STC Press Release 3rd Nov 2016

Kip Williams is STC’s new Artistic Director  

Sydney Theatre Company today announced that it has appointed Kip Williams as Artistic Director commencing 3 November 2016.

Ian Narev, STC Chairman, said today, “I am thrilled to announce Kip Williams’ appointment as Artistic Director of Sydney Theatre Company. Kip was appointed after an extensive process that included a review of potential international and Australian candidates, consultation with members of the artistic community and interviews with an impressive short list of theatre makers.

“Through our deliberations, we always returned to the notion of STC being an artist-led company with a distinctive heritage and voice. We believe Kip consistently makes some of the most exciting theatre in Australia, and many others in the industry share that view.”

“Kip is a visionary artist who spoke to us about his love for the Company, and his practical vision for how it can use its strong foundations to reach even higher artistic standards for audiences, artists, staff and the community. The esteem in which he is held by colleagues, from the country’s leading artists to those just starting out, is clear. All of us on the board were unanimous that Kip was the standout choice as Artistic Director,” Mr Narev said.

Kip Williams said: “It is both an honour and a privilege to have the opportunity to work alongside the Australian theatrical community to further STC’s tradition of sharing stories both big and small, with Sydney and beyond. I look forward to working closely with Executive Director Patrick McIntyre and all my colleagues on the Wharf as we take our company forward into its next chapter.

“STC has been the watering hole our great artists have constantly returned to, whilst also being the birth place of the careers of some of our most important story tellers. I am incredibly excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with Australia’s great theatre makers, whilst developing the next generation of artists. I’m passionate about deepening the conversation with our audience, and inviting more people to join in. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be in the job,” Kip said.

Kip Williams by Robin HearfieldFormer Artistic Director Andrew Upton (2008 – 2015) said he believes “the board has made an excellent choice. Kip is the sort of unique talent that is rare to find. Confident in his own creative voice and a terrific collaborator, he has an incredible track record already and is on the cusp of a magnificent career”. Co-Artistic Director from 2008 – 2012 Cate Blanchett added: “This is wonderful news, not only for STC but for the whole theatre community. Kip’s appointment marks an exciting new chapter.” Their predecessor Robyn Nevin who has been directed by Williams twice said: “This is a happy day for STC. Kip Williams will provide smooth continuity for the Company which will benefit from his calm, intelligent leadership.”

Director Neil Armfield said: “It’s very reassuring to have the artistic directorship of STC finally settled. Kip is one of the outstanding directors of his generation, clearly a new force in Australian theatre. In everything I’ve seen him do, and the work he’s done with me, I’ve been impressed by his imagination, determination, calm and intelligence. I’m very excited to see where he leads STC.”

Regular STC actor Hugo Weaving said: “Kip Williams has consistently been making some of this country’s most stimulating and powerful theatre over the last 5 years, and during that period has developed strong connections to Sydney and the STC.

His keen intelligence, consideration, tirelessness, youth and rare skill as a theatre maker make him the obvious appointment to the position of STC’s Artistic Director.

Congratulations to Kip and the STC board on this exciting and regenerative appointment.”

Leading actor Ursula Yovich said: “Kip told me a few years ago that seeing The Seven Stages of Grieving (which I was in) at STC back in 2006, when he was in his first year of Uni, was a life changing moment for him. I was humbled and it reminded me just how important theatre and storytelling is and how you never know who you are connecting with. Love and care is always needed and so I am delighted to hear that this talented, generous, warm, intelligent man will be taking on the role of Artistic Director at STC.” Designer and frequent collaborator Alice Babidge said “Kip’s quiet tenacity coupled with an inspiring spirit makes for a treasured collaborator and exciting new Artistic Director.”

Executive Director Patrick McIntyre said “This is a very exciting appointment for Sydney Theatre Company. Kip is a rigorous, thoughtful and original theatre maker, but never at the expense of keeping his audiences engaged and stimulated. He is a considerate collaborator, is genuinely engaged with a wide range of issues affecting the future of the art form and of the industry, and has great curiosity and energy. I think he will be a great leader of the country’s biggest theatre company.”

Kip Williams first engagement with STC was in 2011 when Andrew Upton invited him to be Assistant Director on his production of The White Guard. Later he fulfilled the same role for Richard Cottrell on Loot, for Benedict Andrews on Gross und Klein (Big and Small), and for Neil Armfield on The Secret River. In 2012 he was appointed STC Directing Associate. That year, the Company toured Gross und Klein to Europe across three months, its most complex international engagement to date, and Upton found it was necessary to be on the road for longer than originally anticipated. He asked Williams to take over from him as director of Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas and the production was to be the first of Williams’ many critically acclaimed shows for STC.

Williams was then invited, along with Sarah Giles and Sarah Goodes, by Upton to become a Resident Director at STC, a post he has held since January 2013 until taking up the role of Interim Artistic Director in August 2016.

His most recent work for STC was A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a third Shakespeare for STC following productions of Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth starring Hugo Weaving. Earlier this year he directed All My Sons by Arthur Miller and The Golden Age by Louis Nowra. His other work for STC has included Love and Information by Caryl Churchill (nominated for the Helpmann Award for Best Direction of a Play), Suddenly Last Summer by Tennessee Williams (winner of the

Helpmann Award for Best Direction of a Play) and Children of the Sun by Maxim Gorky adapted by Andrew Upton. He was also Associate Director with Upton on his adaptation of Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac and Dramaturg on Sarah Goodes’ production of Sarah Ruhl’s Orlando.

For Sydney Chamber Opera, Williams has directed Index of Metals, The Lighthouse and the double bill Ich Habe Genug and Nunc Dimittis. For Melbourne Theatre Company he has directed Miss Julie. For Malthouse Helium and US-A-UM he directed an all-female production of Lord of the Flies, for Tamarama Rock Surfers he directed the premiere of Maree Freeman’s Fallout at the Old Fitz Theatre, and for the Sydney Writers’ Festival he directed 1001 Nights. For the 18th Biennale of Sydney, he directed Through the Gates (also for Sydney Chamber Opera).

For Princeton Theatre, New Jersey, he directed Fifth of July, for National Theatre, Melbourne, he directed One For the Road, and for NIDA he directed productions of Cloud 9, Lord of the Flies and Samuel Beckett’s Not I. He has also been Assistant Director on several operas: Jim Sharman’s production of Cosi fan tutte for Opera Australia and The Turn of the Screw and Albert Herring for Victorian Opera. Kip directed the short films B, Bee & Mee and Walk, as well as music videos for Guineafowl, including ‘Little Fingers’ and ‘Botanist’, which was listed in ABC’s RAGE 50 list of the top music videos for 2009. He was Dramaturg on Maree Freeman’s This House is Mine for Milk Crate Theatre.

Williams completed a Master of Dramatic Art in Directing at NIDA, and a Bachelor of Arts (Media & Communication), University of Sydney.