Kate Cherry is a passionate arts leader and accomplished theatre director, and joined NIDA as Director/CEO in December 2016. She previously served as the artistic director and co-CEO of the Black Swan State Theatre Company from 2008–2016.
Attributed with re-invigorating the company, the Black Swan has seen unprecedented growth and public support during Kate’s nine-year term – with subscriptions and single tickets sales doubling, sponsorship figures tripling and philanthropic contributions increasing fourfold – as well as the company’s successful transition to Western Australia’s first state theatre company.
Kate has been responsible for producing many of the company’s most popular works, breaking box office records with productions such as The Seagull, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Importance of Being Earnest, Arcadia, The White Divers of Broome, Boundary Street, and The Glass Menagerie, and spearheading collaborations with other leading theatre companies, including the Sydney, Queensland and Melbourne Theatre Companies.
Under her direction, the Black Swan has developed and maintained strong international ties with The National Theatre of China and Korea’s Daegu Music Festival, and has established a number of key artist development programs such as the Emerging Writers Group, the Resident Artist Program, Rio Tinto Black Swan Commissions, and The Bridging Company with West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).
Prior to taking the role at the Black Swan, Kate worked as a freelance director across theatre and opera, and directed works such as the highly acclaimed production of La Traviata for Opera Queensland, New Zealand Opera and State Opera Company of South Australia. From 1999–2005, Kate was associate director at Melbourne Theatre Company, where she directed many productions, including the multi-award-winning, world-premiere production of Life After George, and preceding this, she was Playbox (now Malthouse) Theatre’s artistic associate.
Coming from three generations of Australian theatre artisans and directors, Kate began her career as a freelance director in the United States (US) after completing her studies – Master of Fine Arts (Directing) from the University of California, and a Bachelor of Arts (English Literature) from Bard College, New York – and assisting for celebrated director and artistic director Oskar Eutis on the first production of Angels in America.
During her time in the US, Kate was an inaugural member of Lincoln Center Theatre’s Directors Lab, a New York Drama League Directing Fellow, and produced works for many American theatres, including the American Conservatory Theatre, New York’s Ensemble Theatre and California’s Shakespeare Festival.
With teaching experience in Australia and internationally, Kate has held the positions of visiting professor at Colorado College and the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), both based in the United States. She has taught at WAAPA, VCA and QUT, in addition to working with NIDA students as a guest director.
Kate has received a myriad of awards, nominations and accolades during her career, both in Australia and in the US. These include the likes of the Shakespeare Gielgud Award for Best Emerging Director; nominations for Helpmann and Green Room Awards for Best Direction for Life After George; a Helpmann Award nomination for Best Opera Direction for Coronation of Poppea; and a Helpmann Award nomination for Best Opera for La Traviata.