Sydney Theatre Company (STC) today announced that Richard Evans of cultural advisors, REA Consulting, has been engaged to assist with the search for the Company's new Artistic Director, to succeed Andrew Upton whose tenure after eight years at the helm of STC (five as co-Artistic Director with Cate Blanchett and three on his own) concludes at the end of 2015. An appointment is anticipated in the next six to eight months and the incoming Artistic Director will immediately commence planning for the 2017 season while overseeing Upton's final program for STC throughout 2016.
The successful candidate will be STC's sixth Artistic Director. In August 2012 STC Chairman David Gonski announced that Andrew Upton had accepted an invitation to stay on for a further three year term as Artistic Director until the end of 2015. His and Blanchett's joint tenure was from 2008 - 2012, following Robyn Nevin (1999 - 2007), Wayne Harrison (1990 - 1999) and Richard Wherrett (1978 - 1990).
David Gonski said: "The board is determined to find the best possible candidate to steer the course of our great theatre company through its next phase. Andrew Upton has been an exceptional Artistic Director on all fronts, evident in part by the response from our audiences: subscription renewals for the 2015 season are up 21% on the eight year average and this year's program is already breaking box office records. Needless to say, Andrew's are big shoes to fill and finding his successor is a key priority for the board," Mr Gonski said.
Under Upton's leadership STC has attracted artists at the very top of their game working alongside those forging new and emerging careers. For audiences, in the last twelve months alone his program has yielded the award-winning new Australian plays Switzerland and Kryptonite. Theatrically ambitious productions such as Cyrano de Bergerac which he adapted and directed, Children of the Sun in a new production of his adaptation, and the just-opened Suddenly Last Summer have proved artistic and box office successes. Meanwhile the company's international profile continues to develop with Upton's co-adaptation of The Maids a hit in New York last year and his production of Waiting for Godot destined for London in June.
Last year, for another successful show, The Long Way Home which toured across Australia, Upton and STC were awarded a Special Commendation by General David Hurley (then Chief of Defence) - the first time a non-Defence organisation has been so honoured. And during his watch, through his resident artists program, directors and designers such as Kip Williams, Sarah Goodes, Sarah Giles, Renée Mulder and David Fleischer, have developed from the small scale to the main stage.
STC's output goes well beyond its four stages. Alongside many artistic milestones, achievements initiated throughout the Upton/Blanchett era and consolidated during Upton's solo tenure have included the development and roll-out of an innovative in-schools education program, positioning as a global leader in sustainable performing arts practice with the Greening the Wharf program, and launching of Suncorp Twenties - cheap tickets to every performance of all shows.
Upton is currently in rehearsals for his production of Endgame, opening early April, before he then oversees Waiting for Godot in London. In August, The Present, his new version of Chekhov's first play, opens at Roslyn Packer Theatre Walsh Bay. His final STC program will be announced on 3 September 2015.