Sydney Theatre Company without Artistic Director after Jonathan Church steps down

Less than 12 months after assuming the top job at Sydney Theatre Company, Britain’s Jonathan Church has resigned as Artistic Director of NSW’s flagship theatre company.

Jonathan Church. Image by Johan Persson
Departing STC Artistic Director Jonathan Church. Image by Johan Persson

Sydney Theatre Company issued a press release yesterday saying Church had “stepped down” from the role of Artistic Director after it was no longer “viable” for him to continue.

According to STC Chairman Ian Narev, Church has been leading the development of the 2017 season while commuting from the UK to Sydney over the last nine months, but the travel and workload combined with Church’s other commitments proved too difficult to maintain.

“We understood when we made the appointment in August last year that Jonathan was much in demand and we agreed that time would be made for him to remain engaged in other opportunities around the world through his company Jonathan Church Productions. But ultimately, both parties have decided that this arrangement won’t be in the best interests for either in the long term”, Narev said.

Church replaced Andrew Upton as Artistic Director after he took over solo Artistic Directorship of the company from 2013-2015 (following a five year tenure as Co-Artistic Director with wife Cate Blanchett). It was the first time an international director had assumed the position at the Sydney Theatre Company.

Following Church’s departure, it is understood that the final programming decisions for 2017 will be managed and completed by the in-house artistic team at STC, launching as planned in September 2016.

Jonathan Church is the director of the current Australian production of Singin’ In the Rain, which recently opened in Melbourne and will tour the country this year. He wished the Sydney Theatre Company all the best for its future endeavours, despite taking his leave from the company.

“It has been a great experience working with this wonderful company and getting to know its network of extraordinary artists over the past nine months. I expect to maintain close contacts with Australian theatre makers over the coming years, although, regrettably, it has not proved viable for me to continue as STC’s Artistic Director while balancing my other interests as we had hoped. I wish the company and the whole team well for the future.”


The search for a new Artistic Director would commence after the 2017 season has launched.

Erin James

Erin James is's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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