Born in Christchurch in 1970, Sara worked in London for seven years as an actress, dancer, casting director and behind the scenes before returning to New Zealand in 1996.
In the year 2000, Sara graduated from Victoria University with an MA in Theatre. Sara’s qualification in Laban Movement Analysis for actors led her to teach movement and acting at East 15 Acting School, London. Following this, she became head of Acting at the Wellington Performing Arts Centre. By 2004, Sara was predominantly working as a freelance director. Her work as movement director and choreographer at Musica nel Chiostro, Italy and New Zealand Opera marked the beginning of Sara’s progression into opera direction.
Three years later, Sara adapted and directed the dance-theatre, interdisciplinary work The Kreutzer for the 2007 STAB Festival at BATS. Following the success of this ambitious project, Sara founded ‘Stage Left’ with Sarah Hutchings and Andrew Brettell in order to further pursue interdisciplinary works.
Most of Sara’s directorial work has included music. For Capital E National Theatre for Children, she co-wrote and directed Hear To See, which received a Chapman Tripp Award for most Original Production in 2011. Sara also directed the the heart-warming production Kia Ora Khalid, scored by composer Gareth Farr, and Skydancer, a symphonic work in collaboration with the NZSO.
Sara has directed numerous opera productions including Don Giovanni for New Zealand Opera, Ainadamar for the New Zealand Arts Festival, A Midsummer Night’s Dream at NZSM, Fatal Desire for the Asia Pacific Arts Festival and the premiere of Jenny McLeod’s Hohepa New Zealand Opera & the New Zealand Arts Festival. Sara has also had a long association with Days Bay Opera, having directed all eight of their productions.
Sara’s other diverse projects include interweaving poetry and music for North:South at Going West and Nelson Arts Festivals, The Seven Last Words for a Chamber Music New Zealand tour and creating Tracing Hamlet – a community based immersive deconstruction of Hamlet for the Wanaka Festival of Colour and Erupt Festival, Taupo. In 2011 she was approached by the Melbourne Arts Festival to create a dance-theatre production about earthquakes with the Leshan Song and Dance Company of Sichuan. Fault Lines has subsequently toured China.
Sara is currently preparing to direct Nixon in China for the 2016 Auckland Arts Festival.