David Berthold

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David Berthold is one of Australia's most prominent theatre directors and cultural leaders. He has directed for most of Australia's major theatre companies, as well as in London and Berlin, and has led several key arts organisations. He was Artistic Director of Brisbane Festival, one of Australia's major international arts festivals and Queensland’s largest arts and cultural event. Through his tenure of five festivals, 2015-19, [1] Berthold transformed the Festival into Australia's largest major international arts festival, presenting more works to more people than any other, with an audience of more than one million people. [2]

Since January 2020 he has been Director in Residence at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), Australia’s leading institute for education and training in the performing arts. He is a member of the NSW Government's Theatre and Musical Theatre Arts Advisory Board, on the Board of Australian Plays Transform (APT) – the national development, publication and licensing body for writing for the stage – a Trustee of the Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award, a member of Melbourne Theatre Company’s Advisers’ Group, a member of the Helpmann Awards Theatre Panel, and Chairs the Judging Panel of the Nick Enright Prize for Playwriting (New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards).

As an Artistic Director, he has led transformational change at several significant arts organisations. He was Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer of La Boite Theatre Company (2008–14), Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer of Griffin Theatre Company (Australia's leading new writing theatre company, 2003–06) and Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer of Australian Theatre for Young People (Australia's flagship theatre for young people, 1999–2003). He was also Associate Director of Sydney Theatre Company (Australia's largest theatre company, 1994–99).

In addition to these companies, he has also directed productions for Melbourne Theatre Company, Playbox Theatre, Black Swan, Belvoir, the Sydney Opera House, Queensland Theatre, NIDA, Queensland University of Technology, Opera Queensland, Auckland Theatre Company, the Royal National Theatre (London), Theater an der Parkaue (Berlin), and in London's West End.

He was the Festival Director of World Interplay 2007, the world's largest festival of young playwrights.[3][4] In 2013 and 2014, he curated a stream of independent theatre for the Brisbane Festival. Berthold has directed many premieres of plays by major Australian writers.

Arts Hub claimed that Berthold "turned Sydney's Griffin Theatre Company into one of the country's most visible arts companies."[5] In 2010, he won a Matilda Award for his "repositioning of La Boite Theatre Company and his direction of Hamlet".[6]

He has served on many government and industry panels and committees as an arts advocate and advisor, including for the Australia Council, Arts Queensland, the Australian Musical Foundation, NIDA, Opera Queensland, QUT Creative Industries Faculty Advisory Committee, and several other universities.

Early life and education[edit]

Berthold was born in Maitland, NSW. He studied at the University of Newcastle, where he took an honours degree in English literature. He spent some years training as an opera singer and won the Joan Sutherland Scholarship at the Sydney Opera House. He has since directed some opera.


Sydney Theatre Company[edit]

Productions for Sydney Theatre Company, Australia's largest theatre company playing at The Wharf and the Sydney Opera House:

Griffin Theatre Company[edit]

His productions for Griffin, Australia's leading new writing theatre, include world premieres of:

La Boite Theatre Company[edit]

Australian Theatre for Young People[edit]

For ATYP, Australia's national flagship youth theatre, his productions include:

Queensland Theatre Company[edit]

For QTC, he directed:



  1. ^ "David Berthold takes reins of Brisbane Festival". 16 February 2014.
  2. ^ "Brisbane Festival | 3-25 September 2021" (PDF).
  3. ^ Turner, Tonya (17 October 2008). "David Berthold follows his instincts to head La Boite". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 19 October 2008.
  4. ^ Sorensen, Rosemary (9 October 2008). "Berthold to Direct La Boite". The Australian. Archived from the original on 10 October 2008. Retrieved 19 October 2008.
  5. ^ "Artistic Director of Griffin resigns". Arts Hub: For Australian Arts Workers. 31 May 2006. Retrieved 19 October 2008.
  6. ^ Queensland Government Ministerial Media Statement: Matilda Awards for Brisbane’s top theatre: http://www.cabinet.qld.gov.au/mms/StatementDisplaySingle.aspx?id=73858

External links[edit]