In a statement released late yesterday, Church has cited his workload in Sydney and back in Britain, admitting that it had “not proved viable” alongside his other commitments, for bringing his tenure to an end.
“It has been a great experience working with this wonderful company and getting to know its network of extraordinary artists over the past nine months,” said Church. “I expect to maintain close contacts with Australian theatre makers over the coming years, although, regrettably, it has not proved viable for me to continue as STC’s Artistic Director while balancing my other interests as we had hoped. I wish the company and the whole team well for the future.”
Succeeding Andrew Upton as Artistic Director of STC, Church had previously been Artistic Director of Chichester Festival Theatre since 2006 and is credited with completely transforming the much-loved UK institution.
During the last decade at Chichester Jonathan Church has more than doubled the venue’s audience base and produced a diverse program of over 100 shows (including 22 new plays) from the large-scale to the intimate. Almost 50 of these have transferred to the West End and/or Broadway or toured to prestigious nonprofit organisations such as New York’s BAM. His production of Singin’ in the Rain is currently playing in Melbourne.
STC Chairman Ian Narev said, “Since September last year, Jonathan has led the development of an exciting season for 2017. Over these nine months, he has been balancing his time in Sydney with his ongoing commitments in the UK and elsewhere, and it has become apparent that the combined workload and travel will be unsustainable.”
“We understood when we made the appointment in August last year that Jonathan was much in demand and we agreed that time would be made for him to remain engaged in other opportunities around the world through his company Jonathan Church Productions. But ultimately, both parties have decided that this arrangement won’t be in the best interests for either in the long term.”
“The board thanks Jonathan for the contribution he has made to the company, in particular his role in the development of the 2017 program. He has built many strong relationships in his time here, and we look forward to staying in touch as he continues his work.”
With plans for the 2017 season well developed, the season will be launched as planned in early September. The search for a new Artistic Director will commence after the 2017 season has launched. For more information, visit: www.sydneytheatre.com.au for details.
Image: Jonathan Church – photo by Johan Perrson