Andrew Upton appointed Artistic Director of STC from 2013
David Gonski, Chairman of Sydney Theatre Company, today (August 16, 2012) announced that Andrew Upton has been appointed Artistic Director of Sydney Theatre Company commencing 1 January 2013. For the past five years, Andrew Upton has been Co Artistic Director of the Company with Cate Blanchett. The duo’s final program – for 2013 – will be announced on 6 September this year.
“After an extensive national and international search for a new Artistic Director, which identified a number of outstanding candidates, we considered that Andrew would be the best person to lead the company as it evolves into the next stage of its artistic development,” Mr Gonski said.
“STC is one of the largest performing arts organisations in Australia, and one of the largest theatre companies in the world. Under Andrew and Cate it has won a new international reputation, raising the profile of Australian theatre abroad, developed an innovative in-schools education program, taken a leading role in raising the profile of the Walsh Bay arts precinct and become a global leader in sustainable performing arts practice via the innovative Greening The Wharf initiative. All these things have created a new energy around the Company and Andrew and Cate have been great advocates for the sector.
“We are very pleased that we were able to convince Andrew to accept another three year term to continue this terrific creative momentum, after he and Cate made the decision to continue living in Australia. The board considers Andrew to be the best person to build on the outstanding work he and Cate have achieved. As incoming Artistic Director, Upton will immediately commence planning for the 2014 season.”
Andrew Upton said that he ‘loves’ STC.
“It is a great theatre company brimming with remarkably talented people in all areas of the organisation. It has wonderfully diverse spaces that offer Sydney audiences a real array of theatrical opportunity. I’m honoured and excited to be a part of this next phase.”
“The offer to stay on as Artistic Director came just as we had decided to remain in Australia as a family. We were finishing off plans for the 2013 season – the last of Cate’s and mine together. At the same time, the team was also wrangling with our new five year strategic plan. So it happened right when I was weighing up what Cate and I had achieved, and also feeling an enthusiasm for what could come next.”
At the same time David Gonski announced that Patrick McIntyre, STC’s General Manager, would be appointed Executive Director and will join the board.
“One of the key things that attracted me to stay was the opportunity to continue my working partnership with Patrick McIntyre. Patrick will work in very close collaboration with me as Executive Director of the company. At this point in STC’s development, I believe it is important to have a strong partnership between the artistic and business aims of the Company,” Andrew Upton said. “I relish the opportunities for change and growth ahead.”
Patrick McIntyre said: “It has been incredibly exciting professionally and a great privilege to work with the team at STC during a period of change and renewal. Especially because – like Andrew and Cate – my career in the arts started off here. Performing arts organisations are getting more and more complex. It’s an exciting challenge and one that relies on a strong alignment between artistic and business leadership. It’s fantastic that Andrew will be staying on – it very much feels like we have more to do.”
Cate Blanchett said: “My first job as an actor was at STC and many of my most influential experiences have been here. I will always maintain a strong personal connection to the Company.
“I was very excited for STC when Andrew was appointed for another term. We weighed up all of our personal and professional needs and felt that – with Australia as our home – it was a great way to bring all of our initiatives at the Company to fruition. It is very important for STC to consolidate and build at this time,” she said. “I’ve always said he was the brains behind the operation!”
Andrew Upton’s association with Sydney Theatre Company spans thirteen years and he has been Co Artistic Director since January 2008. As writer, his first adaptation for STC was Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac which debuted in 1999 and was reprised at Melbourne Theatre Company in 2005. His adaptation of Moliere’s Don Juan was produced by STC in 2001. A third major adaptation, Hedda Gabler, was staged by STC in 2004 and toured to New York in early 2006. His adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard was presented by STC in 2005. In 2010 his adaptation of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya was presented at Sydney Theatre. The production toured to the United States in 2011 and 2012 to extraordinary acclaim and was named the best play of the year by Washington Post critic Peter Marks, after what he described as the strongest year of theatre in a decade. In The New York Times, Ben Brantley declared that he considered the three hours of the show “among the happiest of my theatergoing life”.
David Gonksi said, “As a Board we are very excited to have an artist of Andrew’s calibre as our Artistic Director. Combined with Patrick’s new role as Executive Director and board member, we have a world class leadership team to steer the Company into the future.”
Photographer: Lisa Tomasetti