Kip Williams


Kip Williams is a multi-award winning director of theatre, opera and film. He is the current Artistic Director and Co-CEO of Sydney Theatre Company (STC). His appointment at age 30 years old made him the youngest Artistic Director in the company’s history.

Most recently, Williams’ acclaimed adaption of The Picture of Dorian Gray starring Sarah Snook as the solo performer opened on the West End at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. The show premiered in February 2024 to five star reviews. The production was conceived, written and directed by Williams, the production had its premiere at Sydney Theatre Company in November 2020 where it was met with standing ovations and a slew of five star reviews. Initially performed by Eryn Jean Norvill, and later joined by Nikki Shiels as alternate performer, the show played three sold out return seasons at STC across 2020-2023, in addition to seasons at Adelaide Festival in Her Majesty’s Theatre, Auckland Arts Festival at the Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre, Aotea Centre, and a record 10 week, sold out run at Arts Centre Melbourne as part of Rising Festival, presented by Michael Cassel Group. In a rare five star review The Age declared the production to be a “dazzling masterpiece”. The production received multiple awards at the 2022 Sydney Theatre Awards and 2023 Green Room Awards, including Best Production and Best Director for Williams at both. To date, The Picture of Dorian Gray has been seen by over 145,000 audience members.

Williams has worked extensively at STC for over the last decade, having been appointed Directing Associate in 2012 by then Artistic Directors Andrew Upton and Cate Blanchett. He was subsequently made Resident Director from 2013-2016. He has been Artistic Director and Co-CEO since November 2016.

In 2012, at just 25 years of age Williams made his main stage debut directing screen legend Jack Thompson in Under Milk Wood, making him the youngest person to have directed at the Sydney Opera House. He has since gone on to direct over 20 productions for STC, including his multi-award winning cinema-theatre hybrid production of Suddenly Last Summer, his lauded reinterpretations of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Julius CaesarRomeo & Juliet and The Tempest starring Richard Roxburgh, the celebrated 7 hour epic The Harp in the South Part 1 & Part 2 by Kate Mulvany, his radical retelling of Lord of the Flies starring Mia Wasikowska, Yerin Ha and Daniel Monks, and his ongoing collaborations with actor Hugo Weaving in Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and Tennessee Williams’ Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.

Williams’ work is noted for its stunning choreography and groundbreaking visual style, its extensive use of music and his signature incorporation of live video and cinematic techniques. Williams has been nominated a record six consecutive times for the Helpmann Award for Best Director, Australia’s top theatre prize, and won the award for his production of Suddenly Last Summer. He won Victoria’s Green Room Award for Best Director for his adaptation of Strindberg’s Miss Julie (Melbourne Theatre Company), also winning for Best Production and Best Digital Media Design & Integration. He won the Sydney Theatre Award for Best Director and Best Production for both The Harp in the South, and for the aforementioned The Picture of Dorian Gray, as well as winning a third Best Director award for his adaptation of Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde.

Williams’ work for opera has been much lauded, including acclaimed productions for Victorian Opera, Dark MOFO, and the Biennale of Sydney. Williams is a longtime collaborator with Sydney Chamber Opera and their Artistic Director Jack Symmonds, having directed many of the company’s formative works. His radical produciton for SCO of Fausto Romitelli’s composition An Index of Metals was the first ever theatrical staging of the piece. His production of Handel’s Hercules was set to premiere at London’s Coliseum for English National Opera in October 2020, but was unable to proceed due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Other companies Williams has worked with include Carriageworks, Melbourne Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre, Helium Festival, NIDA, Milkcrate Theatre, The Old Fitz, Perth Festival, Auckland Festival, and Princeton Theatre, New Jersey. Williams has directed several music videos and short films, and his work has been included in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC) RAGE 50 annual list of best music videos.

Williams is a graduate of Sydney University and National Institute of Dramatic Art, where he holds an MFA in Directing. Williams was a Board Director of NIDA from 2016 to 2023.