Kip Williams

Kip Williams is an Australian theatre director. Williams is the Artistic Director of Sydney Theatre Company.[1]

Williams has been a Resident Artist with Sydney Theatre Company (STC) since 2012. He was appointed as Directing Associate in 2012, Resident Director in 2013, and Artistic Director in November 2016.[2] His appointment at age 30 made him the youngest Artistic Director in the company's history.[3]

Williams won the 2015 Helpmann Award for Best Direction of a Play for his production of Suddenly Last Summer for Sydney Theatre Company.[4] He won the 2016 Green Room Award for Best Director for his production of Miss Julie for Melbourne Theatre Company.[5] He won the 2018 Sydney Theatre Award for Best Director for his production of The Harp in the South for Sydney Theatre Company.[6]


Williams has directed for many of Australia's leading theatre companies, including Sydney Theatre Company, Melbourne Theatre Company, and Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne.

Williams' first production for Sydney Theatre Company came in 2012, where at age 25 he directed Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood, at the Sydney Opera House, starring Jack Thompson. In 2013 he adapted and directed a reimagining of Romeo and Juliet, focussing the text on Juliet, again at the Sydney Opera House; as well as an all female production of William Golding's Lord of the Flies at Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne, as part of the Helium Festival. In 2014, for Sydney Theatre Company he directed productions of Macbeth starring Hugo Weaving and Maxim Gorky's Children of the Sun adapted by Andrew Upton.

In 2015, Williams directed a radical staging of Tennessee Williams's Suddenly Last Summer, using a blend of live video and stage action.[7] The production earned him a Best Director nomination at the Sydney Theatre Awards, and won him the Helpmann Award for Best Direction of a Play. He also directed the Australian premiere of Caryl Churchill's Love and Information for Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne, and the Sydney Theatre Company. The production garnered Williams a second nomination for the Helpmann Award for Best Direction of a Play, as well as Best Director nominations from the Sydney Theatre Awards, and Melbourne's Green Room Awards.

In 2016, for STC Williams directed a revival of the Australian classic The Golden Age by Louis Nowra, Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Arthur Miller's All My Sons, for which he was nominated for Best Director at the Sydney Theatre Awards. He also adapted and directed a production of Miss Julie for the Melbourne Theatre Company.[8] It was his second time combining live video and stage action. The production was nominated for eight Green Room Awards, winning Best Production, Best Digital Media Design and Integration, and Best Director for Williams.

In 2017, Williams directed the Australian premiere of Lucy Kirkwood's Chimerica for Sydney Theatre Company.[9] The production featured an ensemble cast of 32, including a chorus of students from NIDA, with set design by David Fleischer. Hailed "a triumph" by The Australian,[9] Chimerica was nominated for two Helpmann Awards; Jason Chong for Best Actor, and Williams for Best Direction of a Play.[10] This was followed by a staging of Caryl Churchill's Cloud 9, Williams' second professional production of a Churchill play.[11] The production was nominated for nine Sydney Theatre Awards, including Best Production and Best Director for Williams. It was also nominated for two Helpmann Awards, Best Director for Williams, and Best Supporting Actor for Harry Greenwood. Later in 2017 he directed an adaptation by Andrew Upton of Chekhov's Three Sisters for the STC.[12]

In 2018, Williams directed Bertolt Brecht's The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, starring Hugo Weaving in the titular role.[13] The production was nominated for six Helpmann Awards, including Best Production, Best Director for Williams, and winning Best Supporting Actress and Best Actor for Anita Hegh and Weaving respectively.[14] Later, it was nominated for a further nine Sydney Theatre Awards, again for Best Production and Best Director for Williams, and winning four awards including Best Actor for Weaving, Best Stage Design for Robert Cousins, and Best Supporting Actor for Mitchell Butel.[15] Next Williams directed a 6 hour stage adaptation of The Harp in the South: Part One & Part Two by Kate Mulvany. The highly acclaimed production brought to life Ruth Park's celebrated trilogy of novels, Missus, The Harp in the South, and Poor Man's Orange, using an ensemble of 18 actors to perform the marathon work across two nights of theatre.[16] The production was nominated for 11 Sydney Theatre Awards, winning Best Production, Best New Australian Work for Mulvany, and Best Direction for Williams.[17] It was nominated for a further six Helpmann Awards, including Best Production of a Play, Best New Australian Work, and Best Director for Williams. Williams finished 2018 with an operatic take on Patrick White's classic play A Cheery Soul, featuring his signature use of live video. Staged at the Sydney Opera House, the production starred Sarah Peirse, with an ensemble including Anita Hegh, Shari Sebbens, and Tara Morice.[18]

2019 saw Williams take on Tennessee Williams’ masterpiece Cat on a Hot Tin Roof , in a contemporary adaptation featuring Zahra Newman, Harry Greenwood, Pamela Rabe, and Hugo Weaving as Big Daddy. The production marked Weaving and Williams’ third time collaborating. This was followed by a gender blind staging of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Starring Mia Wasikowska as Ralph, the production featured an ensemble including Joseph Althouse, Justin Amankwa, Nyx Calder, Yerin Ha, Daniel Monks, Mark Paguio, Rahel Romahn, Eliza Scanlen, Contessa Treffone, and Nikita Waldren.

In 2020 Williams wrote and directed an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. The one person show saw actor Eryn Jean Norvill play 26 characters in a two hour performance that incorporated Williams’ signature use of live video. Hailed a “tour de force” by The Guardian and “a theatrical coup” by the Sydney Morning Herald, the acclaimed production was met with a slew of five star reviews.[19] It’s sold out run at the Roslyn Packer Theatre was extended into January 2021.


Williams has directed extensively for Sydney Chamber Opera (SCO) since 2011, including productions of Peter Maxwell Davies's The Lighthouse, Fausto Romitelli's An Index of Metals, and stagings of J. S. Bach's cantata Ich habe genug and Jack Symmonds' Nunc dimittis.

He staged a song cycle for SCO and the 18th Biennale of Sydney titled Through the Gates, consisting of works from Shostakovich to Bach.[20]

In 2017 he co-directed with Elizabeth Gatsby a gender bending reinterpretation of Benjamin Britten's chamber opera The Rape of Lucretia. The production involved singers lip synching and performing multiple characters in a radical reframing of Britten's original piece. The production was a co-production between Victorian Opera, SCO, and Dark Mofo, and premiered in Sydney at Carriageworks.[21] It was revived in June 2018 for Dark Mofo and played at the Theatre Royal, Hobart.

Williams was set to direct Handel’s Hercules for English National Opera in the Spring of 2020, but the production was postponed due to Coronavirus.


Williams is a graduate of the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA),[2] and the University of Sydney.[22]


  1. ^ "Kip Williams is STC's new Artistic Director". Sydney Theatre Company. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  2. ^ a b Westwood, Matthew (14 November 2014). "Kip Williams leaps from STC to Sydney Chamber Opera and back". The Australian.
  3. ^ "Kip Williams finds his feet at the top of the Sydney Theatre Company". 2016-12-20.
  4. ^ King, Brendan (30 July 2015). "Young director wins top theatre prize at Helpmann Awards". Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  5. ^ Francis, Hannah (28 March 2017). "Green Room Awards 2016: Matilda the Musical dominates again". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  6. ^ "STC productions have dominated this year's Sydney Theatre Awards".
  7. ^ Director Documentaries: Kip Williams, Suddenly Last Summer on YouTube, Sydney Theatre Company
  8. ^ "MTC's production of Miss Julie is fresh, exciting and vivid" by Chris Boyd, The Australian, 25 April 2016
  9. ^ a b Mccallum, John (9 March 2017). "Sydney Theatre Company's Chimerica a Triumph". The Australian.
  10. ^ "Helpmann Awards Nominees 2017". Helpmann Awards. 20 June 2017.
  11. ^ McCallum, John (10 July 2017). "Politics of sexual identity disturbing in Caryl Churchill's Cloud Nine". The Australian.
  12. ^ "Three Sisters is a sometimes riotous look at life coming to nought" by John McCallum, The Australian, 13 November 2017
  13. ^ "Hugo Weaving's fresh take on Brecht's despot is irresistible" by Joyce Morgan, The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 March 2018
  14. ^ "STC and Bangarra triumph at 2018 Helpmann Awards",, 16 July 2018 (subscription required)
  15. ^ "STC productions have dominated this year's Sydney Theatre Awards".
  16. ^ "The Harp in the South review | Theatre in Sydney".
  18. ^ "A Cheery Soul review | Theatre in Sydney".
  19. ^ {{cite web |url=
  20. ^ Through the Gates, production notes, Sydney Chamber Opera
  21. ^ "The Rape of Lucretia: Benjamin Britten's 'problem' work" by Nick Galvin, The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 August 2017
  22. ^ "Alumnus Kip Williams hits the big stage", University of Sydney, 23 May 2012

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