Open main menu

Mitchell Patrick Butel (born 10 February 1970) is an Australian actor, singer, writer and director. He is best known for his work in theatre, including musical and opera productions.[1] From March 2019, he will be the Artistic Director of the State Theatre Company of South Australia. [2]

Mitchell Butel
Mitchell Patrick Butel

(1970-02-10) 10 February 1970 (age 49)
EducationBachelor of Arts
Alma materUniversity of NSW
OccupationActor, singer, writer, director
AwardsHelpmann Award (4)
Green Room Award (2)
Sydney Theatre Award (4)


Early life and careerEdit

Butel became interested in theatre as a child after seeing the musical Song and Dance and later Little Shop of Horrors.[3]

Butel attended the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and studied for a degree in Arts/Law, majoring in Theatre Studies and working as a paralegal in a law firm between terms.[4] He was part of the original Australian Avenue Q cast in 2009. He played the roles of two puppet characters in the production: Princeton and Rod.[5] The Australian production opened in June 2009 at the Comedy Theatre in Melbourne. The production then went to Sydney in August and then toured Canberra, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and Auckland in New Zealand. He earned a Helpmann Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance.

Butel has worked extensively for many theatre companies including: Sydney Theatre Company,[6][7] Melbourne Theatre Company, Bell Shakespeare, Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne, Belvoir St Theatre, Queensland Theatre Company, The Production Company, Griffin Theatre Company and the State Theatre Company of South Australia appearing in productions such as Six Degrees of Separation, The Cafe Latte Kid, Tartuffe, Mourning Becomes Electra, A View from the Bridge, Othello, Stones in His Pockets, Boeing-Boeing, The Government Inspector, Strange Interlude, Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love, Meow Meow's Little Match Girl, Romeo and Juliet, Woyzeck, Emerald City, Arms and the Man, Disgraced, Mr. Burns, a post-electric play, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui and The Merchant of Venice as Shylock.[8] His music theatre credits include Little Me, Assassins, Kismet, Follies, Man of La Mancha, Dusty - The Original Pop Diva, Grease, Urinetown, Oklahoma!, Tom Foolery, Hair, Sugar, The Producers and A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder. He is also the voice of the Play School theme song.[9]

In June and July 2013, Butel played Louis in the Belvoir St Theatre production of Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes.[10][11][12]

In 2013, he also played Hysterium opposite Geoffrey Rush as Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.[13]

In 2015, he made his New York debut at the New Victory Theater in the Windmill Performing Arts adaptation of Pinocchio.[14]

Butel has been awarded four Helpmann Awards - three for Best Actor in a Musical for The Mikado (2012), Avenue Q (2010) and The Venetian Twins (2005) and one for Best Supporting Actor in a Play Mr. Burns, a post-electric play and was nominated for Little Me (2008), Summer Rain (2006) and The Republic of Myopia (2005). Butel has also received two Green Room Awards for Best Male Actor in a Featured Role (Music Theatre) for Piaf (2000) and Hair (2002) and four Sydney Theatre Awards - Best Director of a Musical for Violet (2015), Best Independent Musical for Violet (2015), Best Production for Young People for Spring Awakening (2016) and Best Actor in a Play for The Merchant of Venice (2017). He was also awarded Best Actor in Play in the 2017 Broadway World Sydney Awards for Mr. Burns, a post-electric play.

Butel has been nominated for two Australian Film Institute (AFI) Awards for Best Supporting Actor in a Feature Film for Gettin' Square (2003) and Strange Fits of Passion (1999). His other film credits include Dance Academy: The Movie (2017), 2:22 (2016), Holding the Man (2014), The Bank (2001), Two Hands (1999) and Dark City (1998). His television credits include Deep Water (2016), Janet King (2016), Hiding (2014), The Broken Shore (2013), Mr & Mrs Murder (2013), Rake (2012), Nightmares and Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King (2006), MDA (2003), Grass Roots (2000), Wildside (1998), G.P. (1994–1996) and Bordertown (1995).[15]

He has been a member of Actors Equity since 1988 [16] and a Board Member of Belvoir (theatre) since 2012. He is also an honorary fellow of the Australian Institute of Music.

Opera AustraliaEdit

In May 2011, Butel made his Opera Australia debut in the Gilbert and Sullivan production The Mikado where he played the comedic role of Ko-Ko.[17] In February 2013, he took part in another Opera Australia production, Orpheus in the Underworld where he played the role of John Styx.[18][19]

Later in 2013, Butel performed the part of Luther Billis in Bartlett Sher's production of South Pacific for Opera Australia.[20]

Killing Time albumEdit

Killing Time is a live album Butel recorded during the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in 2010, and consists of songs with a time-related theme, as well as poetry and anecdotes. The album features a mixture of genres including jazz and cabaret.[21] Butel has also performed the Killing Time songs at other venues, including the Seymour Centre and the Cremorne Theatre.[22] The album was released in March 2012.[22] He can also be heard on the original cast recordings of The Republic of Myopia, Meow Meow's Little Match Girl and Opera Australia's The Mikado.[23][6]

Writer and DirectorEdit

Butel's writing credits include Excellent Adventure and Killing Time and he wrote additional material for Meow Meow's Little Match Girl, Belvoir St Theatre's production of The Government Inspector and Opera Australia's production of The Mikado. His directing credits include Violet at the Hayes Theatre which was awarded Best Production of an Independent Musical at the 2015 Sydney Theatre Awards and for which he was awarded Best Director of a Musical.[24] Violet had its Melbourne season at Chapel Off Chapel.[25] He directed the winning play of the 2016 Lysiscrates Prize for New Australian Playwriting, Mary Rachel Brown's Approximate Balance.[26] In 2016, Butel directed Spring Awakening for Australian Theatre for Young People which won Best Production for Young People at the Sydney Theatre Awards and Porgy and Bess at the Sydney Opera House for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.[25] In 2018 Butel co-directed An Act of God for the Darlinghurst Theatre Company and directed the Australian premiere of Jordan Harrison's play, Marjorie Prime as part of the Ensemble Theatre's 60th Anniversary Season. [27] In 2018, he also directed Funny Girl and The Bernstein Songbook for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Candide for the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs at the Sydney Opera House. In 2019, he will direct Mary Rachel Brown's Dead Cat Bounce for Griffin Theatre and Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori's Caroline, Or Change for the Hayes Theatre.


  1. ^ "BONZA – Australia & New Zealand Database". Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "This Is Your Brain on Musical Theatre – 7 Questions with (Funny Thing!) Mitchell Butel". 5 December 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  4. ^ "Ko-Ko the new Hamlet". Opera Australia. Archived from the original on 2 September 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  5. ^ "Avenue Q : The Musical : Comedy : Michala Banas : Mitchell Butel : Theater in Melbourne : Web Wombat Theatre". Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  6. ^ a b Face To Face | Sydney Theatre Company | Mitchell Butel Interview
  7. ^ Sydney Theatre Awards 2013 nominees announced | Daily Review: film, stage and music reviews, interviews and more
  8. ^ Williamson, David. Emerald City. Currency Press. pp. 81–82. ISBN 9781925005264.
  9. ^ "Mitchell Butel". Opera Australia. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  10. ^ "Angels in America Part One: Millennium Approaches, Productions | Belvoir St Theatre". 7 June 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  11. ^ "Where Angels Dared to Tread" | The Australian
  12. ^ "Angels in America: Millenium Approaches + Perestroika" Archived 12 September 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Time Out Sydney.
  13. ^ Burch, Peter. "Forum's funny things carry on". Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Mitchell Butel". IMDb. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  16. ^ Williamson, David. Emerald City. Currency Press. p. 82. ISBN 9781925005264.
  17. ^ "Detail". Opera Australia. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  18. ^ "Orpheus in the Underworld | Sydney Opera House: Opera Theatre | Opera review". 4 March 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  19. ^[permanent dead link]
  20. ^ "Theatre Review: South Pacific". Glam Adelaide.
  21. ^ "Killing time : live in concert / Mitchell Butel. [sound recording] : – Version details – Trove". 20 June 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  22. ^ a b "Killing Time | Mitchell Butel". 21 June 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  23. ^ Stage Noise with Diana Simmonds – Review – ROMEO AND JULIET
  24. ^ [1]
  25. ^ a b
  26. ^
  27. ^ Ben, Neutze (7 August 2017). "Ensemble Theatre Reveals 60th Anniversary Season". Daily Review. Retrieved 11 August 2017.

External linksEdit