Transition of Artistic Leadership in a Theatre Company: A Case Study of Company B/Belvoir, Sydney, Australia

By Amy Morcom.

Published by The Organization Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In 2010, Company B underwent a transition from the artistic leadership of Neil Armfield (director) to Ralph Myers (designer). This paper is based on case study research that aimed to discover and document how the company managed such a change, and what it meant for the company, as it is a key player in the Australian theatre landscape.
Belvoir has a highly valued and unique company culture of equality, family, and ownership, and the leadership change held particular concrete and conceptual meanings for the company. The long tenure of the outgoing artistic director and the company’s rich identity meant the change was highly significant even before the successor was appointed. The transition was approached in a planned but intuitive way, in fitting with the company culture. Responses to the management were mixed, but the choice of new artistic director and the strength of Belvoir’s culture has meant a predominantly successful changeover has occurred.
When company culture is the core of day-to-day business, as it is for Belvoir, the authentic understanding and employment of it is vital for positively informing change management, and for defining the company’s future. The reality of the ingrained knowledge of company culture and its tangible manifestations is tested in times of great change, and the more thorough and active the understanding of the culture, the more likely suitable management goals, strategies and actions will be employed. This paper examines what role company culture plays in a significant change for a company that so highly values its culture.

Keywords: Change Management, Leadership Change, Organizational Change, Organizational Culture, Company Culture, Theater Company, Artistic Director, Australian Theater

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 11, Issue 6, pp.237-246. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 812.950KB).

Amy Morcom

Graduating BA Student, School of Communication and Creative Industries, Charles Sturt University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Amy graduated from the BA (Communication–Theatre/Media) (Honours Class 1) in 2011. She completed her dissertation case study on the Australian theatre company, Belvoir. She has worked for Belvoir as an Assistant Stage Manager on “That Face”, “Page 8”, and “The Wild Duck”, which has toured nationally and to Norway. She produced an independent production of “Woyzeck” (2010) and was assistant producer on “Hollywood Ending, Or, How A Washed Up Director Made a Crappy Movie That Almost Destroyed The World” (2011), both for Arts Radar. She has worked in various creative and stage/production/event management roles, and continues to have a passion for theatre and live events.


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