Sarah Giles is an award-winning opera and theatre director. Described by Limelight Magazine as one of Australia’s most thoughtful theatre-makers, she has a passion for comedy and opera and has directed over 25 productions for companies including Sydney Theatre Company, Melbourne Theatre Company, State Theatre of South Australia, Malthouse Theatre, Griffin Theatre, The Australian Chamber Orchestra, Sydney Chamber Opera, Opera Queensland, State Opera of South Australia and West Australian Opera.
Sarah is a freelance artist, who works as a director, dramaturg and adaptor. She works across Australia and is based in Naarm / Melbourne where she lives with her family.
Sarah received Helpmann Award and Green Room Award nominations for Best Direction of an Opera for her world premiere Victorian Opera production of Lorelei which won Best New Australian work and Best Design at the Green Room Awards where it was nominated in five categories.
Sarah made her main stage debut at Sydney theatre Company with her highly successful, Helpmann Award nominated production of Mrs Warren’s Profession which, due to popular demand, toured and had a return season at Sydney Theatre Company. Her award-winning production of The Popular Mechanicals with State Theatre Company of South Australia toured to Sydney Theatre Company and a subsequent national tour. Her production of Accidental Death of an Anarchist, which Sarah co-adapted and directed for Sydney Theatre Company was nominated for two Sydney Theatre Awards and played to sell out houses at the Opera House. In 2011 she won a Sydney Theatre Award for Best Direction of an Independent Production for her production of The Ugly One at Griffin Theatre.
Theatre directing credits include: for Sydney Theatre Company, No Pay? No Way! , Accidental Death of an Anarchist, The Popular Mechanicals (with State Theatre Company of South Australia, national tour), Perplex, Mrs Warren’s Profession, Marriage Blanc, Money Shots, Ruby Moon; for Malthouse Theatre, SS Metaphor, Blaque Showgirls; for Melbourne Theatre Company, The Truth, Straight White Men; for Griffin Independent, The Ugly One, The Pigeons;; for Red Stitch, That Face; for New Theatre, The Herbal Bed; for Theatre Forward, The Bear; for NIDA, The Farm; The Bald Soprano, Face to the Wall; for WAAPA, Vernon God Little; and for La Mama, The Maids.
Opera directing credits include: for Opera Queensland, State Opera of South Australia and West Australian Opera, La Traviata; for Victorian Opera and Opera Queensland, Lorelei; for Sydney Chamber Opera and Sydney Festival, O Mensch! , Pas à pas- nulle Part, and Into the Little Hill. Other works include: Kreutzer Vs Kreutzer for the Australian Chamber Orchestra performed with Janáček’s and Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonatas. Sarah regularly works with Ai McGregor’s opera company Fluxus and is currently developing several new works.
Sarah was a Resident Director at Sydney Theatre Company in 2013, the Richard Wherrett Fellow at Sydney Theatre Company in 2011, and Affiliate Director in Residence at Griffin Theatre in 2009.
She was a recipient of an Australia Council Art Start Grant, received both The Mike Walsh Fellowship and The Gloria Fellowship in 2014, and in 2022 was award the Emily Hensley Award as an alumnae of her school, MGGS. In 2015 Sarah was selected to take part in the 2015 Lincoln Centre Directors in New York.
She was dramaturg (as well as director) on LORELEI (Victorian Opera), SS METAPHOR and co-adaptor of ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF AN ANARCHIST (Sydney Theatre Company).
A directing graduate of the National Institute of Dramatic Art, Sarah also holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne with a double major in History and Italian.
In 2023 Sarah will direct a new production of The Importance of Being Earnest for Sydney Theatre Company at the Roslyn Packer Theatre starring Helen Thomson as Lady Bracknell. She will direct a new play for Melbourne Theatre Company titled, A very Jewish Christmas Carol by Elise Esther Hearst and Phillip Kavanagh, on which she is also working as a dramaturg alongside the new work department of Melbourne Theatre Company.
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