Ensemble Theatre announces Sandra Bates Director’s Award Winners for 2024

Ensemble-Theatre-Julia-Robertson-and-Miranda-MiddletonNow in its ninth year, the 2024 Ensemble Theatre Sandra Bates Director’s Award (SBDA) has been awarded to Julia Robertson and Miranda Middleton.

Mark Kilmurry, Artistic Director has announced the Award winners, who will work on two plays throughout 2024 and each receive $8,000.

“This Award aims to explore artistic potential and nurture emerging talent, and Ensemble Theatre is incredibly grateful to have the continued support from Jinnie and Ross Gavin to again deliver this opportunity to our local industry,” said Mr Kilmurry.

“Every year we have wonderful submissions from amazingly talented individuals all making waves in the industry. This year we had over 40 entries and the final decision to award just two applicants was very difficult indeed.”

“However, I am thrilled to congratulate Julia & Miranda, both rising stars in the profession, who will bring a new dimension to the Ensemble Theatre in 2024, and we look forward to working with them both next year,” said Mr Kilmurry.

“I am totally overwhelmed with gratitude. Opportunities like this are such a rarity in our industry, and I am humbled by the honour. The Ensemble Theatre holds a special place in my heart, as it’s where some of my earliest and most formative theatre memories were made. I can’t wait to contribute to the Ensemble’s wonderful community,” said Julia Robertson.

“It’s a great thrill and honour to be awarded. After four years of working in the independent theatre sector, I’m very excited to assistant direct on two productions at one of our mainstage theatres, and to be immersed in the artistic life of the company,” said Miranda Middleton.

“I’m especially eager to watch some of our country’s greatest directors at work, and to assist in the Ensemble Theatre’s Development program – combining my directing-adjacent interests in new Australian work, writing, and dramaturgy. I can’t wait!”

This annual award commemorates the legacy of former Artistic Director Sandra Bates, after 30 years at the helm of Ensemble Theatre. Mark Kilmurry initiated the SBDA in 2016 and since then, recipients of the award have been mentored on 25 productions, with several progressing to direct for Ensemble’s 2024 season, including Shaun Rennie, Priscilla Jackson and Janine Watson.

Awarded each year, recipients of the SBDA are offered a paid position of Assistant Director on two of Ensemble Theatre’s main stage productions and assist in the ongoing creative development of new works.

For more information about Ensemble Theatre, visit: www.ensemble.com.au for details.

Image: Julia Robertson and Miranda Middleton (supplied)