Shari Sebbens announced as STC’s new Richard Wherrett Fellow

STC Shari Sebbens AARShari Sebbens has been appointed Sydney Theatre Company’s new Richard Wherrett Fellow. The Richard Wherrett Fellowship is a career pathway opportunity for emerging and developing directors.

Shari joins other STC resident artists; Paige Rattray (Associate Director) Jessica Arthur (Resident Director), Elizabeth Gadsby (Resident Designer) and Sue Smith (Patrick White Fellow).

Through its resident artists program, STC is committed to providing professional development opportunities for artists, access to key personnel and resources, and encouragement for professional development. STC’s Resident Artists also play key roles in the day-to-day artistic life of the Company and work closely with Artistic Director Kip Williams.

“I am thrilled to have Shari Sebbens join Sydney Theatre Company’s artistic team as the next Richard Wherrett Fellow,” said STC Artistic Director Kip Williams. “I am looking forward to working closely with Shari as she develops further as a director over the following 12 months. We are all excited to have her incredible mind contributing to the artistic life of the company.”

Shari is a proud Bardi, Jabirr-Jabirr woman born and raised in Darwin. At 19 Shari was one of ten young artists chosen for SPARK – the Australia Council for the Arts first theatre mentorship program. In 2006 she was accepted into Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) where she completed the certificate 3 course in Aboriginal Theatre. At the end of the year she was accepted into NIDA, graduating in 2009.

Shari is a proud and passionate advocate for Indigenous theatre especially the development of new and contemporary works. In 2011 Shari was cast in her first film role of Kay in The Sapphires. The film is based on the hit stage-play of the same name. The Sapphires’ world premiere was at the 2012 Cannes International Film Festival and it has since screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Dubai International Film Festival.

In 2012 Shari starred in the world premiere of La Boite/Griffin Theatre’s production of Rick Viede’s A Hoax; she played the role of Julia in Redfern Now for ABC, and one of the leads in the ABC series The Gods Of Wheat Street. In 2013 Shari was cast as Naomi in Warwick Thornton’s feature The Darkside. In 2014 Shari played the roles of Jessie in the ABC series 8MMM Aboriginal Radio, Samus in the web-series Soul Mates and the lead role of Annuska in the feature film Teenage Kicks.

Shari commenced 2015 playing Mae in Radiance for Belvoir, directed by Leah Purcell. Followed by the Sydney Theatre Production of The Battle of Waterloo directed by Sarah Goodes. She continued on stage in 2016 with Back To The Dojo for Belvoir and The Bleeding Tree for Griffin Theatre.

In 2017 Shari returned to film with the role of Mother in Thor: Ragnarok opposite Idris Elba and Foxtel’s first feature Australia Day playing leading role of Sonya Mackenzie. She performed the remount of The Bleeding Tree followed by Black Is The New White – both at the Sydney Theatre Co (STC) and then to Queensland Theatre Co’s An Octoroon.

2018 saw Shari return to television with regular role of Leonie in Matchbox Pictures The Heights and comedy The Let Down 2, the feature Top End Wedding, the return of Black Is The New White (STC) and A Cherry Soul (STC). In 2019 Shari is performing in Our Town for the Black Swan Theatre Company. Shari is the recipient of the Graham Kennedy Logie Award for Outstanding New Talent (2012).

“It is an incredible honour to be a part of a company that is shifting and stretching and not shying away from the necessary conversations and actions required for cultural growth and I’m thrilled to be a part of that,” said Shari.

“Many of the people I look up to in this industry are Richard Wherrett fellows and I imagine much of what I love about their work and artistry was nurtured and able to grow in their time here at Sydney Theatre Company which inspires me as I head into an exciting year of development and discovery.

“I’ve worked with the Sydney Theatre Company as an actor for a few years now and as an Aboriginal artist I’ve been thrilled by the choices they’ve made in producing Indigenous work. Their investment in my development as a director is also an investment in the future of Indigenous storytelling on our stages. It’s nice to be a part of a company that understands you cannot talk about Australia’s cultural identity without Indigenous people at the table.”

Shari joins previous STC Richard Wherrett Fellows: Jessica Arthur, Paige Rattray, Imara Savage, Sarah Giles, Lee Lewis, Wayne Blair and Joseph Couch. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Shari Sebbens (supplied)