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. His appointment at age 30 years old made him the youngest Artistic Director in the company’s history.
Williams has worked extensively at STC for over a 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.
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 Caesarand Romeo & Juliet, the celebrated 7 hour epic The Harp in the South Part 1 & Part 2 by Kate Mulvany, his gender flipped production 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.
In November 2020 Williams wrote and directed an acclaimed adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray for a solo performer. The production, featuring a career defining performance from Eryn Jean Norvill, was met with a slew of five star reviews and played to sold out performances and multiple extended seasons. It was announced in September 2021 that the Michael Cassel Group (MCG) would partner with STC to tour the production internationally. The production will play as part of the prestigious Adelaide Festival at Her Majesty’s Theatre in 2022, before returning to Sydney for an encore season. It will then play at Arts Centre Melbourne as part of Rising Festival, presented by MCG before further touring. At the 2021 Sydney Theatre Awards, the production was awarded Best Production, Best Director for Williams, Best Performance for Norvill and Best Set Design.
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 The Harp in the South.
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 postponed 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, 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. He has been a Board Director of NIDA since 2016.