Director of Sydney Festival. The position had long been on Olivia Ansell’s bucket list as one of her dream jobs. However, she assumed that the opportunity might present itself sometime in the future, not right now, so when Wesley Enoch announced his departure and the position was advertised, she didn’t apply.

Then she was approached by a headhunter and asked to consider putting in an application. Ansell – who was a dancer before she moved into producing – was Head of Contemporary Performance at the Sydney Opera House at the time and adored what she was doing.

Olivia Ansell

Olivia Ansell. Photo © Daniel Boud

“But I thought it would be great to do the interview for the experience,” she says. “There’s something about being an artist and a dancer; we’re very self-­deprecating. My parents used to teach me, when I did auditions, to assume that you didn’t have the job because it takes some of the pressure off the audition process. You just go in and enjoy yourself and assume you didn’t get it. You find all these mechanisms to cope with rejection.”

So she decided she might as well go in there and do the interview. “And...