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ATC Appoints Colin McColl as Artistic Director

Auckland; 3 June 2003

New Artistic Director Appointed for Auckland Theatre Company
ATC has appointed Colin McColl as Artistic Director of
Auckland’s flagship theatre company

Tim MacAvoy, Chairman of the Auckland Theatre Company (ATC), today announced the appointment of Colin McColl as the new Artistic Director of the Company.

Recognised as one of this country’s foremost theatre directors, Colin McColl replaces Simon Prast who left the company in February to become Artistic Director of the Auckland Festival.

A past recipient of three Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards for Best Director, McColl has more than 30 years experience as an actor, director and producer in theatre, opera, and television in New Zealand, Australia and Europe. He is a former artistic director of Wellington’s Downstage Theatre, and has been responsible for eight ATC productions, including Roger Hall’s Middle Age Spread which is currently playing to capacity audiences.

Tim MacAvoy said that McColl stood out amongst a group of extremely high calibre candidates for his breadth and depth of international experience, and ability to strengthen and extend the vision which Simon Prast established for the company in 1992.

“ATC’s vision is to bring the best of the world’s theatre to New Zealand, and the best of New Zealand’s theatre to the world.

“Colin’s artistic leadership, creative vision, maturity and reputation for innovative, world-class productions will drive us forward as one of New Zealand’s pre-eminent cultural assets,” he says.


Colin McColl says he is excited about continuing the legacy Simon Prast has created for Auckland theatre-goers, and he praised Oliver Driver who has directed the theatre company since Simon’s departure.

“I look forward to keeping Simon’s vision alive and growing, offering Auckland audiences quality productions of quality plays, and working with the young, committed team that has been established here,” McColl says.

Tim MacAvoy says that ATC staff are delighted with the appointment and that McColl’s strong leadership and experience will be well-received by the company.

In addition to its main bill theatre productions, ATC is committed to theatre and literary development for artists and playwrights, and arts education for tomorrow’s audiences.

Colin McColl is currently preparing for a Wellington stage production of Top Girls with Miranda Harcourt. He will join ATC in early July.


Media Enquiries:
Tanya Henderson
Tel: 0-9-309 1494

Background Material on Colin McColl

International Experience and Acclaim
Colin McColl brings a wealth of international experience to the Auckland Theatre Company. He has directed plays in New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain, Norway and Holland, and his productions of Ibsen have met critical acclaim around the world.

McColl was the first New Zealand director to be invited to bring a production to the official Edinburgh Festival. His Hedda Gabler played to great acclaim at Edinburgh, followed by performances at the Ibsen Festival in Oslo, the Covent Garden Festival and the Festival of Sydney. He has also directed Ibsen productions for the Dutch and Norwegian National Theatre Companies.

Longest-serving Director at Downstage
His eight year term as Artistic Director at Downstage Theatre (1984-92) was the longest in the theatre’s history, during which he helped re-establish the ensemble company and was responsible for many memorable productions.

Passion for Opera
In addition to live theatre, McColl has a passion for Opera. Credits include directing Wellington City Opera’s 1998 production of La Boheme, and the NBR New Zealand Opera’s 2002 production of The Marriage of Figaro.

“The direction of Colin McColl added greatly to the night’s sense of theatre. No stylised or stuffy scenes at all, with many humorous touches of 21st century gadgetry added without distracting from the overall concept of the original opera. His use of the well prepared, though light chorus as “extras” added greatly to the unfolding drama. All in all, a splendid night that received the lengthy applause it was due.” The Dominion Post, 8/7/02, Marriage of Figaro

Multi-Award-Winning Director
McColl has won three Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards for Best Director. These were in 1993 for Dolls House which also won Best Female Actor (Miranda Harcourt), Best Supporting Female Actor, (Ellie Smith) and Best Circa Production. In 2000 he won Best Director for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead; and in 2002 for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

In 2001 he was awarded Best Director/Best Production in the ATC Audience Awards for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

Eight Productions for ATC
Colin is certainly no stranger to ATC, in its early days he directed Daughters of Heaven which was praised by critics, and since then he has directed seven other productions, including his award-winning adaptation of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.

“In ATC’s 10th year, this Godot was a mature production, directed with flair and confidence by Colin McColl, who manipulated the strings of his performers – and his audience – with merciless glee.”
New Zealand Herald 16/12/02. Waiting for Godot

Accomplished in both Innovative and Popular Programming
He has worked with a wide range of New Zealand writers on new productions, including with Peter Wells on Ricordi! an operatic and expressionist dramatisation of Katherine Mansfield’s Wellington stories for the 1996 New Zealand International Festival of the Arts. He worked with Hone Kouka, for Te Ropu Whakaari seasons of bi-cultural theatre for Taki Rua, including, for example, Nga Tangata Toa, a version of Ibsen’s play The Vikings re-set in an East Coast village in 1919.

Whilst Colin is a director who is not afraid to take chances, he doesn’t limit himself to “difficult” works. He is equally at home directing an episode of Shortland Street as he is with a Samuel Beckett play. His interpretations of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Tennessee Williams Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Roger Hall’s Conjugal Rites have all been widely appreciated by audiences.

Film and Television Credits
He has also directed and acted in television, both here and overseas, including episodes of Shortland Street, Close to Home and The Sullivans. Film credits as an actor include An Angel at My Table, and Bread and Roses.

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