Clare Watson announced as Black Swan’s new Artistic Director

After 9 wonderful years, Kate Cherry is stepping down from the top job at Black Swan State Theatre Company at the end of 2016, and the Perth based company have now confirmed Clare Watson as Kate’s successor. Clare will officially take over the reins from Kate Cherry on 1 January 2017 – the commencement of the company’s 25th year – and will work alongside Executive Director Natalie Jenkins, as Co-CEO.

Clare Watson. Photo by Pia Johnson
Clare Watson. Photo by Pia Johnson

After spending her early years in Perth, Clare comes to Black Swan from Melbourne, where she is currently Artistic Director of St Martins Youth Arts Centre, as well as freelance directing for companies such as Melbourne Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre, State Theatre Company of South Australia and Belvoir St Theatre. Her latest MTC production of Lungs has received rave reviews from Melbourne audiences, as has her production of The Events, which was staged during the Sydney Festival and Adelaide Festival. Clare has also been a Resident Director at Malthouse Theatre during Marion Potts’ tenure and part of the MTC inaugural Women Director’s Program.

“After many years of growth and change, led expertly by Kate Cherry, Clare’s appointment will herald in a new era for the company”, said Black Swan’s Chair, Mark Barnaba AM.

“Clare has an impressive directing track record and has worked with many of Australia’s major companies and festivals. Her leadership ability is clearly evident with the work she has been undertaking transforming St Martins Youth Arts Centre into a highly collaborative company that is now presenting work in major festivals and with major Australian theatre companies. She is highly respected as one of the next generation of Australian artistic leaders and is highly sought after as a freelance director by our colleague state theatre companies.”

Clare’s work has been presented at numerous major Australian Festivals and she has received a number of awards and nominations including Best Director at The Helpmann Awards, Greenroom Awards and the inaugural Best Director award at the Melbourne Fringe. In 2008, she received a scholarship for a three month residency in Brussels. Clare has a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education from The University of Melbourne, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Theatre Directing from the Victorian College of the Arts.

Of her appointment, Watson said “I am honoured and excited to be returning to Perth in the role of Artistic Director at Black Swan State Theatre Company. I’m excited about working with Natalie Jenkins and the company to continue to present world class theatre experiences for audiences and build on Black Swan’s distinct voice in the national cultural conversation.”

Clare will shortly commence working with Black Swan as Artistic Director Designate in a part-time capacity, focusing on programming the 2017 season, together with Kate Cherry. She will re-locate permanently from Melbourne in October of this year, after completion of some major projects in Victoria which are already underway.

Black Swan’s legacy of delivering original and innovative Western Australian theatre and providing employment opportunities for the WA theatre sector is in good hands. Welcome, Clare Watson!

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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