Ignatius Jones

Creative Director, Vivid Sydney

Vivid Sydney’s Creative Director, Ignatius Jones personifies diversity. He is a trained classical ballet dancer, opera singer, journalist, actor and fronted the art-rock-punk-cabaret band, Jimmy and the Boys, in the late 1970s. Over the course of his events career, Jones directed a show in East Timor for its independence, launched the Vancouver Olympics 2010, and the Shanghai World Expo 2010, and led the opening and closing ceremonies for the Sydney Olympics 2000 alongside Artistic Director, David Atkins.
 
Immensely proud of his Filipino heritage, Jones was born Juan Ignacio Trápaga in Singalong, Manila to a Basque–Chinese father and a Catalan-American mother, into a family with a 200-year lineage of Spanish musical theatre. “Growing up in a theatrical family, you’re basically growing up in the business,” says Jones, and it is his ‘theatre thinking’, he says, that drives his creative genius.
 
Jones was brought into Vivid Sydney to give it an identity and winning strategy. His approach was to ‘take art off the walls of museums and put it on the streets’ and design a festival that celebrates the creative industries by showcasing where art and technology meet. “What we’ve done is said everyone can become an artist, everyone can understand art and experience it,” says Jones.
 
“Vivid Sydney is a new paradigm for festivals in that most festivals are 95 percent ticket based (and might have five percent free activities), Vivid is the opposite, we’re 95 percent free and about five percent of our events are ticketed,” he says.
 
Clearly Jones’ formula is working. Last year Vivid Sydney injected a phenomenal AUD$110 million in visitor spend into the state’s economy (up 75 per cent on the previous year), and attracted 2.31 million attendees. And with a huge line-up of local and international technicians, architects, musicians and performers, and an extended reach to include Barangaroo and Chatswood, Vivid Sydney promises to set new records again this year when the lights go in in May.