Shari Sebbens has been named Sydney Theatre Company’s new Richard Wherrett Fellow, a prestigious career pathway opportunity for emerging and developing directors. She succeeds Jessica Arthur, who is now STC’s Resident Director. Previous Richard Wherrett Fellows include Imara Savage, Sarah Giles, Lee Lewis, Wayne Blair and Joseph Couch.

Shari Sebbens. Photo © James Green

“It is an incredible honour to be a part of a company that is shifting and stretching and not shying away from the necessary conversations and actions required for cultural growth and I’m thrilled to be a part of that,” said Sebbens.

“Many of the people I look up to in this industry are Richard Wherrett fellows and I imagine much of what I love about their work and artistry was nurtured and able to grow in their time here at Sydney Theatre Company which inspires me as I head into an exciting year of development and discovery.”

“I’ve worked with the Sydney Theatre Company as an actor for a few years now and as an Aboriginal artist I’ve been thrilled by the choices they’ve made in producing Indigenous work. Their investment in my development as a director is also an investment in the future of Indigenous storytelling on our stages. It’s nice to be a part of a company that understands you cannot talk about Australia’s cultural identity without Indigenous people at the table.”

“I am thrilled to have Shari Sebbens join Sydney Theatre Company’s artistic team as the next Richard Wherrett Fellow,” said STC’s Artistic Director Kip Williams. “I am looking forward to working closely with Shari as she develops further as a director over the following 12 months. We are all excited to have her incredible mind contributing to the artistic life of the company.”

Sebbens joins a distinguished team of resident artists, which includes Associate Director Paige Rattray, Resident Director Jessica Arthur, Resident Designer Elizabeth Gadsby and Patrick White Fellow Sue Smith. Established during Andrew Upton’s tenure as Artistic Director, the STC’s resident artists program provides professional development opportunities, access to key personnel and resources, and support to pursue interests and projects outside of the Company. Resident artists also work closely with AD Kip Williams and play a central role in the company’s daily life.

Sebbens is a Bardi, Jabirr-Jabirr woman from Darwin who has trained at WAAPA and NIDA. She is best known to audiences in her capacity as an actor, having starred in 2012 smash-hit film The Sapphires and ABC’s Redfern Now. For STC, Sebbens has appeared in The Battle of Waterloo, Black is the New White, The Bleeding Tree and A Cheery Soul. She currently stars in ABC’s new series The Heights and will appear in a new movie co-written by Miranda Tapsell called Top End Wedding, which receives its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this year. Sebbens is a passionate advocate for Indigenous theatre, with a particular emphasis on new and contemporary works.