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Spill Festival’s Robert Pacitti steps down

PUBLISHED: 17:05 15 October 2020 | UPDATED: 17:05 15 October 2020

Robert Pacitti, founder of the Pacitti Company and artistic director of the Spill Festival, who has announced he is stepping down Photo: Spill Festival

Robert Pacitti, founder of the Pacitti Company and artistic director of the Spill Festival, who has announced he is stepping down Photo: Spill Festival

Archant

Robert Pacitti, one of the leading figures in Suffolk’s cultural life, founder of the eponymous Pacitti Company and SPILL Festival, has announced that he is stepping down and looking for someone with vision and creative energy to take the company and the festival forward.

The Pyre Parade where the residents of Ipswich burn their bad news in a huge bonfire in Christchurch Park, part of the Spill Festival  Photo: Spill FestivalThe Pyre Parade where the residents of Ipswich burn their bad news in a huge bonfire in Christchurch Park, part of the Spill Festival Photo: Spill Festival

“It hasn’t been an easy decision but it is the right decision,” says Robert who has spent nearly 30 years developing Spill, providing a platform for other artists which has necessitated his own work taking a back seat.

Robert says that the hunt is now on for a successor and although he would want to depart in the spring of 2021 no firm date has been set as he would to offer the incoming artistic director a stable period of transition and a firm platform from which to launch the Spill Festival in the autumn of 2021.

Executive director Andy Brumwell will also step aside during 2021 and one of the first tasks for the new artistic director will be to appoint Mr Brumwell’s replacement. Also the name of the company will change. Robert said that although the spirit of the company will remain the same and it will remain dedicated to creating and supporting experimental art as well as addressing social imbalances, the Pacitti Company will simply become SPILL Festival.

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“It will continue to be based in Ipswich and its work will still remain rooted at the heart of the Ipswich community creating events like Clarion Call on Ipswich Waterfront and the Pyre Parade taking everyone into Christchurch Park to burn our bad news.

“By stepping aside from my senior position within the arts, the opportunity opens up for a future leader to steer the evolution of SPILL Festival with their own creative and critical vision. I created Pacitti Company 28 years ago and it has transformed abundantly over that time. From its beginnings as a small-scale support structure for my own experimental performance work, to a company with extensive international touring, to becoming one of the very few significant artist-led international festivals, then an unlikely relocation from London to Ipswich a decade ago, it’s been an amazing journey.

“Leaving the Company after so long and SPILL Festival after 15 years is quite the goodbye, but the time is right for me to pass on the baton. The incoming Artistic Director will be taking on a beautiful beast of a festival, in a great location, both of which I have been honoured to serve during my time at the helm. The search is now on for someone who can lead the festival in audacious and exciting ways, whilst keeping it ever relevant to the diverse peoples of Ipswich and Suffolk, and our audiences from across the country and around the world.”

He said that the work of the Pacitti company will continue as the recruitment process starts. The company offices and the Think Tank programmes will remain in the High Street, next to the Ipswich Museum, but will be re-named as the SPILL Think Tank.

These activities fuel the festival and ensure that local people are at the heart of shaping each edition of SPILL.


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