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Neil Armfield to quit Company B

Director brought success to Sydney troupe

SYDNEY — Theater director Neil Armfield is preparing to ankle the helm of Sydney’s Company B troupe housed at Belvoir St. Theater, where the Broadway production of “Exit the King” at Barrymore Theater was hatched and where he has been artistic director since 1994.

Armfield told the company’s annual general meeting at the weekend he would program the 2010 season, due to be announced in the final quarter of this year but would increasingly pursue freelance opportunities thereafter.

Helmer intends to build on film directing experience gained through helming television episodes and the 2006 junkie drama “Candy” with Heath Ledger, Abbie Cornish and Geoffrey Rush.

Opera Australia’s “Peter Grimes” will be directed by Armfield in October, the latest of his increasingly busy opera directing schedule.

Armfield leaves the not-for-profit outfit in strong financial shape as a result of its hit production of Casey Bennetto “Keating!,” which Armfield revamped and Company B toured for three years off the back of a stellar debut season at the 2005 Melbourne Comedy Festival.

In 2006, the much maligned Belvoir St. Theater was rebuilt to the immense satisfaction of staff and talent.

Company B associate director Wesley Enoch and David Berthold, who until recently ran Griffin Theater Company to creative and financial success, will front a strong field of contenders for Armfield’s job.