Frank Wilson honoured with MBE for services to Festival Arts back to listing

Frank Sage Image cropped

ISAN is delighted to announce that Frank Wilson, Managing Director of Event International, current Director of the Board and previous Chair of ISAN, has been awarded an MBE in the most recent Queen’s Birthday Honours List “for services to Festival Arts in the North-East”. Though there were many arts professionals deservedly honoured, this recognition is still almost unheard of in the growing Outdoor Arts sector, and therefore worth marking.

Frank has dedicated his professional life to creating, curating and producing international outdoor events and festivals. In 1988 he founded the Stockton International Riverside Festival (SIRF), one of the UK’s most important annual outdoor arts festivals which attracts audiences of up to 150,000, making it one of the best established street theatre festivals in Britain. Frank stood down as Artistic Director of SIRF after the 25th edition in 2012 but continues a close relationship with the event in the new role of Associate Artistic Director.

Beginning in 1992, when he worked as a programmer on the UK-government sponsored European Arts Festival, Frank has undertaken a number of high profile projects as curator and/or creative producer of outdoor events and festivals in this country and abroad. Since the end of 1999 these have been delivered through his company, Event International. UK projects undertaken by Frank have included Millennium Eve celebrations in Newcastle and Leeds; a multi-media performance for the 2005 Tall Ships Race that attracted an estimated audience of 150,000 people; a four week project by the Australian company Bambuco to construct a bamboo suspension bridge across the River Tyne; and a summer festival in Trafalgar Square.

Special mention must also be made to Tessa Suzanne Mary Lady Brewer, Chair of our member company, City of London Festival, who received an OBE for voluntary service to Arts and Culture in London. Alex Poots, CEO & Artistic Director of Manchester International Festival – and responsible for some fantastic pieces of outdoor arts programming over the years – was honoured with a CBE. Finally, Michael Charles Mellor, a BEM for services to Art in Public Spaces.