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Neil Armfield (study)
, 2010

by Adam Cullen

spray paint on paper (sheet: 76.5 cm x 57.0 cm)

Neil Armfield AO (b. 1955), theatre, film and opera director, became co-artistic director of Sydney’s Nimrod Theatre Company in 1979. After a stint in Adelaide, where he directed the premiere of Patrick White’s Signal Driver – dedicated to Armfield – he returned to Sydney in 1985 to become one of the original shareholders in the Belvoir Street Theatre. As Artistic Director of Company B from 1994 to 2010, his diverse, vibrant productions included Cloudstreet, The Small Poppies, The Alchemist, Exit the King, Keating! The Musical, The Book of Everything and Diary of a Madman. In 2006 he directed the film Candy, starring Heath Ledger and Geoffrey Rush, the latter a regular collaborator with the director. His Broadway production of Exit the King, starring Rush and Susan Sarandon (in her first Broadway appearance since 1972), garnered excellent reviews in 2009. The director of productions for eight international opera companies, Armfield has also collaborated regularly with Opera Australia, most recently directing the company’s 2103 joint production, with Houston Grand Opera, of Wagner’s Ring Cycle.

Adam Cullen won the Archibald Prize for his portrait of actor David Wenham in 2000. This portrait is a study for another in the Gallery’s collection, depicting Armfield with his pet Labrador, Grace.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Commissioned 2010
Accession number: 2010.26.3