the global stage has died, prompting tributes from the state’s leading arts organisations.
David Blenkinsop was the longest-serving artistic director of the festival having held the position for 23 years from 1975.
Festival chair Margaret Seares said Mr Blenkinsop transformed what was then known as the Festival of Perth into an internationally-respected multi-arts festival.
“[He] built a truly great international festival from the legacy of his predecessors Fred Alexander and John Birman,” Professor Seares said.
“He had a wonderful feel for the types of performances that would resonate with people in Perth, and remained true to the idea that the Festival should bring to Perth works of scale and calibre that would normally not find their way to these shores.
“It was extraordinary that his last festival in 1999 should remain as fresh as his first. We all owe him a great debt of gratitude for lifting the sights of the arts in Western Australia and bringing to us some truly remarkable works from around the world.”
Mr Blenkinsop, 77, was the winner of multiple awards including the JC Williamson Award for 2013, which is heralded as the highest honour in the live entertainment industry.
The Perth International Film Festival has grown to an event with a budget above $22 million and which attracted box office sales above $6 million.
The current artistic director, Jonathan Holloway, will end his reign following the upcoming 2015 festival.
He will be taken over by former head of dance and theatre at the Sydney Opera House, Wendy Martin, who is currently serving as head of performance and dance at Southbank Centre in London.