Artistic & Executive Director
Kris Stewart is a creative industries executive and artistic leader whose work has been seen through the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
He has had great success as a producer and director taking organizations through periods of change or growth, and in launching new initiatives, such as the founding of a number of key festivals and major events.
Currently, Kris is the Chief Executive of QMusic.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE - QMUSIC
At QMusic, Kris creates artistic, cultural and social outcomes that support and spark the music industry and night-time economy.
Here, he leads the peak body for Queensland's music sector, overseeing advocacy and policy for the industry and producing events such as the largest music event in the southern hemisphere, BIGSOUND - a multi-day conference and new music showcase featuring 150 acts over 3 nights, with over 1,700 national and international attendees, delivering $3 million of impact to the Brisbane economy.
At QMusic, we connect industry and government, shaping public policy.
We stimulate and grow the state’s contemporary music sector and Brisbane's Valley entertainment precinct with major festivals such as Winter Sessions and Valley Fiesta.
We produce the Queensland Music Awards annually, with the song of the year acknowledged with a walk of fame plaque in Fortitude Valley
We develop our sector from the grass roots up, with state-wide workshops & masterclasses, songwriting retreats and mentorships.
We acknowledge the heritage of industry with programs that support its future, such as the Billy Thorpe Scholarship, Grant McLennan Fellowship and the Carol Lloyd Award.
MEDIA COVERAGE - QMUSIC
Media coverage from Kris' beginnings at QMusic
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR - BRISBANE POWERHOUSE
From 2013 to 2021, Kris was Artistic Director of Brisbane Powerhouse, Queensland’s home for living art, ideas and experiences, a magnificent power station of the 1920s reborn as an arts centre on the Brisbane River.Kris directed a year-round program featuring events across music, comedy, writers + ideas, dance, film, visual arts, digital arts, theatre and music theatre.
Here, he sold more than a million tickets for 2,500 shows across two main stage theatres, three additional blackbox venues and two galleries.
KRIS STEWART - The Artshub Exit Interview
With over 650,000 visitors a year, Kris established a clear set of cultural priorities for the venue, with tremendous results:
Have a taste of Kris' time as Artistic Director
In partnership with local filmmakers PixelFrame, we created a video that illustrates the unique experience offered at Brisbane Powerhouse, and the brilliant personality of the building and its art.
A Digital Experience
In partnership with Nick Did This, we undertook a digital transformation of our communications, reimaging how we tell the story of Brisbane Powerhouse to the world.
LEADING A VENUE THROUGH COVID-19
At Brisbane Powerhouse, Kris led the organization through an unprecedented closure - and then its reopening following COVID-19.
After being closed for more than 130 days, Brisbane Powerhouse was one of the first venues in the world to reopen, with a curated series of iconic Brisbane companies: Circa, Queensland Ballet, Briefs Factory, Q Music and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. This is that story.
MEDIA COVERAGE - BRISBANE POWERHOUSE
A snapshot of media coverage from Kris' eight years at Brisbane Powerhouse
Audio interview - the 21st birthday
In Kris final year at Brisbane Powerhouse, he led the organization's 21st birthday celebrations.
Here is an ABC Brisbane interview around the buildings history, plus other articles:
creative director - curiocity
In 2019, Kris is the inaugural Guest Director of Brisbane's new major event, Curiocity.
The intersection of technology and creativity has long been a key factor in his artistic practice.
Artshub article: For Digital Natives, the Foyer is the point
Brisbane's new 2019 event merging tech, innovation, science & arts.
Curiocity Brisbane is a citywide festival for explorers, inventors and creators. It will spark the imagination and inspire people to explore the city and engage with its creativity, rather than observe.
'Curious' new event links art and science across Brisbane - BRISBANE TIMES
CEO & FESTIVAL DIRECTOR - FESTIVALS & MAJOR EVENTS
Kris is arguably one of the most experienced festival and major event creators in the world, with events in numerous countries and regions.
Some highlights of his career include:
New York Musical Theatre Festival
2004 - 2008
As founder and Executive Director of the New York Musical Theatre Festival (www.nymf.org), Kris Stewart oversaw 1197 performances of 133 new musicals that he commissioned, developed and/or produced, as well as 349 other events, 20 venues each year running full-time, and more than 1000 artists, creators and staff working across the event.
“Having a show in the New York Musical Theatre Festival is equivalent to getting an independent film into Sundance.” – Rob Kendt, Newsday
The Sydney Fringe
2010, 2011 & 2013
As the inaugural Artistic Director of The Sydney Fringe, Kris programmed 3000 artists in 700+ performances of more than 250 shows and events in 53 inner city venues, events that were seen by over 100,000 attendees.
Commissioned by the City of Sydney to create the event, the first year of the Fringe included 76 theatre works, 59 music acts, 30 musicals, 25 visual arts exhibitions, 16 comedies, 13 digital arts pieces, 11 burlesque or circus and 8 dance productions.
2014 - 2019
Wonderland is Brisbane’s end-of-year summer party, a carnival of surprise and delight that transforms Brisbane Powerhouse into a night-time playground as carny folk, circus and street performers, singers, comedians and cabaret stars fill a series on venues, both inside the building and out.
2015 - 2019
Kris founded Melt in 2015 to be Brisbane's signature annual event celebrating LGBTIQ culture.
Sitting alongside Mardi Gras (Sydney) and Midsumma (Melbourne), Melt featured artists across a range of disciplines, inlcuding theatre, dance, music, visual arts and film (the Brisbane Queer Film Festival).
The inaugural IRL Digital Festival was presented in May 2015 to more than 20,000 visitors, transforming this iconic building into a pop-up digital playground, where audiences of young and old were able to immerse themselves in interactive digital art, technology-based performance, retro gaming culture and the latest in virtual reality and transmedia content.
The Festival of Voices
2010 - 2012
The Festival of Voices is Australia’s premier festival celebrating the vocalist and the power of song, showcasing a range of artistic disciplines, including choir and ensemble singing, spoken word, cabaret, debate, poetry, storytelling and hiphop.
Kris was hired by Events Tasmania to run the festival in 2011, and oversaw a 54% increase in ticket sales, with 90% of performances playing to capacity.
2014 & 2016
Running over 11 days in February, WTF is Brisbane Powerhouse’s iconic global contemporary performance event where culture and spectacle collide.
Featuring works that challenge the traditional definitions of theatre, World Theatre Festival brings together a worldly ensemble of irreverent, iconoclastic performance artists and runs alongside the Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM) in 2016 and 2018.
2014, 2016 & 2018
The Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM) is Australia’s leading, internationally focused industry event for contemporary performing arts, and has been produced by Brisbane Powerhouse since 2014.
APAM offers Australian and New Zealand performing artists and companies full performances, excerpt and pitch sessions, in front of national and international presenters, agents and influencers.
Queensland Cabaret Festival
2014 - 2016
Produced by Brisbane Powerhouse, the Queensland Cabaret Festival is a multivenue event, happening across the major Brisbane venues and key regional centres.
It partners with significant international festivals in the region to tour the best cabaret and music acts in the world
Brisbane Comedy Festival
The biggest selling festival in Queensland, the Brisbane Comedy Festival is a big populist event across all of the powerhouse venues.
Dozens of comics are featured across a calendar month, and it fits beautifully into Australia's autumn comedy season.
Print articles on some of Kris work on festivals
Festival of Voices
Some personal media coverage and writing
Interview with ABC Radio National
Griffith University Occasional Speech
Kris giving the occasional speech to the Arts and Law students graduating from Griffith University.
Personal CAREER NARRATIVE
Notable service and Awards
2020 – current: Sunshine Coast Arts Advisory Board2014 – current: The Queensland Conservatorium Advisory Board2020 – 2021: PAC Australia Board; peak industry body for Live Performance venues2021 – 2021: Stage Queensland Executive Committee; representative body for QLD venues2017 – 2020: The QUT Creative Industries Advisory Board
2012: Nominee for “Best Festival or Major Event” at Qantas Australian Tourism Awards
2010 & 2011: Two-time Australian Business and Arts Foundation (AbaF) Award Winner
2006: Jujamcyn Theatres Award for outstanding development of creative talent for the theater
2003: The Ockrent Fellowship (NYC)
2001: Gilbert Spottiswood Churchill Fellowship
2000: Sir Keith Murdoch Prize for Leadership and Innovation
2012: Australia Council Emerging Leaders Development Program
2007: New York Commercial Theatre Institute (www.livebroadway.com), Weisenfeld Scholar
2003: The Lincoln Center Directors Lab
1994 – 1995: West Australian Academy of Performing Arts. Grad Dip (Arts - directing).
2015 - 2017: Australia Council and Australian Department for the Arts
2014 - 2018: Arts Queensland and Australian Performing Arts Market
2007 & 2008: The Macarthur Fellowship judging committees
2010: The Victorian Premier’s Literary Prize
2013 - 2019: The Helpmann Awards (theatre, cabaret and comedy panels)
International Exchanges and Showcases
2019: International Arts Exchange (Dublin Theatre Festival, Ireland)
2015 – 2019: The British Council Showcase (Edinburgh)
2014 – 2016: PAMS (South Korea)
2016 – 2018: Shanghai International Arts Fair (China)
2018: Luminato (Canada)
2017: CINARS (Canada)
2017: National Arts Council showcase (Singapore)
2016: Under the Radar and the Assoc of Performing Arts Presenters conference (USA)
2016: Taiwan Focus
2015: Performing Arts Assoc NZ showcase (New Zealand),
2001 – 2007: National Alliance for Musical Theatre Conference
Educator CGO Institute, Australia Institute of Music, WAAPA, the NYU/Tisch School of Drama, Griffth University, QUT, Federation University, Monash University, and others.
Keynote Speaker Live Performance Australia, UK Music Theatre Conference, NYU/Tisch, PAANZ, American Theatre Wing, League of American Theatres and Producers, Stage Queensland, and others.
Kris has directed and produced a number of projects, both in the commercial and non-profit spheres. They include:
Available on Amazon
Kris founded Red Sand Media Partners, where he produced with his partners feature film Red Hook, a teen thriller distributed by Phase 4 Films. Set in the streets on NYC, Red Hook is about a college scavenger hunt where one of the participants is setting new rules.
[Title of Show]: a new musical
On Broadway, at the Lyceum Theater
On Broadway, RSMP produced the TONY nominated and Obie and Drama Desk award winning musical [title of show]. [title of show] is a musical about two nobodies named Hunter and Jeff who decide to write a completely original musical - and the show is from that moment until the night the audiencve is there with them.
New Musicals Australia
2011/12 - an initiative of the Australia Council
Now based at the Hayes Theatre, Kris was the founder and inaugural director of New Musicals Australia, an initiative dedicated to the production of original music theatre in Australia. It focussed on providing writers and composers with the opportunity to have their scripts and songs workshopped by professionals and presented to industry peers.
2014 to 2016
Sweet is annual hand-curated premiering seasons of independent performance that Kris produces and presents at Brisbane Powerhouse, identifying the best of emerging independent companies and giving them the opportunity to have their work supported and seen by a wider arts audience.
Kris has directed more than 60 productions across his career, with a focus on new work and music theatre. Here are some links to production photos.
Brisbane Powerhouse, 2019
Melt Festival, 2018
JOH FOR PM
WEST SIDE STORY
Qld Con, 2018
BOYS OF SONDHEIM
Melt Festival, 2017
KISS ME KATE
Tas Theatre Co
VOICES OF VICE
THE JOURNEY GIRL
INTO THE WOODS
Melb Theatre Co
AND THE WORLD GOES ROUND
Chapel off Chapel
LIFE'S A CIRCUS
HOW TO SUCCEED
The Production Company
This is direct to Kris' personal email, so shoot him a note!
Copyright 2018. Thanks for coming by!