John Bell to leave Bell Shakespeare in 2015: let’s re-visit his talent

In what feels like the end of the era, John Bell has announced today that he will leave the Bell Shakespeare Company in 2015, when he will hand the company over to Artistic Director Peter Evans.

“By the end of 2015 I will have led the company I founded for twenty five years. This coincides with my seventy fifth birthday. It seems to me to be the perfect time to step aside and hand over the reins to my Co-Artistic Director, Peter Evans.” said John Bell, AO.

John Bell. Photo by Pierre Toussaint.
John Bell. Photo by Pierre Toussaint.


“I have had this strategy in mind for some time, which is why I asked Peter, who first worked with Bell Shakespeare in 1996 and continued to work with us throughout the years, to join me as my Co-Artistic Director. After five years of working alongside me and the culmination of his long experience with the Company, I am confident Peter is more than ready to take on the leadership of Bell Shakespeare.”

“He will bring a new energy and renewed focus to the company. His outstanding productions have earned him widespread respect and support with all of our stakeholders and throughout the industry. I wish him every success and joy in the role.”

“I am immensely proud of all this company has achieved over the last twenty five years, against the most formidable odds. That success is a tribute to the passion, enthusiasm and generosity of many hundreds of people— artists, Board members, as well as our private donors, corporate partners, government partners and, of course, audiences – somewhere in the region of 2.5million. It is also important to note the extraordinary staff who are behind the scenes, day in and day out. Their commitment and enthusiasm has been the engine that has propelled Bell Shakespeare forward.”

“I shall miss walking side-by-side with the Bard on a daily basis; my life has been immeasurably enriched by maintaining a daily conversation with one of the greatest minds of all time—questioning, probing, researching and giving his words breath. If I had my life again, I would choose no other course. I would try to do things better after the lessons I’ve learned,but I can think of no greater privilege than the opportunity to devote one’s life and energy to the works of Shakespeare. And for that I am grateful to all who have made it possible.”

“We can’t begin to measure the contribution John Bell has made to Australian theatre,” said Peter Evans.

“Founding Bell Shakespeare 25 years ago, he showed that he is a visionary, ahead of his time. Under John’s guidance Bell Shakespeare has never shied away from new ideas, never been afraid of approaching a different theatrical direction, and always encouraged artists both on and off the stage to push the boundaries.”

The photo gallery below captures the spirit of a career: the essence of John Bell, a legend of Australian Theatre.


Cassie Tongue

Cassie is a theatre critic and arts writer in Sydney, and is the deputy editor of AussieTheatre. She has written for The Guardian, Time Out Sydney, Daily Review, and BroadwayWorld Australia. She is a voter for the Sydney Theatre Awards.

Cassie Tongue

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