Benedict Andrews

Benedict Andrews is an Australian theatre and film director, based in Reykjavík.[1][2] Born in Adelaide in 1972, he was educated at Flinders University Drama Centre.[3] His first feature film Una (an adaption of Blackbird by David Harrower) was released in 2016.

Benedict Andrews
  • Theatre director
  • Film director
Years active1995–present


Andrews has directed for theatres in both Australia and Europe. He is known for his versions of works by Shakespeare,[4] Anton Chekhov,[5] Jean Genet,[6] and Tennessee Williams,[7] as well as his stagings of contemporary writers such as David Harrower, Martin Crimp,[8] Marius von Mayenburg,[9] Caryl Churchill[10] and Sarah Kane.[11]

Andrews' direction of Shakespeare has gained more critical acclaim and focus than any other Australian director of the early 21st century.[12] His marathon Shakespeare cycle, The War of the Roses (Sydney Theatre Company, 2009) which was a part of the 2009 Sydney and Perth festivals,[4] received six Helpmann Awards [13] in 2012 including Best Play and Best Direction of a Play, as well as five Sydney Theatre Awards for Best Direction and Best Mainstage Production. The two-night eight-hour production of The War of the Roses incorporates all eight War of the Roses Shakespearean plays in name but largely cut out the Henrys, making it in large part a combination of both Richard II and Richard III.[14][15] The first night consisted of Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V.[15] The second consisted of Henry VI and Richard III.[15] The production was also memorable for having his two female leads, Cate Blanchett and Pamela Rabe, play Richard II and Richard III, respectively, while still dressing in modern gender-neutral clothing.[15]

Andrews has been a regular guest at London's Young Vic, Sydney Theatre Company (STC) and Belvoir St Theatre in Sydney, the Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz in Berlin, and the National Theatre of Iceland in Reykjavik. Key productions include his production of Chekhov's Three Sisters which won the Critics Theatre Award in 2012 for Best Director,[16] Groß und Klein[17] (STC, 2011) for which Andrews received the 2011 Helpmann Best Director award for the third time and which toured to Théâtre de la Ville (Paris), The Barbican (London), the Wiener Festwochen (Vienna) and the Ruhrfestspiele (Recklinghausen).

His production of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire[7] (with Gillian Anderson and Ben Foster[18]) at London's Young Vic will open at St. Ann's Warehouse, New York City, in April 2016. His STC production of Jean Genet's The Maids (with Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth Debicki and Isabelle Huppert) was played as part of the 2014 Lincoln Center Festival in New York City.[19]


Andrews also works extensively in opera. In autumn 2015, he directed La bohème in London, a Dutch National Opera co-production with English National Opera (ENO). His prior ENO production, Detlev Glanert's Caligula (2012)[20] was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Opera Production and toured in 2014 to the Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires. Other recent opera productions includes Verdi's Macbeth at Royal Danish Opera; The Marriage of Figaro at Sydney Opera House; The Fiery Angel at Komische Oper Berlin.



As a writer, Andrews' theatrical adaptations include: The Maids (with Andrew Upton), Three Sisters,[21] The Seagull, The War Of The Roses (with Tom Wright) and Life Is a Dream (with Beatrix Christian).

Andrews' first original play Every Breath was produced at Belvoir St Theatre in 2012 and subsequently translated into Portuguese by Jorge Silva Melo and produced by Artistas Unidos in Lisbon 2013, directed by John Romão.[22] The Portuguese production was nominated for Time Out Lisbon's Best Play award. The premiere of his 2016 play Gloria was shown by the Griffin Theatre Company in Sydney, directed by Lee Lewis with Marta Dusseldorp in the title role who played Queen Margaret in Andrews' The War of the Roses in 2009.[2]


Andrews' first volume of poetry, Lens Flare, was published in 2014 by Pitt Poetry.[23]


In November 2014, it was announced Andrews would make his directorial debut on Una starring Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn, an adaption of the Broadway play Blackbird by David Harrower.[24] The film had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on September 2, 2016.[25] It also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival,[26] and the BFI London Film Festival.[27]

In March 2018, it was announced that Andrews will direct Seberg, a political thriller that tells the true story of the attempts made by the FBI to discredit actress Jean Seberg through its COINTELPRO program in response to her support of the Black Panther Party. Actress Kristen Stewart was cast to play Seberg in the film.[28]

Notable productions


  1. Profile in Real Time magazine
  2. Dow, Steve (31 August 2015). "Benedict Andrews returns to Australia with new play Gloria". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  3. Júlia Marí Bernaus (2013). "About Benedict Andrews". Benedict Andrews. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  4. The Spectator 21 January 2009
  5. The Guardian, September 2012
  6. "The Maids Is a Pile of Fake Flowers" by Hilton Als, The New Yorker, 13 August 2014
  7. The Telegraph, Charles Spencer, July 2014
  8. Sydney Theatre Magazine, September 2012
  9. The Telegraph (Jane Shilling) October 2012
  10. Sydney Theatre Magazine, June 2015 (Archive 2004)
  11. Billington, Michael, The Guardian March 2005
  12. Fotheringham, Richard; Smith, James (2013). Catching Australian Theatre in the 2000s. Rodopi. p. 184. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  13. Helpmann Awards 2012
  14. Fotheringham, Richard; Smith, James (2013). Catching Australian Theatre in the 2000s. Rodopi. p. 178. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  15. Holland, Peter, ed. (2010). Shakespeare Survey: Volume 63, Shakespeare's English Histories and Their Afterlives. Cambridge University Press. p. 181.
  16. Critics Theatre Awards 2012
  17. Ferguson, Euan; The Guardian, April 2012
  18. Clapp, Susannah (3 August 2014). "A Streetcar Named Desire review – Gillian Anderson is utterly compelling". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  19. Variety, 9 August 2014
  20. Opera Today, 4 June 2012
  21. Three Sisters, ISBN 9781849435031]
  22. Australian Plays ISBN 9780868199290
  23. Andrews, Benedict. Lens Flare. Pitt Street Poetry. ISBN 9781922080349.
  24. Fleming Jr, Mike (5 November 2014). "Rooney Mara, Ben Mendelsohn Star In 'Blackbird'; First Film For Theater Helmer Benedict Andrews". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 20 September 2016.
  25. Hammond, Pete (1 September 2016). "Telluride Film Festival Lineup: 'Sully', 'La La Land', 'Arrival', 'Bleed For This' & More". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 20 September 2016.
  26. "Una". Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved 20 September 2016.
  27. "Una". BFI London Film Festival. Retrieved 20 September 2016.
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