Cherry bows out

AS the curtain comes down on Moliére’s Tartuffe at the State Theatre, in November director Kate Cherry will take her final bow in the Perth theatre scene.

Joint CEO and artistic director at Black Swan State Theatre Company for nine years she’s going east to head up prestigious acting academy NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Arts), where she’ll be responsible for training a new generation of actors.

“When I finish directing I pack up my office and say my goodbyes—not without regrets,” she tells the Voice.

Cherry has been behind a swag of successful shows during her stint at BSSTC, including last year’s A Street Car Named Desire and Angels in America.

As the Voice took a tour backstage the cast and crew of her current—and last—production Tartuffe, filed through, the hugs and smiles belying rumours she’s difficult to work with.

Photo Frances Andrijich

Photo Frances Andrijich

“I’m complex and non-compromising, maybe that means some people find that difficult,” she says.

“But I’m many things, sensitive, tough and patient.”

Cherry considers the highlights of her time with Black Swan working with board chair Sam Walsh, former head of Rio Tinto.

The hard-nosed businessman and the artistic director formed a strong bond that saw Black Swan grow: “Sam said I have my head in the clouds and my feet on the ground.”

Together they brought Rio Tinto on board as major sponsors.

And when the new State Theatre was completed they ensured finances didn’t suffer, as happens to many theatre companies.

“[They usually] go into deficit because it’s so expensive to set up.

“It was a huge accomplishment that we could move in and maintain a surplus,” Cherry says.

She’ll continue to direct at NIDA, with Madame Butterfly her first show in Sydney.

Clare Watson will take up the role of artistic director at BSSTC.

by JENNY D’ANGER

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