Kate has worked for twenty years for a wide range of arts, education and community organisations within theatre and festival direction, producing and education. She has held significant leadership roles and also has a broad range of practical skills across performance making, directing, programming/ commissioning/producing, arts management, operational and communications.
Kate Shearer is currently teaching in the Theatre Department of the University of New England and is Artistic Director of Seeing Place Productions, an interdisciplinary, site-specific performance company on the Gold Coast. Her audio-immersive works are created through research in a community, playwriting and then fusing voices of real people with fiction, that the audiences experience through headphones as they travel across sites. For the company, she wrote and directed Time Capsule, a physical theatre work staged in a series of empty shops (funded Arts Qld, RADF) in 2015. In 2016 she conceived, co-wrote and directed All Aboard! a children’s theatre work created on and off the G:Link Light Rail (2016 Bleach* Festival commission) and in 2017 she wrote and directed the large-scale multi-media work, Plunge at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre (funded Arts Qld, RADF). In 2017, she also directed Swallow by Stef Smith at Metro Arts, Brisbane. Both Plunge and Swallow were nominated for 2017 Matilda Awards with Swallow winning two awards for acting.
From 2010-2012, she was Artistic Director/CEO of the Big West Festival (a multicultural, multi-artform festival in Melbourne’s inner west). The 2011 Festival comprised 67 projects, 815 artists, 2000+community participants across 26 locations over 12 days. Artistic Direction included: the commissioning and development of 30+ new works across artforms, including large-scale community cultural development projects, intercultural music and dance projects, site-specific interdisciplinary works, school residency projects, a season of new contemporary theatre (with festival commission Taxi winning 2 Green Room Awards), 17 visual arts exhibitions and 5 literary events.
From 2006-2010, Kate was Artistic Director of Jigsaw Theatre Company, a professional touring theatre company for young audiences. At Jigsaw, she directed 11 productions (commissioned and created 7 new theatre works, wrote 3 scripts and directed 3 other existing works). These productions were characterised by cross-artform collaborations, including large-scale multi-media works, strong physical performance and undertook 13 tours across Australia including to: the Come Out Festival, Castlemaine State Festival, the Adelaide Festival Centre, the Victorian Arts Centre, Kings Street Arts Centre Perth, the Canberra Theatre Centre and into schools in regional and remote NSW, VIC and the ACT, winning two Canberra Critic’s Circle Awards for Theatre and a nomination for a 2008 Australian Writers Guild (AWGIE) Award. Other companies Kate has worked for are: Union House Theatre (University of Melbourne), Almeida Theatre (UK), Jersey Arts Centre (UK), Castle Theatre (UK), On Giants’ Shoulders Theatre, Queensland Theatre, La Boite Theatre, PlayLab and World Interplay (International Young Playwright’s Festival).
When she is not directing, Kate has provided arts management consultation services to the arts and community sectors in Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast and mentors emerging practitioners. Kate also has extensive educational experience teaching Acting Technique, Voice, Improvisation, Directing and other Performance subjects in schools, youth theatres, higher education and facilitating professional development workshops with educators, in business and government sectors.