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Jonathan Holloway

Since giving up stand-up comedy by popular demand, Jonathan Holloway has spent more than twenty years as an international artistic director, chief executive and cultural leader.

He has led organisations and cities through major change, from London’s South Bank and National Theatre to major international arts festivals in Europe and Australia, in each place massively increasing audiences and income through great art and irresistible spectacle.

In 2015 he masterminded the largest single arts event Australia has ever seen, when the city of Perth stopped what they were doing for three days so that audiences totaling 1.4 million people could walk with giants through the middle of the city.

Alongside his previous work and his current role as Artistic Director of the Melbourne Festival, Jonathan has given major speeches to audiences from all backgrounds, from 20 people at breakfast to 1,600 in a concert hall.

Each one is unique and specially devised for the specific audience.

He speaks humorously, inspiringly and authoritatively about taking stories and breakthroughs from arts and culture and using them to increase productivity, profitability and happiness.

Jonathan brings a fresh and engaging approach to individuals and organisations wanting to bring about transformation through giant thinking and detailed delivery, creative leadership and powerful persuasion, corporate storytelling and the celebration of everyday heroes.


  • Giant thinking: What corporate and industry leaders can take from the biggest successes in the arts
  • Arts, hearts and business smarts: Ten great moments from the arts and popular culture, how can they inspire us to make humanity and the world better…and what tricks can we steal to make our lives and businesses more successful
  • The current artistic, political and social landscape in Australia
Photo: Toni Wilkinson


Jonathan has been an absolute live wire in the arts community and has been really good for entertainment and culture in Perth. He has brought his own flair and his personality has been a big factor in his success.  The Giants were the culmination of Jonathan’s four years at the Festival. One of the untold stories of the Giants was when Jonathan came to a meeting in my office with me and some of the corporate sponsors and he just won us over with his enthusiasm for the Giants. He just got us all on board. He was so enthusiastic that no one could argue with him.

—Hon Colin Barnett, Premier of Western Australia

He brings an impressive record of success as a theatrical director and festival artistic director in the UK and more recently in Australia, together with an unbridled enthusiasm for Melbourne. He has the proven capacity to excite a city with festival experiences that entertain, provoke and embrace the public. His passion is contagious, and is bound to inspire staff, supporters and audiences alike.

—Hon Linda Dessau AM, Former President of Melbourne Festival, now Governor of Victoria

I’ve worked with Jonathan for over three years. Jonathan is a great orator and teller of stories. He has that unique ability to create wonder in audiences. His blue-sky thinking is a huge talent that he then translates into reality and delivers these wondrous events for audiences to talk about for years to come. 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’.  Jonathan captures the audience from the start and brings them on the journey with him – through funny anecdotes and his indisputable knowledge of his subject matter. No one leaves the auditorium feeling bored!

—Trisha Comerford, Manager - Community Investment, Rio Tinto

Enquire about booking Jonathan Holloway