James Gough and Felix Preval stay on for next year’s Darwin Festival

(Centre) Felix Preval and James Gough celebrate this year's successful Darwin Festival.

Two key figures that oversaw this year’s successful Darwin Festival will stay on for next year’s event.

James Gough has been appointed the new chief executive of Darwin Festival after successfully leading this year’s festival as acting CEO, while artistic director Felix Preval has also had his role extended for another two years.

The founder of event company NOOK Events, Gough joined the festival team in 2019.

“We have had so many learnings from this year’s Festival that will inform our future planning,” he told the NT News.

“Nobody knows what is around the corner but a return to a full 18-day event is our plan and we hope to surprise and delight audiences with a genre rich program that attracts not only loyal local audiences but interstate visitation because who wouldn’t want to escape a southern winter for hot tropical August nights in Darwin, where a Festival wonderland awaits.”

Preval said programming this year’s festival despite all the challenges thrown up by the coronavirus pandemic was a “privilege”.

“DF20 Homegrown allowed us to really strengthen our connection with the arts community and local audiences and I am looking forward to building on this engagement,” he told the NT News.

“My extended tenure means I can focus on planning for larger more complex works that need that that time investment. I am also excited to call Darwin home for another two years.

“Looking ahead to 2021, the Darwin community will continue to remain at the heart of Darwin Festival, but we do hope to welcome back our growing interstate audience base in a bigger festival format.”