Mark Kilmurry, Artistic Director, Ensemble Theatre today announced that the 2022 Ensemble Theatre Sandra Bates Director’s Award (SBDA) has been awarded to Danielle Maas and Sophie Kelly. Both will work on two plays throughout this year and each will receive $8,000.
Mark Kilmurry initiated the Award as a legacy to former Artistic Director Sandra Bates after she retired from her 30 years at the helm of Ensemble Theatre. This year there were 23 entries from across Australia.
Each year the recipients of the SBDA are offered a paid position of Assistant Director on two of Ensemble Theatre’s main stage productions and assist in the ongoing creative development of new works.
‘Danielle and Sophie both demonstrated a deep commitment to their directorial careers so far, and a strong desire to continue improving their craft. Their passion, curiosity and enthusiasm is very evident and we look forward to building a relationship with them both this year’ said Mark Kilmurry, Artistic Director, Ensemble Theatre.
‘I am also thrilled we can continue this award with the gracious support of Jinny and Ross Gavin supporting emerging directors in their craft’ added Mark Kilmurry.
‘Sandra Bates has had the kind of career of which most directors can only dream: directing over a hundred productions during the 30 years she was Artistic Director. To have this opportunity to take part in Ensemble Theatre’s activities in her name is incredibly humbling, and I’m looking forward to further developing my own practice and sense of artistic and cultural leadership with Ensemble Theatre’ said Danielle Maas.
‘I am thrilled to be a recipient of the Sandra Bates Directors Award for 2022. This award provides a unique opportunity to strengthen my practice as a director through observation of, and immersion in, Ensemble’s distinctive theatrical practice. I’m excited to play a part in Ensemble’s exceptional legacy as a leading cultural institution and the longest continuously running professional theatre in Australia’, said Sophie
ABOUT DANIELLE MAAS
Danielle is an Artistic Associate of Sydney Chamber Opera, and has an M.A. Advanced Theatre Practice (Distinction) from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama; a Bachelor of Performance from the Australian Academy of Dramatic Art, and a Diploma of Theatre Performance from Sydney Theatre School. She has directed more than 10 productions, written 2 full-length plays, and also works as a dramaturg across theatre, opera, musical theatre and experimental performance. She is currently a lecturer & tutor at the National Institute of Dramatic Art, and was recently the Associate Director of the award-winning 2019 production and 2021 revival of American Psycho.
ABOUT SOPHIE KELLY
Sophie has a Bachelor of Laws, University of Sydney and a Bachelor of Dramatic Arts (Acting), VCA. She has undertaken further training with MTC, Bell Shakespeare among others. In 2022, Sophie is directing Just Macbeth – a co-production between Bell Shakespeare and NSW Arts Unit. Recently she has also directed Just Romeo and Juliet for the 2019-21 Bell Shakespeare Players National Tour and Intersection: Arrival at Griffin Theatre. As an actor, Sophie has performed for Griffin Theatre Company, Darlinghurst Theatre Company; Complete Works Theatre Company, and was part of the cast for Elbow Room’s After All This which won the 2011 Green Room Award for Best Independent Production and Best Performance at the 2011 Melbourne Fringe. Sophie also wrote, produced and performed the highly acclaimed one woman show, Miriam and the Monkfish, which toured to multiple states. Sophie is the recipient of several awards including the 2014 Playwriting Australia Dramaturgy Internship and the 2002 Pratt Foundation Excellence Award. She is currently an Artist in Resident for the Sydney Opera House Creative Leadership in Learning Program.
The SBDA is now in its seventh year and is kindly supported by Jinnie and Ross Gavin.
PREVIOUS WINNERS OF THE SANDRA BATES DIRECTOR’S AWARD:
2021: URSULA YOVICH
2020: RACHEL CHANT AND WARWICK DODDRELL
2019: ERIN TAYLOR AND ADAM DEUSIEN
2018: LIZ ARDAY AND FELICITY NICOL
2017: SHAUN RENNIE AND FRANCESCA SAVIGE
2016: PRISCILLA JACKMAN AND JANINE WATSON