Sam Strong is an award winning theatre director and dramaturg and one of Australia’s most successful and influential arts leaders. He was Artistic Director of Queensland Theatre from 2015 to 2019. Prior to that, Sam was Chair of Circa, Associate Artistic Director of Melbourne Theatre Company, Artistic Director of Australia’s new writing theatre, Griffin Theatre Company, Literary Associate at Belvoir, and the founding dramaturg in residence at Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre.
Sam has directed productions for all Australian State theatre companies as well as Belvoir, Griffin, and the Sydney and Melbourne Festivals. He has worked with many of Australia’s leading actors including Justine Clarke, Lucy Durack, Colin Friels, Noni Hazlehurst, Asher Keddie, Robyn Nevin, Pamela Rabe, Kat Stewart, Hugo Weaving and David Wenham. He has also directed plays by Australia’s leading writers, including Andrew Bovell, Michael Gow, Kate Mulvany, Sue Smith, and David Williamson.
Sam won Best Direction of a Mainstage Production for THE FLOATING WORLD at the Sydney Theatre Awards, and has received multiple Best Director and Best Play/Production nominations at the Sydney Theatre Awards, the Green Room Awards, and the Helpmann Awards. Sam is one of only two directors in the history of the Helpmann Awards to have two productions nominated for Best Play in the one year.
Directing credits include: CASSANDRA, ECHO AND NARCISSUS (Victorian Opera); EMERALD CITY, STORM BOY (Queensland Theatre/Melbourne Theatre Company); HYDRA (Queensland Theatre/STCSA); NEARER THE GODS, TWELFTH NIGHT (Queensland Theatre); NOISES OFF! (Queensland Theatre/Melbourne Theatre Company); ONCE IN ROYAL DAVID’S CITY (Queensland Theatre/Black Swan Theatre Company); JASPER JONES, DOUBLE INDEMNITY, THE WEIR, ENDGAME, THE SUBLIME, THE SPEECHMAKER, PRIVATE LIVES, THE CRUCIBLE, THE OTHER DESERT CITIES AND MADAGASCAR (Melbourne Theatre Company); LES LIASONS DANGEROUS (Sydney Theatre Company); MASQUERADE (Sydney Festival/Griffin/STCSA/Melbourne Festival); THE BOYS (Sydney Festival/Griffin); THE FLOATING WORLD, BETWEEN TWO WAVES, AND NO MORE SHALL WE PART and SPEAKING IN TONGUES (Griffin); THE POWER OF YES (Company B Belvoir); and RED SKY MORNING, FACES IN THE CROWD (Red Stitch).
Sam’s successes as Artistic Director of Queensland Theatre include: achieving the fastest growth in subscribers of any major theatre company in Australia; reaching an all-time record audience for an annual season; programming the highest grossing production in the history of the company; directing the highest attended new Australian play produced by the company; overseeing and launching the renovation of the new Billie Brown Theatre and foyer; achieving gender parity of writers and directors in each of his four seasons; and developing and programming the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander work.
As Artistic Director of Griffin Theatre Company, Sam tripled subscribers, oversaw the renovation of a new foyer and auditorium, expanded the program to include the revival of Australian classics, founded the Griffin Studio artist residency, and directed the highest attended show in the company’s history.
As Associate Artistic Director of the Melbourne Theatre Company, Sam directed multiple sold-out productions and the main stage theatrical debuts of visual artist Callum Morton and screen comedy legends Working Dog.
Sam is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts and has been admitted to practice as a Barrister and Solicitor in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
Next up, Sam will direct the world premiere of the theatrical adaptation of Trent Dalton’s novel BOY SWALLOWS UNIVERSE.