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About John Sheedy

A multi-award-winning Australian Director whose work has been staged extensively throughout Australia, John has directed productions for Belvoir Street, Bell Shakespeare, Parramatta Riverside, Black Swan State Theatre Company, Ensemble Theatre, Sydney Opera House, Sydney Theatre Company, Griffin and Opera Australia. John’s work has been recognized with multiple Helpmann and Sydney Theatre Awards.

At NIDA John directed Reg Cribb’s The ReturnA Midsummer Night’s DreamWho’s Afraid of the Working ClassCloserAttempts on her Life, Hamlet and The Greek Trilogy. For Belvoir Street, John directed Sarah Kane’s play Blasted and Lawrence Mooney’s Sink or Swim. John was Assistant Director on The Lieutenant of Inishmore with Neil Armfield at Belvoir Street (2004) and with Julian Meyrick on Doubt at the STC (2006). John directed a critically acclaimed sold-out season of Mark Ravenhill’s play Some Explicit Polaroids at Darlinghurst Theatre and Patricia Cornelius’ highly successful play Love at Belvoir Street (2006). Some Explicit Polaroids and Love were both nominated for Best Independent Production at the 2006 Sydney Theatre Awards.

In 2008, 2009 and 2010 John directed the Actors at Work Program for the Bell Shakespeare Company touring extensively to schools across Australia. For Parramatta Riverside, John directed Suzie Miller’s All The Blood And All The Water and the highly acclaimed Far Away for Black Swan Theatre Company. In 2008 John spent three months in New York assisting Edward Albee on a workshop of his new play Me, Myself And I, before working with Cicely Berry at the National Theatre in London. For Griffin Theatre, John directed Tiger Country and in 2009 Neil LaBute’s The Distance From Here. John also collaborated with Ross Mueller on a new production entitled This Highway Home with a creative workshop held in 2010.

In his first season as the Artistic Director of Barking Gecko Theatre Company, John wrote for the stage and directed The Amber Amulet adapted from Craig Silvey’s children’s book, which premiered in 2011. In the same year, John directed a stage adaptation of Shaun Tan’s children’s book The Red Tree, which was adapted by John with designer Gypsy Taylor and premiered at Barking Gecko Theatre Company in 2011 and re-produced for the 2012 Perth International Arts Festival.

In 2012 he also directed Susie Miller’s Driving Into Walls for the 2012 Perth International Arts Festival. Under his direction, Barking Gecko Theatre Company has been nominated for eleven Helpmann Awards, including Best Children’s Presentation. Following the success of Driving Into Walls, the production toured to the Sydney Opera House and Parramatta Riverside Theatre in June 2013. In 2013, John has directed Hamlet as part of a multi-year partnership with the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts. In addition he adapted and directed Wolf Erlbruch’s children’s book Duck, Death And The Tulip as part of the 2013 Perth International Arts Festival and directed an adaptation by Tom Holloway of Colin Thiele’s Storm Boy, as a co-production with the Sydney Theatre Company for which he received the Performing Arts WA Award for Best Director (previously WA Equity Awards).

In 2015, John’s swan-song for Barking Gecko, in conjunction with Opera Australia, was The Rabbits adapted from the novel by John Marsden and Shaun Tan, premiering at the 2015 Perth International Arts Festival before transferring to the Melbourne Festival and subsequent seasons at the Sydney Festival and QPAC in 2016. The Rabbits was the winner of four 2015 Helpmann Awards – Best Presentation for Children, Best Original Score, Best Costume Design and Best New Australian Work.

For Opera Australia, John was the assistant director on the recent revival of For the Love of Three Oranges and for Don Quixote. In 2019 John directed the critically acclaimed new opera Whiteley, premiering at the Sydney Opera House.

John’s first short film Mrs McCutcheon had its Australian premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival in 2017, winning Best Australian Short Film. Mrs McCutcheon won Best Short Film at the Screen Producers Awards 2017, Best Short Film at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, Best Direction of a Short Film at the Australian Directors Guild Awards, and was also nominated for the AACTA Award for Best Short Film. To date Mrs McCutcheon has travelled to more than 130 festivals, winning 45 awards. John first feature film H is for Happiness for Cyan Films will have its world premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival 2019. The film is based on the celebrated children’s book by Barry Jonsberg My Life As An Alphabet.

John is a proud member of the LGBTQI+ community.



John Sheedy is a multi-award nominated Australian Director whose work has been staged extensively throughout Australia. In 1998, John completed his Bachelor of Dramatic Art at the National Drama School in Melbourne before completing his Masters of Dramatic Art (Directing) at National Institute of Dramatic Arts in 2002. In August 2010 John became the Artistic Director at Barking Gecko Theatre Company, delivering his last season for the company in 2015.

…the parade sequence will shake you, and it will stay with you for a long time. Images such as these are not common in the theatrical oeuvre, commonly left for film, and this sequence is both filmic and theatrical, absurd and horrifically familiar, and a credit to both Churchill and the vision of director, John Sheedy.
Australian Stage
Far Away Review
Bold and visually arresting… Sheedy isn’t afraid to take a risk.
The West Australian
The Red Tree Review
Barking Gecko has built a fine reputation – greatly enhanced under John Sheedy as its artistic director since 2010 – as it made the ambitious transition from a children’s theatre company to one for young people of all ages.
The West Australian
Jasper Jones Review
The triumph of John Sheedy’s adaptation of The Rabbits into an opera is that it retains both the simplicity of Marsden’s story and the character of Tan’s “parallel” world. A triumphant adaptation of a deeply tragic story. 5 stars.
The Guardian
The Rabbits Review