John Bell AM OBE

Adjunct Professor
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The University of Sydney

John Bell was first appointed as an adjunct professor in the then Faculty of Education and Social Work in 2007. In this role, his activities included guest lectures to Master of Education students, work on a research project into arts education, literacy and Shakespeare pedagogy, participation in faculty symposia, graduation ceremony addresses, keynote speeches at conferences and participation as an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant partner in the project titled Accessing the cultural conversation: investigating participation and non-participation of young people as audiences of live theatrical performances in Australia.

John's association with the faculty was integral to the linking of drama and the English curriculum.

After graduating from the University of Sydney in 1962, John worked for the Old Tote Theatre Company; each of Australia’s state theatre companies; and was Associate Artist with the Royal Shakespeare Company in the UK. As co-founder of Sydney’s Nimrod Theatre Company, John presented many productions of landmark Australian plays including David Williamson’s Travelling North, The Club and The Removalists. He also initiated an Australian Shakespeare style with Nimrod productions such as Much Ado About Nothing and Macbeth.

In 1991, John founded the Bell Shakespeare Company where his productions have included Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew, Pericles, Julius Caesar and Wars of the Roses. John's personal repertoire of characters from Shakespeare has included Hamlet, Shylock, Henry V, Richard III, Macbeth, King Lear and Titus Andronicus. He has also directed a production of Madame Butterfly for Oz Opera, which toured nationally.

JC Williamson Award 2009 for extraordinary contribution to Australia’s live entertainment industry
Lifetime Achievement Award, Producers and Directors Guild of Australia
Officer of the Order of Australia (AM)
Order of the British Empire (OBE)
Australia’s Living Treasure 1997, National Trust of Australia
Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Cultural Leadership Award 2003, Australian Business Arts Foundation
Helpmann Award, Best Actor 2002

  • Artistic Director, Bell Shakespeare