John Bell is one of the nation’s most illustrious theatre personalities. Award-winning actor, acclaimed director, risk-taking impressario and torch-bearing educationalist, Bell has been a key figure in shaping the nation’s theatrical identity as we know it over the past 50 years.
As co-founder of Nimrod Theatre Company, Bell presented many productions of landmark Australian plays, and in 1990, Bell took on an even greater challenge, founding The Bell Shakespeare Company.
Bell’s unique contribution to national culture has been recognised by many bodies. He is an Officer of the Order of Australia and the Order of the British Empire; has an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the Universities of Sydney, New South Wales and Newcastle; and was recognised in 1997 by the National Trust of Australia as one of Australia’s Living Treasures.
As an actor and director, his many awards include a Helpmann Award for Best Actor (Richard 3, 2002), a Producers and Directors Guild Award for Lifetime Achievement and the JC Williamson Award (2009) for extraordinary contribution to Australia’s live entertainment industry.
'To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.' Hamlet