Edmunds comes to UCLA Live from Australia's University of Melbourne, where in 2008 she was appointed head of the new School of Performing Arts in the Victorian College of the Arts and a year later was named deputy dean of the college. She has served concurrently as consulting artistic director for the Park Avenue Armory performing arts space in New York City.
From 2005 through 2008, Edmunds held the prestigious position of artistic director of the Melbourne International Arts Festival and was the first artistic director of the festival to serve a four-year term.
"Kristy Edmunds is a creative and resourceful artistic director and curator, well known and respected in the international arts community for programs that empower artists and entertain audiences," Waterman said. "We are confident that her exciting contemporary vision and her proven commitment to sustainable arts cultivation will expand UCLA Live, enrich the UCLA community and enhance the overall Los Angeles performing arts landscape."
Edmunds' official appointment date is May 1, 2011, and she will transition into her role at UCLA Live throughout the summer, relocating to Los Angeles in August. She will provide leadership for all ongoing UCLA Live activities and begin the planning process for the 2012–13 UCLA Live season immediately.
"There is a fantastic momentum swirling in the Los Angeles arts scene which has clearly been generated from the longstanding efforts of many individuals, artists and organizations," Edmunds said. "The thought of contributing to this atmosphere while leading the next phase of UCLA Live's evolution is authentically inspiring. Conjoining an active and diverse local scene with a national and international arts dialogue, all within the culture of an incredible research university, is a heady mix indeed. It is a major challenge and one with dizzying potential for artists and audiences."
"UCLA Live has a vital and diverse heritage and is known for embracing classical, contemporary, local, global, established and emerging artists," Edmunds said. "We are at an important juncture, and I am exhilarated by what we can create and further develop over the upcoming years."
Edmunds' career has included work as a visual artist, an independent filmmaker, a playwright and a teacher. She holds a bachelor's in film direction from Montana State University and a master's in playwriting and theater direction from Western Washington University.
Edmunds was also the founding executive and artistic director of the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) and the Time-Based Art (TBA) Festival in Portland. Widely recognized for her global, cross-disciplinary focus, she has worked with top artists from around the world. Her tenure at the Melbourne International Arts Festival was a critical and economic success and introduced Australian audiences to acclaimed artists from around the globe. She pioneered new presenting models, with such artists and companies as the avant-garde stage ensemble Theatre du Soleil, dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham, singer-songwriter and poet Patti Smith, and Australian indigenous music ensemble Black Arm Band, to name a few.
"It became clear very quickly that Kristy Edmunds has both the leadership skills and aesthetic sensibility to take the helm of a great performing arts program in a world-class city, especially during a transformative period — thus her qualities are key to the growth and longevity of UCLA Live," said Alan Schwartz, president of UCLA Live's Royce Center Circle board and a member of the search committee for a new director. "The board — and its leadership — is looking forward to working alongside Kristy as we move forward."
Edmunds will remain in her consulting role for the Park Avenue Armory through 2012. The Armory, a nonprofit institution whose mission is to revitalize one of America's historic treasures as a dynamic alternative arts space, is dedicated to the development and presentation of work in the visual and performing arts, with a particular focus on major works of scale.