Imara Savage is a theatre and opera director. She has directed award-winning productions for Sydney Theatre Company, Belvoir Theatre, State Theatre Company of South Australia, Sydney Chamber Opera, and Griffin Theatre.
Her productions for Sydney Theatre Company (where she was resident director between 2016 – 2018) won multiple awards. Imara is nominated for a 2019 Helpmann Award for Best Director for her acclaimed adaptation of ST JOAN which is nominated for three Helpmann Awards including Best Female Actor (Sarah Snook). ST JOAN received four Sydney Theatre Award nominations including Best Director and Best Production.
Imara’s production of Caryl Churchill’s TOP GIRLS won two Sydney Theatre Awards. AFTER DINNER won a Helpmann Award, Best Ensemble at the Sydney Theatre Awards, and was voted Best Revival by Sydney Morning Herald. MACHINAL won two Sydney Theatre Awards. Imara also directed DINNER, THE TESTAMENT OF MARY, and HAYFEVER for the company.
Imara’s Helpmann Award winning production of MR BURNS for Belvoir and State Theatre Company of South Australia, received many award nominations including Sydney Theatre Award nominations for Best Director and Best Ensemble.
Her acclaimed production of Elliott Gyger’s FLY AWAY PETER for Sydney Chamber Opera was nominated for a Helpmann Award for Best Opera and toured to Melbourne Festival. Other opera directing includes: Kaija Saariaho’s THE PASSION OF SIMONE, Philip Glass' IN THE PENAL COLONY and Benjamin Britten's OWEN WINGRAVE for Sydney Chamber Opera which won Best Opera in the Time Out Awards.
Other theatre: for Belvoir, FOOL FOR LOVE; for Bell Shakespeare, A COMEDY OF ERRORS; for Griffin Theatre, THE BROTHERS SIZE which won Best Newcomer at the Sydney Theatre Awards; for Red Stitch, ORPHANS; for NIDA, WOYZECK, the Tom Waits/Robert Wilson musical, and PUNK ROCK.
Imara is a graduate of NIDA in Directing and the NIDA Playwriting Studio and holds a BA in Communications and International Studies from University of Technology Sydney.
Reviews of Imara’s work:
TOP GIRLS (Sydney Theatre Company)
★★★★★ “Savage’s work here is exceptional – her keen eye and sixth-sense for interior momentum are enough to make her one of Australia’s greatest working directors, but she inspires greatness in her actors and collaborators too – encouraging them to greater heights.” Time Out.
★★★★★ “This new Sydney Theatre Company staging, led by director Imara Savage, sets the bar high and early for the best production of 2018.” Time Out
★★★★½ “Savage should be praised to the heavens.” Sydney Morning Herald.
★★★★½ “Imara Savage – an incisive, keen-eyed director who draws lines of theatrical tension with razor-sharp focus” Time Out
“Top Girls is an unmissable tour de force.” The Australian
ST JOAN (Sydney Theatre Company)
★★★★½ “Joan is given dignity and all-too-human compassion, and it feels, finally, like Joan’s own play is allowed to be for Joan, and for all women who dare to believe they can change the world. It’s yearning. It’s defiant. It’s devastating.” Time Out
★★★★½ "A striking production full of fascinating ideas and stark images that will be hard to forget." Limelight
★★★★½ “The final image of the production is a masterstroke: a clever, liquid restatement of our first glimpse of an armoured Joan that also chimes with iconic images of martyrdom and immolation from more recent times. It’s an incredibly powerful moment.” Sydney Morning Herald
★★★★½ “By reframing the play, Savage puts Joan centre stage... the story and the themes within it – particularly nationalism, religious fundamentalism and the role of women in society – emerge powerfully in this retelling. The canny restructuring works exceptionally well, and the whole drama is tighter, sharper and punchier as a result.” Limelight
★★★★ “Imara Savage’s hard cut production gives us a St Joan for this moment.” Audrey Journal
★★★★ “What Savage has done here is brilliant. This is an incredibly stirring production which makes Joan’s story the powerful tragedy Shaw wanted it to be. Sarah Snook’s Joan is truly great.” The Australian
THE PASSION OF SIMONE (Sydney Chamber Opera / Sydney Festival)
★★★★½ “Le Passion de Simone brings soulful beauty to the void” Sydney Morning Herald.
“Bold, uncompromising and musically spectacular… thrilling, mesmerising…extraordinarily rich and rewarding; sensual, strident and stinging” Time Out
MR BURNS (Belvoir / State Theatre Company of South Australia)
★★★★★ “Director Imara Savage, one of the sharpest talents on Australian stages, has created a production that crackles and burns” The Guardian
★★★★★ “Mr Burns is almost certainly the most unusual, original and intelligent piece of writing to premiere on a Sydney stage this year”. Daily Review
SPARTACUS (The Australian Ballet) Dramaturg
★★★★ “Imara Savage, knows how to stage a good story” Daily Review
★★★★ “Australian Ballet pulls no punches in new rendition of Spartacus” Sydney Morning Herald
★★★★ “Spartacus is a triumph of emotion and pure physicality.” Herald Sun
★★★★ “Seriously memorable moments and the production gets stronger with each act, culminating in a visceral finale wrought with emotional turmoil.” The Age DINNER (Sydney Theatre Company)
★★★★ “This is a dinner party to remember” Limelight
TESTAMENT OF MARY (Sydney Theatre Company)
★★★★½ Australian Book Review
HAY FEVER (Sydney Theatre Company)
★★★★ “Imara Savage knows her way around a comedy” Guardian
“I love when theatre makes me laugh — I mean, really laugh” Daily Review Best of 2016
AFTER DINNER (Sydney Theatre Company)
“The best revival of the year” Sydney Morning Herald
"Rarely do you see theatre this laugh-aloud funny” Daily Telegraph
★★★★ “This production is as down-to-earth and broadly crowd-pleasing as it is sophisticated and is superbly crafted with subtlety and nuance. You’re bound to love it.” Daily Review
COMEDY OF ERRORS (Bell Shakespeare/STCSA)
★★★★★ “The Comedy of Errors is the best thing on stage this year so far. Beg, borrow or steal if you have to, but get yourself a ticket” Herald Sun
“Words cannot do this remarkable production justice, it really needs to be seen. A spectacular end to what has been a brilliant Bell year” Daily Telegraph
MACHINAL (Sydney Theatre Company)
★★★★ "A brave and powerful proto-feminist work" Daily Review