When Alexia Higgs (2000) agreed to be profiled for the OGA, the photos she sent to accompany her story were titled “New York”, “Italy”, “Berlin” and “London”, with each shot featuring Alexia in her stylish clothing and cheery smile adorning each city. Such is the life of an international event manager.
Even more impressive is the fact that Alexia could just as easily have been a professional musician, having completed a Bachelor of Music with Honours from the Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne, with a double performance major in violin and voice.
Apart from raw talent, Alexia also has an iron-clad work ethic and ambition to match, beginning her career as Event Assistant in Federation Square in Melbourne just 4 days after her final university exam. She managed the BMW Edge venue and after 3 years was promoted to Events Program Manager, overseeing 2,000 events a year and managing a team of four.
“I threw myself into my work and loved working with all the major Melbourne events and festivals such as the Comedy Festival, Fashion Festival, Melbourne International Arts Festival, Australian Open and AFL,” Alexia said.
Five years of successful major event management must have given Alexia major event management confidence and being the passionate type, she simply wrote to a famous concert pianist in Italy and asked if she could help run the chamber music festival in Umbria, Italy, called the Trasimeno Music Festival. So for the next 4 months she lived in Perugia and worked with the famous concert pianist, Angela Hewitt.
From Italy it was a short hop to London where she became the Events Manager for Classical Music at the Southbank Centre, managing orchestras from all over the world.
But the real fun began when she was asked to produce a 12 month festival called The Rest is Noise, which won the Sky Arts Award for best festival in 2013, and also won best festival by the Royal Philharmonic Society.
Most recently Alexia project managed the 2014 Festival of Love and is now one of 3 producers at the Southbank Centre who manage all the festivals throughout the year, and works with the artistic director and programming team to deliver a number of cross arts festivals.
She is currently producing the Winter Festival which includes New Year’s Eve for London.
Despite catapulting to international success, Alexia humbly and fondly remembers where it all began. Having been at Girton from Prep to Year 12, she was thoroughly immersed in music from a young age, both as a Girton student and as daughter to Betty Higgs, long time Girton music teacher and stalwart school pianist.
“I loved Mr Headlam who I had for music in years 7, 8 and 9 and then for VCE drama. He provided me with an enormous amount of support and friendship.
“Our VCE drama class, in particular was so special and we always had so much fun
“I also loved the fierce Mrs Lyons who I had for VCE English and Literature.
“She was so strict but I found I really could take on ideas and feedback for my creative writing as well as literature study.
“I particularly loved learning about Shakespeare’s Hamlet with her, and the film study of Cabaret. To this day, every time I hear Cabaret mentioned I think of Mrs Lyons,” she said.
Alexia says she had no idea she would end up where she has including being recently engaged to an Italian. The wedding in Umbria, Italy, in June 2016 is sure to be the greatest event extravaganza of her career!