Playbill.com reported earlier this year that Church would step down as the artistic director of the U.K.'s Chichester Festival, having enjoyed a ten-year tenure that included numerous critically acclaimed productions and subsequent West End transfers including the current staging of Gypsy. Other highlights include the Church-helmed Taken at Midnight, which opened on the West End in January.
According to STC, Church will immediately begin programming on the 2017 season. He will also oversee his independent production company.
"I have watched from afar STC's growth over the past 30 years and the company has become a beacon of artistic adventure and international excellence," commented Church in a press statement. "Recently I have also been fortunate enough to begin to work first hand with some of Australia's best theatre practitioners and I have a strong sense of the extraordinary talent that exists and the deep sense of commitment to the theatre and the arts in general that a wide range of companies have fostered in Australia."
"I think Jonathan Church is a terrific choice as the next Artistic Director of STC," said Upton. "After a period being led by an actress and a writer, I think it's important to have a theatre director once more at the helm."
Fairfax arts writer Elissa Blake commented in the Sydney Morning Herald online that the appointment of Church "catches just about everyone on the hop," with expectations that Sir Kenneth Branagh would be the next appointee. "There is bound to be backlash against the appointment of an international director rather than a local one," Blake continued. "But the Sydney Theatre Company is a large organisation, even by world standards, and is developing an increasingly high profile overseas with touring productions. This appointment could further catapult Australian theatre makers onto the world stage." Read the full article here.
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