Mikey Martins new general director Oerol Festival

Portret Mickey Martins © Nichon Glerum
© Nichon Glerum

Martins has extensive experience as a leader for various arts festivals in Great Britain, Europe, Canada, and Australia and is well acquainted with Oerol. He will commence on May 1, 2024, after which he will establish himself on Terschelling.

Martins has had a successful international career as a performer, theatre maker, and artistic director, specializing in street theatre, contemporary circus, and site-specific theatre. Since 2009, he has focused on programming, managing, and producing bold, multidisciplinary arts festivals, including Winchester Hat Fair, Theatre Bristol, and the Norfolk & Norwich Arts Festival. In 2015, he became the CEO and artistic director of Freedom Festival Arts Trust in Hull. The festival is rooted in the city and has an impact on the global art sector. Thousands of people annually come to Hull for world-class performances and exhibitions. Martins developed national and international artistic programs and initiated creative participation projects with scientific and human rights organizations. He ensured that communities whose voices are less often heard took center stage in the Freedom Festival’s annual programs. At the same time, he creatively and impactfully addressed social justice, resilience, and societal issues relevant to the festival audience.

Martins is greatly looking forward to his new role at Oerol Festival, a festival that has been close to his heart since his performance in 2005 as a street theatre artist. Since 2011, he has been attending the festival annually as a professional and passionate spectator.

“It is a great honor to take on the role of festival director and continue the extraordinary legacy and impact of Oerol Festival, building further on the fantastic work that Joop Mulder began in 1982 and to which so many dedicated people have contributed over the past 42 years. I am excited to collaborate with the talented team that achieves the impossible year after year in the villages and natural landscapes of the beautiful island of Terschelling.”

Jerry Straub, chairman of the Board of Trustees of Oerol Festival, expresses enthusiasm about Martins’ arrival: “We are very pleased with the arrival of Mikey Martins. What he has achieved, for example, at the Freedom Festival in Hull, with 90,000 visitors, is simply impressive. Mikey is someone with vision, ideas, and courage. He has an excellent sense for the connection between art and culture, plurality, and societal themes and especially for and with people. With his personality and leadership, the DNA, mission of Oerol, and of course, the beautiful home base of Terschelling with its impressive nature and hospitality will gain even more strength, depth, and meaning in every respect. An Englishman on Terschelling.”

Mikey Martins succeeds Siart Smit, who held the position of CEO until January 1. Daniële Streep is serving as interim business director until mid-June.