Sydney Theatre Company Artistic Director Kip Williams to step down at the end of 2024

AAR-Kip-Williams-photo-by-Rene-VaileSydney Theatre Company Artistic Director Kip Williams has announced that, after an extraordinary 13 years with the Company and eight as Artistic Director, he will launch his eighth and final program in September before stepping down at the end of the year.

Following the phenomenal success of The Picture of Dorian Gray in London’s West End, Kip has decided to hand over the reins to a new Artistic Director at the end of 2024 as he makes space in his schedule for a potential Broadway season in 2025.

Kip will begin rehearsals in the coming weeks for his highly anticipated new adaptation of Dracula, the third and final installment in his Gothic cine-theatre trilogy. He will continue to be an integral presence at STC in 2025, with tours planned for Dracula and a brand-new work to be unveiled as part of his final program for STC, which will be announced in September.

“Serving as Artistic Director at Sydney Theatre Company has been the honour of a lifetime. Over the past eight years, I have had the opportunity to work with the most extraordinary theatre makers in the country and have been fortunate enough to program and help bring to life 89 productions for STC,” said Kip Williams.

“When I started as Artistic Director, one of my goals was to increase the space and opportunity for Australian stories on our stages. I couldn’t be prouder that two-thirds of the shows I have programmed during my tenure have been original works and adaptations by Australian writers.”

“Over the 13 years I have spent in the Company, I have consistently been in awe of the extraordinary talent that exists in every corner of the Wharf. I am forever indebted to the incredible staff and teams at STC with whom I love working and from whom I have learned so much.”

“I am excited for the Company’s next chapter as it embarks on the search for a new Artistic Director and look forward to the next nine months working alongside Executive Director Anne Dunn and the entire team as we finalise plans for the 2025 Season and launch our remaining brilliant shows of the year.”

“I am also delighted that the future touring plans for a number of productions I’ve adapted and directed will keep me close to the Company in the coming years. I look forward to returning as an artist to the Company I love so much in the years ahead and thank everyone in the STC family for your support and passion for the theatre we make together,” said Williams.

“Kip Williams has been an exceptional leader of Sydney Theatre Company. He has shown remarkable skill, resilience, and creativity, particularly in leading the Company through both the Wharf Renewal Project and the extraordinary challenges of the pandemic,” said STC Chair Ann Johnson.

“Sydney Theatre Company’s artistic output under Kip’s leadership has resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed and creatively vibrant periods of the Company’s history.”

:Kip has put great focus on Australian writing, championing new voices, and has realised his goal of gender parity for women writers and directors across every season.”

“He has mentored and nurtured the careers of some of our most exciting writers, directors, designers, performers and technicians and the Australian theatre industry is a richer and more diverse place for the role that Kip has played in it.”

“Kip is an exceptional artist in his own right, and it has been a great pleasure to see his work develop and flourish during his time at STC, particularly the ground he has broken in using new technology in theatre. I was on the Board that appointed Kip in 2016.”

“He struck me then as a person of remarkable integrity, deeply passionate about STC and its role in fostering exceptional Australian artists and storytelling on our stages, and this is everything he has shown and more during his remarkable 8-year tenure as Artistic Director.”

“We thank Kip for his extraordinary leadership and his continuing love for the STC. We are grateful to have him with us until the end of the year while we commence the search for our next Artistic Director and are delighted Kip will remain close to the Company in the years ahead,” said Ms Johnson.

“It is a joy to work alongside Kip, someone I regard as an extraordinary artist and a visionary artistic director. STC and our audiences have benefited hugely from his leadership over his tenure,” said STC Executive Director and Co-CEO Anne Dunn.

“Kip has created theatrical worlds which have transfixed audiences, and we are privileged to share those stories with audiences here in Sydney as well as nationally and internationally. He will leave a legacy of initiatives which support new works and artist development and a company at the forefront of presenting Australian theatrical works of scale.

“I am personally delighted for Kip that the international success of The Picture of Dorian Gray has launched him onto the world stage, and I look forward to continuing to work with him across the remainder of 2024 and into the future as STC continues to tour his works and deliver his 2025 program,” said Ms Dunn.

Kip joined Sydney Theatre Company in 2011 as an Assistant Director on Andrew Upton’s The White Guard and Benedict Andrews’ Gross Und Klein. In 2012 he was appointed Associate Director by then Artistic Directors Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton. He became Resident Director in 2013 and in 2016 at the age thirty became STC’s youngest-ever Artistic Director and Co-CEO.

As Artistic Director, Kip has programmed 89 productions to date across seven annual seasons, two-thirds of which were either original works or adaptations by Australian writers. Under Kip’s leadership STC productions have garnered over 90 awards including Helpmann, Green Room and Sydney Theatre Awards.

Throughout his 13 years with the Company, Kip has directed a total of 24 productions for STC, including Kate Mulvany’s 7 hour epic, The Harp in the South (Part One and Part Two), Suddenly Last Summer for which he won a Helpmann Award for Best Director, and three adaptations that he also wrote in his Gothic cine-theatre trilogy, The Picture of Dorian Gray (2020), Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (2022) and Dracula (2024).

Since 2016, Kip has been instrumental in the development of new Australian writing by Australia’s most remarkable storytellers including Angus Cerini (Wonnangatta, Into the Shimmering World), Anchuli Felicia King (White Pearl, The Poison of Polygamy, American Signs), Kate Mulvany (The Harp in the South Part One and Two, Mary Stuart, Playing Beatie Bow), Nakkiah Lui (Black is the New White, Blackie Blackie Brown, How To Rule The World), Suzie Miller (RBG: Of Many, One), and Joanna Murray-Smith (Julia).

During his tenure, Kip has overseen Resident Artist programs dedicated to developing career pathways and nurturing artists for the stage including the Patrick White Playwrights Award and Fellowship, the CAAP Director’s Program, the Design Associates Program (2021-2023), and the Watershed: Writers (previously Emerging Writers Group).

Kip Williams will announce his final program as Artistic Director for Sydney Theatre Company in September 2024.

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Image: Kip Williams – photo by Rene Vaile