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Australian newspaper backtracks on Cate Blanchett report

January 24, 2012 | 11:15 am


A major Australian newspaper is backtracking on a story it recently ran about the announced departure of actress Cate Blanchett and her husband, Andrew Upton, as co-artistic directors of the Sydney Theatre Company.

Blanchett and Upton are scheduled to step down from the joint post at the end of the 2013 season. The Sydney Morning Herald ran a story that suggested that the theater company's board of directors was less than satisfied with the couple's tenure.

On Tuesday, the newspaper issued a correction to the article, saying that the story "incorrectly implied the company alone decided the couple's contract should not be extended beyond 2013."

Despite the correction, the Herald story continues to state that members of the theater company's board may have been concerned about Blanchett's overseas filming commitments and Upton's "erratic" personality.

In an email sent to The Times on Monday, an American representative for Blanchett described the Herald's original report as "grossly erroneous" and denied the newspaper's implication that the couple was terminated from their joint position.

Blanchett was not available for comment, according to the representative.

The Herald's story has caused a bit of a stir in the Australian theater world. The Sydney Theatre Company issued a statement late last week that refuted the newspaper's account. "The reality is that the board asked Cate and Andrew to stay on after their current term ends in 2013," said David Gonski, the company's board chairman, in the statement.

"As they announced at the launch of the 2012 season, it was always their intention to only stay for two terms. We asked Cate and Andrew to stay on but we respect their decisions to leave in two years time to pursue other professional interests."

Blanchett and Upton took up the joint position in 2008. Under their leadership, the company has seen a marked improvement in its finances. The company's productions of "Hedda Gabler," "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "Uncle Vanya" -- all starring the Oscar-winning Blanchett -- have traveled internationally.


Cate Blanchett returns to the stage in 'Uncle Vanya'

Theater review: 'A Streetcar Named Desire' at BAM Harvey Theater

-- David Ng

Photo: Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving in a 2006 production of "Hedda Gabler" by the Sydney Theatre Company. Credit: Ari Mintz / Newsday