Itzik Giuli has been chosen by Israel Festival CEO Eyal Sher as the festival’s new Artistic Director, the appointment was confirmed yesterday by Chairman of the Board Dan Halperin.

Giuli represents the interdisciplinary artistic sensibility that can keep the Israel Festival on the cutting edge of the arts, in Israel and internationally. Founded in 1961, the Israel Festival has enjoyed a long reign as a focal point for the performing arts, connecting local artists and audiences with the international scene. Having begun with concerts of classical music, the festival has grown over the years to include dance, theatre, diverse musical genres and performance art. The Israel Festival is a central point on the arts calendar, providing an opportunity to enjoy quality performances from abroad, such as Shen Wei Dance Arts RE, and as a showcase for Israeli creative talents, such as the world premiere of Ohad Naharin’s Sadeh21.

The Israel Festival has been influential in developing the Israeli arts scene, and has certainly contributed to the rich, ongoing artistic dialogue between Israel and the world. Yet the flourishing cultural exchange means that many theatre companies, dance companies, musicians and other artists come to perform in Israel on a regular basis, and there is a proliferation of the performing arts throughout Israel. What then, is the role of the Israel Festival as it looks to the future?

That is a question the new artistic director will surely ponder, and I anticipate answers that reflect innovative, deep thought. Born in 1970, playwright, director and actor Giuli has been the dramaturge and joint artistic director for the work of Yasmeen Godder since 1997. Giuli is the initiator and founder of the Search Engine Theatre Studio, which produced Eyal Weiser’s Hokey Pokey, Sample People by Nava Frenkel, No Matter by Adina Bar-On, Miss Sigalit’s Way (directed by Giuli), and other quality independent theatre works. He was also the instigator of “Operatzia” a platform for creating works connecting contemporary dance with opera in the context of the Fringe Opera. Choreographer Shlomit Fundaminsky’s La Divina, a vivid reflection on Maria Callas, was developed and premiered there. Giuli was selected this year as the Artistic Director for Curtain Up, the main showcase for new works by independent choreographers in Israel, and is currently working with this year’s cohort on developing their individual projects.

Giuli studied theatre at the Thelma Yellin School for the Arts in Israel and at the Neighborhood Playhouse and Circle in the Square in New York. As an actor, he has worked at the Haifa Theatre, Beit Lessin Theatre and Habima National Theatre, as well as in film and television. His play Sometimes Elephants Pass Here won the Best Play Award at the 2000 Acco Fringe Theatre Festival, and in 2004 he directed his second full-length play Birth Marks at the Tmuna Theatre.