Kip Williams (Photo courtesy of Sydney Theatre Company) and Sarah Snook in The Picture of Dorian Gray (Photo Marc Brenner)

The Picture of Dorian Gray director Kip Williams to leave Sydney Theatre Company for potential Broadway season

Director and writer Kip Williams is leaving Sydney Theatre Company as Artistic Director after 13 years.

Williams will showcase his eighth and final program in Sydney in September, and step down at the end of the year.

Kip Williams has recently scored a huge success with the London transfer of his Sydney Theatre Company stage adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray starring Succession’s Sarah Snook.

The Picture of Dorian Gray is currently playing at the Theatre Royal Haymarket until 11 May 2024.

The London production scored a slew of five-star reviews from the critics, and Snook has been nominated in the Best Actress category at this year’s Olivier Awards, taking place at the Royal Albert Hall this Sunday, 14 April 2024.

The Picture of Dorian Gray with Sarah Snook is widely tipped to be transferring to Broadway, something that Sydney Theatre Company confirms in their statement about Williams: “Following the phenomenal success of The Picture of Dorian Gray in London’s West End, Kip has decided to hand over the reins for a new Artistic Director to take on programming for 2026 while he makes space in his schedule for a potential Broadway season in 2025.”

Kip Williams said in a statement that “I am also delighted that the future touring plans for a number of productions I’ve adapted and directed will keep me close to the Company in the coming years.” See the full statement, below.

Williams’ next projects in Sydney include a new adaptation of Dracula, the final instalment of his Gothic cine-theatre trilogy that includes The Picture of Dorian Gray and the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Kip Williams joined Sydney Theatre Company in 2011 as an Assistant Director on Andrew Upton’s The White Guard and Benedict Andrews’ Gross Und Klein. In 2012, he was appointed Associate Director by then Artistic Directors Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton. He became Resident Director in 2013 and in 2016, aged 30, became Sydney Theatre Company’s youngest ever Artistic Director and Co-CEO.  

Williams has directed 24 productions for Sydney Theatre Company, including Kate Mulvany’s 7-hour epic, The Harp in the South Part One and Part Two, The Resistible Rise of Arturo UiChimerica and Suddenly Last Summer for which he won a Helpmann Award for Best Director. 

The Picture of Dorian Gray is playing in London until 11 May 2024.

Book tickets to The Picture of Dorian Gray at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London

What They Said

Kip Williams, Artistic Director, Sydney Theatre Company:

“Serving as Artistic Director at Sydney Theatre Company has been the honour of a lifetime. Over the past eight years, I have had the opportunity to work with the most extraordinary theatre makers in the country and have been fortunate enough to program and help bring to life 89 productions for STC. When I started as Artistic Director, one of my goals was to increase the space and opportunity for Australian stories on our stages. I couldn’t be prouder that two-thirds of the shows I have programmed during my tenure have been original works and adaptations by Australian writers.

“In the time I have spent in the Company, I have consistently been in awe of the immense talent that exists in every corner of The Wharf. I am forever indebted to the incredible staff and teams at STC with whom I love working and from whom I have learned so much. I am excited for the Company’s next chapter as it embarks on the search for a new Artistic Director and look forward to the next nine months working alongside Executive Director Anne Dunn and the entire team as we finalise plans for the 2025 Season and launch our remaining brilliant shows of the year.

I am also delighted that the future touring plans for a number of productions I’ve adapted and directed will keep me close to the Company in the coming years. I look forward to returning as an artist to the Company I love so much in the years ahead and thank everyone in the STC family for your support and passion for the theatre we make together.”

Ann Johnson, Sydney Theatre Company Chair: 

“Sydney Theatre Company’s artistic output under Kip’s leadership has resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed and creatively vibrant periods of the Company’s history. 

“Kip is an exceptional artist in his own right, and it has been a great pleasure to see his work develop and flourish during his time at STC, particularly the ground he has broken in using new technology in theatre. Kip has put great focus on Australian writing, championing new voices, and has realised the goal of gender parity for women writers and directors in every season. He has mentored and nurtured the careers of some of our most exciting writers, directors, designers, performers and technicians and the Australian theatre industry is a richer and more diverse place for the role that Kip has played in it. 

“We thank Kip for his extraordinary leadership and his continuing love for the STC. We are grateful to have him with us until the end of the year while we commence the search for our next Artistic Director and are delighted Kip will remain close to the Company in the years ahead.”

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📷 Main photo: Kip Williams (Photo courtesy of Sydney Theatre Company) and Sarah Snook in The Picture of Dorian Gray (Photo Marc Brenner)

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