Samantha ChesterThe best physical theatre occupies the space between the abstraction of dance and the directness of drama, and when it clicks it has the power and insight of both. Last year, Dalisa Pigrim’s Gudirr Gudirr, a transcendent example of the form, had me spellbound. It’s happened again, this time courtesy of Samantha Chester’s mysterious, superbly executed and ineffably sad The Astronaut.

— The West Australian (4.5 Stars)

Samantha Chester is an independent dance theatre maker, movement director, performer and educator from Sydney. She is passionate about devised physical performance and has worked with all ages and abilities in both professional and educative environments to create and deliver new theatre and movement work.

Samantha has worked as a movement consultant for all the mainstream theatre companies in Sydney and in 2010 she worked with the Wallabies national Rugby Union Team as a movement consultant. In 2011/12 Samantha was part of Cultivate/Culminate, the inaugural dance theatre development program through Force Majeure. She was the Head of Movement and Associate Director at the Actors Centre Australia from 2008–2015 and has taught and directed extensively at NIDA, PACT, AFTRS and the University of Notre Dame Australia.

She was the co-founder of creative space Queen Street Studio (Brand X) and was Director of independent dance space ReadyMade Works. She was awarded the Mike Walsh fellowship to travel to NY to train with the SITI Company in Viewpoints and Suzuki disciplines.

She has a BA in Dance from UWS Nepean, a Post Graduate in Arts Management from UTS and a Post Graduate in Movement Studies from NIDA where she trained with the great Keith Bain.

In April 2014 she premiered Safety in Numbers at Riverside Theatre (video below) as part of the Dance Bites program and was awarded a Churchill Fellowship, travelling to Spain, France, UK and Belgium investigating devising techniques in dance and theatre. In 2015–2016 Samantha was the Associate Artist for the NSW Choreographic Centre, Critical Path where she curated The Body of Ideas Lab and in 2016 she debuted her first full-length solo work The Astronaut to much critical acclaim.

She is currently the Movement co-ordinator and Senior Lecturer for Acting and Senior Lecturer in Performance Making at the Western Australian Academy for the Performing Arts (WAAPA). Recently Samantha was seconded to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland as Movement Director for The Jungle Book.

The Astronaut Trailer from Sam Chester on Vimeo.

Curriculm Vitae


  • 2016: Introductory II Iyengar Yoga Certification
  • 2002: Post Graduate Diploma in Movement Studies, NIDA
  • 1998: Post Graduate Diploma in Arts Management, UTS
  • 1993: Bachelor of Arts in Dance, University of Western Sydney


  • 2003: Mike Walsh Fellowship
  • 2004: NSW Ministry for the Arts International Program
  • 2004: American Australian Association, Dame Joan Sutherland Cultural Fund
  • 2010: ABAF City of Sydney Encouragement Award 2010 (Queen Street Studio)
  • 2013: Ausdance NSW Space Residency
  • 2014: Churchill Fellowship 2013
  • 2015: Associate Artist, Critical Path 2015–2016

Other Training

  • 2015: The Future. New Ideas, New Inspirations UK Dance
  • 2014: Barcelona International Dance Exchange
  • 2014: UltimaVez Workshop, Belgium
  • 2011/2010: Viewpoints Intensive with Barney O’Hanlon and Laura Sheedy
  • 2009: Yoga Teacher Training Level 1 (Hatha)
  • 2007: Critical Path Choreographic Workshop with Lucy Guerin
  • 2004: Summer Intensive SITI co in Suzuki and Viewpoints Training, New York
  • 2002: Improvisation Workshop with Andrew Moorish, Sydney

Industry Appointments

  • 2014: Darlinghurst Theatre Artistic Advisory Members
  • 2007–2009: Critical Path Board Member: Artist Representative

Speaking Engagements

  • 2013: National Dance Forum, Melbourne
  • 2012: Critical Path Sydney
  • 2011: We are Here, Customs House, National Visual Arts Association
  • 2010: NIDA Graduation Ceremony

Movement Consultant, Theatre

  • 2017: The Jungle Book, RCS, Scotland
  • 2017: Threepenny Opera, Dir Craig Ilott WAAPA
  • 2015: Caress Ache, Grffin Theatre, Dir Anthony Skuse Written buy Suzi Miller
  • 2014: Every Second, Darlinghurst Theatre Dir Shannon Murphy
  • 2013: Woyzech, NIDA, Dir Amara Savage
  • 2013: Tender, NIDA, Dir Craig Ilott and Andrew Ross
  • 2012: Miss Julie, Darlinghurst Theatre Dir Cristabel Sved
  • 2012: The Husky Project, NIDA Dir Craig Ilott
  • 2012: Porn Cake, Griffin, Dir Shannon Murphy
  • 2011: City of Bright Lights TRS, Dir Stephen Nicolazzo
  • 2011: The Coming World, Darlinghurst Theatre Dir Caroline Craig
  • 2011: Cut, Belvoir Dir Sarah John
  • 2011: Fefu and Her Friends, NIDA Dir Caroline Craig,
  • 2011: Titus, ATYP Cry Havoc Dir Kate Revs
  • 2010: Intersection, Milk Crate Theatre, Dir Bek Ronkson
  • 2010: Three Sisters, Cry Havoc Dir Kate Revs
  • 2010: Our Town, Sydney Theatre Company Dir Ian Sinclair,
  • 2010: Orestia, Sydney Theatre Company Dir Tom Wright
  • 2010: R&J, Touring Riverside Theatre, Dir Craig Ilott
  • 2010: Wallabies Rugby Union Team Movement Consultant 2009
  • 2009: Thursday Child, Monkey Baa, National Tour, Dir Sandie Eldridge
    (Winner — Best Children’s Presentation 2010 Helpmann Award)
  • 2008: Pool No Water, Darlinghurst Theatre Dir Anthony Skuse
  • 2008: The Fabulous Punch & Judy Show, Cleveland Street Theatre, Dir Anthoy Skuse
  • 2008: R&J, Riverside Theatre, Dir Craig Ilott
  • 2006: Go Pinocchio Theatre of Image Dir Kim Carpenter
  • 2006: The Attic, NIDA (Movement) Dir Yoji Sakate
  • 2002: Roberto Zucco, Dir Helmut Baskiatis; LOOT Dir Terence Clarke

Director & Choreographer

  • 2017: ATLAS, Director, devised movement work, 2nd Year Acting, WAAPA
  • 2016: IM Spiegel, LINK Dance Company
  • 2016: The Astronaut, The Blue Room Theatre Dir Frances Barbe
  • 2016: On Things That Matter, Director, devised movement work, 2nd Year Acting, WAAPA
  • 2015: Orfeo ed Euridices, Spectrum Now Festival Dir Shannon Murphy
  • 2014: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Michael Sieders Presents
  • 2014: Game of Seven, Force Majeure
  • 2014: Safety In Numbers, Riverside Theatre, Dance Bites Program
  • 2013: Game of Seven, Carriageworks, Force Majeure
  • 2013: Night Circus, co directed with Anthony Skuse
  • 2013: The Vanishing Point, ACA
  • 2012: Culminate, Carriage Works, Force Majeure
  • 2012: Be With Me, ACA
  • 2012: Life Expectancy, ACA
  • 2011: This Includes You, ACA
  • 2011: Audience Watching Audience from 8.00pm – 8.40pm, Campbelltown Arts Centre
  • 2011: I Believe, ACA
  • 2010: The Forgetting, ACA
  • 2009: Love is the Thing So they Say, ACA
  • 2009: Trace, NIDA, 50th Anniversary Commission
  • 2008: The Natural Order of Things, (Independent)
  • 2009: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, NIDA, Co Directed with Darren Gilshenan, Sean Hall
  • 2008: Suessical the Musical, Roseville College
  • 2008: Monster Forming, (Independent)
  • 2005: The (Neo) Sun, Shopfront Theatre for Young People
  • 2005: The Men’s Room, NIDA
  • 2004: Hotel Cassiopeia, Saratoga New York
  • 2002: Waiting for Elaine, NIDA
  • 2001: Peepshow1 are you going to love me, Mallacoota Festival Victoria
  • 2000: Bound Sonata, Adelaide Fringe Festival, Sydney Fringe Festival

Teaching Experience

  • 2016–Present: Movement Co-ordinator and Movement lecturer Acting, Lecturer Performing Arts WAPAA (Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts)
  • 2015: Associate Director and Head of Movement Actors Centre Australia, Movement Lecturer (Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts)
  • 2014: Associate Director and Head of Movement Actors Centre Australia, PACT Theatre, East 15 Masterclass, UK
  • 2013: Associate Director and Head of Movement Actors Centre Australia, International Screen Academy,University of Notre Dame, NIDA
  • 2012: Head of Movement Actors Centre Australia, PACT, NIDA, AICM
  • 2011: Head of Movement Actors Centre Australia, PACT
  • 2010: Head of Movement Actors Centre Australia, NIDA Singer Dancer Actor
  • 2009: Head of Movement Actors Centre Australia, NIDA Singer Dancer Actor
  • 2008: Head of Movement Actors Centre Australia, Roseville College, ACTT, NIDA Singer Dancer Actor
  • 2007: NIDA Singer Dancer, TAFE NSW, Actors Centre Australia, Shopfront Theatre Mentor Arts Lab Ashfield Youth Theatre, Bodyline 2007, NIDA (Dramaturg/Director’s Support)
  • 2006: NIDA Movement Teacher 3 months permanent part-time Acting Curriculum Years 1,2,3 & Directors Open Program: Singer Actor Dancer and Young Actors Studio TAFE NSW
  • 2005: Shopfront Theatre for Young People NIDA: Movement Teacher Acting Curriculum Open Program: Core Teacher NIDA Singer Dancer Actor
  • 2004: Shopfront Theatre for Young People NIDA: Movement and Yoga Teacher Acting Curriculum Open Program: Core Teacher NIDA Singer Dancer Actor
  • 2003: NIDA: Movement and Yoga Teacher Full Time Acting Program and Open Program
  • 2002: NIDA: Yoga Teacher Technical production

Performance Experience — in Brief

  • 2016 The Astronaut, The Blue Room Theatre
  • 2013: Deviator, PVI Collevtive
  • 2010: UNCO, FraserStudios
  • 2007: Evening Magic 2, Fondue Set: Performance Space
  • 2005: Accidents and Alchemies, Performance Space
  • 2002: Act without Words, Samuel Beckett; Directors Projects NIDA
  • 2001: Peepshow1: are you going to love me, Festival of the Southern Ocean
  • 2000: Bound Sonata, Sydney Fringe Festival, Adelaide Fringe Festival
  • 1996: Peggy’s After Sale Service, Darwin Fringe Festival — Fleshdollies Dance Co
  • 1996: Concepts of the Flesh, Adelaide Fringe — Fleshdollies Dance Co
  • 1995/97: Company Member Stretch MK1 Touring and performance
  • 1993: Company Member Darc Swan Regional Tour

Arts Administration/Producing

  • Currently –  Director, ReadyMade Works Inc that manages programs and space for the Independent Dance and Moving Arts Community in Sydney
  • 2005 – 2016 – Associate Artist, Critical Path, Choreographic Centre; Body of Ideas curatorial program,
  • 2013- January 2014: FUNPARK, Sydney Festival, Dir Creative Producer Karen Therese Position: Producer
  • February 2005–2012: Co-Founder and Programs Director Queen Street Studio that managed and programmed FraserStudios, Heffron Hall and Queen Street Studio
  • February 2005–April 2008: Regional Arts NSW Part–Time Position: Funding Officer
  • June 2003–February 2005: Australia Council for the Arts Position: Program Officer Community Cultural Development (Community Partnerships)
  • October 2001–December 2002: Australia Council for the Arts Position: Program Officer Community Cultural Development (Community Partnerships)
  • December 2000–October 2001: Australia Council for the Arts Position: Dance Board Adminsiytrative Assistant
  • June 2000–November 2000: Ensemble Theatre Position: Production Assistant
  • June 1998–June 2000: Morrissey Management Position: Agents Assistant and Administration