Artistic Director Sally Sussman

Sally is a director with over 25 years of experience, who began her directing career in China, She trained as an actor at Drama Studio, Sydney.  An Honours Graduate in Chinese (Sydney University), she was awarded a scholarship to study in China from 1984-1986. She trained in Chinese Opera performance and percussion at the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing and the Shanghai Conservatorium of Music and directed her first pieces in China in Mandarin. Her pioneering work combining traditional Chinese and contemporary performance techniques and working with Chinese Opera performers resident in Sydney and leading contemporary performance exponents, culminated in Orientalia at The Performance Space in 1994.

In 1996 Sally received the Rex Cramphorn Performing Arts Award to study at New York University with Richard Schechner and at the same times worked as assistant director on Mabou Mines’ Motherlode. Sally was a Resident Artist with Mabou Mines the following year, directing her work, Mutations: a rhythm-opera of theme parks, waxworks and cargo cults.

In 1992, she directed Life with Past Images with Vietnamese Artists in Adelaide. She has worked for Canberra’s Jigsaw Theatre Company, co -directing Oracle Bones with Chinese artists for The National Festival of Australian Theatre and Julie Janson’s Kera Putih in collaboration with Balinese and Javanese artists. At Belvoir Street Theatre she directed Season to Taste by Julie Janson, a comic piece on food, sex and Asia and Lotus War with Vietnamese artists; Project Sci Fi for PACT, and Borderstories for Médecins Sans Frontières.

Sally has also worked for Playworks and for the Melbourne International Arts Festival, for whom she created Botanica ‘91 The Chinese Teahouse. 1999-2002, Sally was the Performing Arts Manager at the Perth International Arts Festival, where she produced a range of work ranging from new indigenous works from Western Australia, major international productions by Robert Wilson and Nederlands Dans Theatre, to Mikel Rouse’s Dennis Cleveland.

In 2001 she was the recipient of an Asialink Arts Management Residency to work at the Shanghai International Arts Festival.

In 2003, she collaborated with artists from Newcastle, Sydney and car enthusiasts to create Speedcity, a large-scale outdoor event for cars, video and live music for the This is Not art Festival in Newcastle.

She has collaborated with, Asako Isawa and Satsuki Odamaru on the creative development of 36 Reasons Y by Noëlle Janaczewska and with a group of 11 culturally diverse multi-skilled performers on the development of the large scale music-theatre piece The River Skaters by  Noëlle Janaczewska, with music by Elena Kats-Chernin.

In 2003 for Theatre 4A at the Studio, Sydney Opera House, she directed a season of short Asian works by Rakini, Chi Vu, Rick Lau and Georgina Naidu’s Yellowfeather, for actors and DJ, which she developed into a full-length work in 2005 for the Studio.

She directed Noëlle Janaczewska’s The Hannah First Collection 1919-1949 at the Shanghai Zendai Museum of Modern Art in 2008. In 2010, she directed In Your Own Words, an ambulatory devised work for Macquarie University’s Diversity Week.

She received an Asialink Performing Arts Residency to visit Sulawesi, Indonesia in 2010 to initiate a dialogue on a new work with Teater Kita Makassar.

In 2011, she was invited to work with Video Artist, Kate Murphy on a project commissioned by the Campbelltown Arts Centre, on her friend and colleague, Chinese Opera diva, Xu Fengshan, who was invited back to Beijing to perform in a prestigious Opera festival. Sherre Delys also recorded Xu in Beijing and created a program on him for Into The Music of ABC Radio National.