On the Couch with Kip Williams

AAR-Kip-Williams-photo-by-Rene-VaileWho is Kip Williams?
The Artistic Director of Sydney Theatre Company (STC), director of theatre and opera.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
There was a time when I was growing up where I wanted to be a children’s author. At University I played guitar and sang in a few bands, which I took very seriously. But really it’s impossible that I would be doing anything other than theatre. My grandmother was an actor who got my siblings and me hooked on telling stories at a young age, so since we were kids I’ve always been making theatre.

Who inspires you and why?
Pina Bausch. I constantly seek out her work and am inspired by it – particularly her Rite of Spring, Kontakthof and Cafe Muller, they’re incredible and I often return to them. For The Picture of Dorian Gray, a work that’s very influential is Sally Potter’s adaptation of Virgina Woolf’s Orlando – in the way that it plays with form, breaks the fourth wall and looks at the construction of identity.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
At STC we have a Greening the Wharf policy encouraging recycling and sustainable practices which I am a huge advocate for. There is actually a lot of creative resourcefulness at play in The Picture of Dorian Gray, including in the dinner party scene which features a veritable history of costumes from the STC archive. STC also released a Cultural Representation Pledge in 2020, which formalises the steps we are taking to be an inclusive, accessible and representative organisation.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Earlier this year my partner and I were lucky to get a break between lockdowns and went driving through Central Australia. We were privileged to get invited into Indulkana – a remote community in the APY lands. There we visited the Iwantja Arts Centre, which is home to the likes of Kaylene Whiskey and Vincent Namatjira. Getting to see these artists at work and to see the land that inspires their work was incredibly special.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Well of course I bring them for a drink and a show at The Wharf! And Room 10 on Llankelly Place in Potts Point is great for coffee and brunch.

What are you currently reading?
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. It’s been hugely informative of my production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, looking at societal structure and power dynamics.

What are you currently listening to?
The album that I have on repeat at the moment is called Actual Life 2 (Feb 2 – October 15 2021), which is the second in a two-part album series documenting life in the time of coronavirus by an amazing electronic musician called Fred Again.

Happiness is?
Happiness is being together in the theatre.

What does the future hold for you?
STC has just launched Act 2 – the second-half of STC’s 2022 Season which I am very excited for. We’re also taking The Picture of Dorian Gray to Adelaide before a return season in Sydney and we’re working on other tours through our partnership with Michael Cassel Group which hopefully we’ll have news about soon. I am also working on my first feature film project which is very exciting.

Kip has directed the critically-acclaimed production, The Picture of Dorian Gray – which will be presented at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide, as part of the 2022 Adelaide Festival: 13 – 20 March. For more information, visit: www.adelaidefestival.com.au for details.

Image: Kip Williams – photo by Rene Vaile