Anne-Louise Sarks has been named as Melbourne Theatre Company’s next Artistic Director. The director, whose production of ABC journalist Sally Sara’s new play Stop Girl has just finished its run at Belvoir, will become the company’s seventh Artistic Director, taking over from Brett Sheehy later this year.

Anne-Louise SarksAnne-Louise Sarks has been announced as Melbourne Theatre Company’s new Artistic Director. Photo supplied

“After an extensive search, I am delighted to announce Anne-Louise Sarks as MTC’s next Artistic Director,” said Chair of MTC, Jane Hansen AO. “Anne-Louise is an outstanding talent and I am very excited about her vision and the Company’s next artistic evolution. Her wealth of experience both nationally and internationally will bring a fresh creative energy to MTC, signalling a vibrant future for the Company and Australian theatre.”

Sarks has been Artistic Director of the Lyric Ensemble at the Lyric Hammersmith in London and of Melbourne independent theatre company The Hayloft Project. She has been Resident Director and an Associate Artist at Belvoir, Director in Residence at Malthouse Theatre, and in 2010 she was Emerging Resident Director at the MTC.

Her adaptation of Euripides’ Medea with Kate Mulvany, first staged at Belvoir, has been performed internationally, most recently at Theater Basel in Switzerland with Sarks directing, while other recent credits include Julia Leigh’s Avalanche at London’s Barbican Theatre and Sydney Theatre Company in 2019 and Thornton Wilder’s Our Town for Theater Basel, which was cancelled by COVID-19 in 2020 five days before opening.

“I’m honoured to be leading this important institution – and to be serving the artists and audiences of Victoria,” Sarks said. “I had my first major opportunities at Melbourne Theatre Company, and I want to make sure that artists across Victoria feel as welcome as I did. I’m so excited to be returning to Melbourne to take up this role.”

“My belief is that theatre should always be offering something new,” she said. “It should give you a fresh way of looking at the world; or expose you to a new idea; or put a surprising perspective at the centre of a story you thought you knew. I’m excited about bringing new voices and perspectives into the Company, and then taking that work to the world.”

Sarks will take up the role in October after Sheehy launches his final season, for 2022.

“I very much look forward to welcoming Anne-Louise to the Company and working closely with her to realise her vision,” said MTC Executive Director & Co-CEO Virginia Lovett. “The Company has flourished during Brett’s tenure and as he hands over the baton we are poised to emerge from COVID with great energy and a new direction to ensure MTC remains one of the state’s much-loved cultural institutions.”

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