Clifford Hocking

Impresario, festival director

Clifford Hocking, impresario and director of the 1990 Adelaide Festival of the Arts and the 1997 Melbourne International Festival, died after a stroke in Melbourne on June 13. He was 74.

Hocking became a theater producer in the 1960s, putting on Oz acts like Indian classical musicians Ali Akbar Khan and Ravi Shankar, and actor Max Adrian as George Bernard Shaw.

Most famously in his early years he presented Barry Humphries in his first three one-man shows. David Vigo joined him in 1965 and remains managing director of Hocking & Vigo.

In later years Hocking presented an array of artists in Oz, including Allen Ginsberg, Victor Borge, Cleo Laine, Blossom Dearie, Inti Illimani, Ute Lemper and the Kronos Quartet, Dancers of Bali, Alvin Ailey, Noh Theatre, African Moves and Paco Pena Flamenco Dance Company.

His acclaimed 1997 Melbourne International Arts Festival featured New York City Ballet, Gate Theatre of Dublin and Joel Grey.

Hocking to into the theater business after working at the Australian Broadcasting Corp. as a messenger boy and running a record store. His knowledge of theater and music was encyclopedic, and he had a reputation as a fearsome negotiator.

He is survived by two brothers.

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