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Mitchell Butel


Mitchell Butel has been Artistic Director of State Theatre Company South Australia since March 2019.

Mitchell holds four Helpmann Awards, four Sydney Theatre Awards and two Victorian Green Room Awards for his work as a director, actor and writer in Australian theatre over three decades. He has also worked in New York, London, Hong Kong and New Zealand. He has worked extensively for Sydney Theatre Company, Melbourne Theatre Company, Queensland Theatre, State Theatre Company South Australia, Belvoir, Bell Shakespeare, Griffin, Malthouse, Opera Australia, Sydney Chamber Opera, Pinchgut Opera, The Production Company, David Atkins Enterprises, New Theatricals, Gordon Frost Organisation, The Hayes Theatre, New Victory Theatre, Southbank Centre, London and for the Sydney, Adelaide and Perth Festivals on over 150 professional productions incorporating classical repertoire, new Australian work, contemporary international writing, music theatre and opera. Mitchell also holds two AFI nominations for his work as an actor in Australian feature films.

During Mitchell’s tenure at State Theatre Company South Australia, the Company has increased subscriptions; received multiple Adelaide Ruby Awards; was the first Australian theatre company to return to the mainstage after the 2020 Covid lockdown and during that lockdown, the Company also broadcast one of the world’s largest digital theatre offerings with the acclaimed 9 hour series Decameron 2.0. In 2022, the Company’s co-production of Girl from the North Country became the highest selling show in its 50-year history.

Most recently, Mitchell directed Giovanni Busenello’s The Loves of Apollo and Dafne for Pinchgut Opera and the sold-out season of Dennis Kelly’s Girls & Boys for State Theatre Company South Australia during the Adelaide Festival (and its tour to Sydney Festival and Theatre Royal, Hobart). For the Company, Mitchell has also directed Edward Albee’s The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?, David Lindsay-Abaire’s Ripcord, Finegan Kruckemeyer’s Hibernation and co-directed Decameron 2.0. In 2023, he will direct Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill for the Company. Other directing credits include the Sydney and Melbourne seasons of the Hayes Theatre/Blue Saint production of Jeanine Tesori’s Violet which received three Sydney Theatre Awards including Best Director of a Musical and Best Production of an Independent Musical, Spring Awakening(Australian Theatre for Young People) which won the Sydney Theatre Award’s Best Production for Young People, Porgy and Bess, The Bernstein Songbook and Funny Girl (all for Sydney Symphony Orchestra),Candide (Sydney Opera House/Sydney Philharmonia), An Act of God(Darlinghurst Theatre Company, co-director), Marjorie Prime and Croon Tunes (Ensemble Theatre), Approximate Balance (Griffin Theatre Lysicrates Prize winner), Dead Cat Bounce (Griffin Theatre), Excellent Adventures (Chapel Off Chapel and Noosa Festivals), Killing Time (which he also wrote) (Adelaide, Brisbane and Summersalt Cabaret Festivals), Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori’s Caroline or Change (Hayes Theatre), The Blessing (Coriole Music Festival), the Adelaide Cabaret Festival Variety Galas 2021 and 2022 and Moments in the Woods: Songs and Stories of Stephen Sondheim, also in the 2022 Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

Mitchell wrote the book of the musical Starstruck (RGM Productions) has also written material for the Sydney Festival/Malthouse production of Meow Meow’s Little Match Girl, the Malthouse/Belvoir production of The Government Inspectorand Opera Australia’s The Mikado and was the co-writer and co-host of the 2019 Helpmann Awards broadcast on ABC TV.

His performing highlights in theatre, music theatre and opera include A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, The Merchant of Venice(as Shylock for which he won the Sydney Theatre Award for Best Actor), Mr Burns(Helpmann Award Best Supporting Actor), Dance Nation, Biographica, Disgraced, Arms and the Man, South Pacific, Angels in America, The Government Inspector, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Face to Face, Romeo and Juliet, Strange Interlude, Meow Meow’s Little Match Girl, Othello, Summer Rain, The Venetian Twins(Helpmann Award Best Actor in a Musical), The Mikado(Helpmann Award Best Actor),Assassins, Avenue Q(Helpmann Award Best Actor),Stones in his Pockets, Little Me, Mourning Becomes Electra, Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love, Little Shop of Horrors, Holy Day, The Laramie Project, A View from the Bridge, The Madwoman of Chaillot, Tartuffe, Tomfoolery, Urinetown, Dead Heart, A View from the Bridge, The Café Latte Kid, Summer of the AliensandSix Degrees of Separation. He most recently played Ned Weeks in the STCSA production of The Normal Heart.

His film and TV highlights include A Sunburnt Christmas, Stateless, Dance Academy, Holding the Man, Gettin’ Square(AFI nomination), The Bank, Strange Fits of Passion(AFI nomination), Dark City, Deep Water, Hiding, Janet King, The Broken Shore, Rake, Grass Roots, WildsideandBordertown.

Mitchell has been fortunate to either direct or act with artists such as Cate Blanchett, David Wenham, Richard Roxburgh, Toni Collette, Pamela Rabe, Geoffrey Rush, Madga Szubanksi, Heath Ledger, William Hurt, Robyn Nevin, Megan Washington, Kanen Breen, Stacey Alleaume, Rose Byrne, Colin Friels, Judy Davis, Kerry Fox, Anthony Warlow, Ursula Yovich, Miranda Otto, Garry McDonald, Marta Dusseldorp, Damon Herriman, Lisa McCune, Caroline O’Connor, Hugo Weaving, Kat Stewart, Shaun Micallef, Meow Meow, Tina Arena, Marcia Hines, Tim Minchin, Timothy Spall, Bernadette Peters, Anthony LaPaglia, Guy Pearce, Alan Cumming and Jacki Weaver.

Mitchell holds a Bachelor of Arts (Theatre Studies) from the University of New South Wales, has been a member of Actors Equity since 1988, was the Deputy President of Actors Equity and Vice President of the Media Entertainment Arts Alliance from 2009 to 2013 and was a member of the National Performers Committee from 2007 to 2018. He was a Board Member of Belvoir Theatre from 2012 to 2019 and is a current Trustee of the Adelaide Festival Centre Trust. Mitchell is also an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Institute of Music.

Performances with state opera south australia