February 20, 2015
ANDREW Upton would love to write a play for his wife, Cate Blanchett, after he steps down as artistic director of Sydney Theatre Company.
Upton’s eight-year term at STC — for five years he shared the head creative role with Blanchett — will end this year after he declined the board’s offer for an extended stay. The writer and director said he was looking forward to spending more time with his family, and to some new projects.
He has written adaptations of Hedda Gabler, Uncle Vanya and this year’s The Present for STC, with Blanchett in the cast, but he has not written an original play for his double-Oscar award-winning wife. “I have not written specifically for her,” Upton said yesterday. “It’s a massive ambition.”
STC has engaged arts identity Richard Evans to begin the search for a successor. Upton would not be drawn on possible candidates, but hoped STC resident directors Kip Williams and Sarah Goodes would put themselves forward. “I think there is a lot of people in the offing, I’m sure there’s plenty,” he said.
Upton said he had learned about Sydneysiders’ theatrical taste during his term, saying STC audiences preferred scripted drama to the wilder experiments of play-making.
A highlight of his tenure was 2013’s Waiting for Godot, in which he directed Hugo Weaving and Richard Roxburgh. The production travels to London this year.
STC chairman David Gonski said subscription renewals in Upton’s 2015 season were 21 per cent higher than the eight-year average: “Andrew’s are big shoes to fill and finding his successor is a key priority for the board.”