“I was shaken as I left the theatre. A masterfully human performance.” – Theatrepeople

Warming up to our 2023 Summer Season, don’t miss this gripping pre-season event, a bold theater work in PS21’s Black Box Theater.

Following highly-acclaimed seasons at the Sydney Opera House, MONA FOMA, Platform Arts, ANTI Contemporary Art Festival (Finland), SICK Festival (UK) and the International Theatre Festival of Kerala (India), PS21 is thrilled to present The Director as part of an international tour this spring, in collaboration with Fusebox Festival.

From Australia’s APHIDS theater collectiveThe Director stars Scott Turnbull, a charismatic ex-funeral director, and artist Lara Thoms. Taking up a universal experience and taboo topic, Turnbull and Thoms demystify and expose the death industry, using humor and first-hand knowledge to dig a little deeper into what happens after we go. Nothing is off limits, including the smell of a crematorium, the tools of the mortuary, and tractors driven into a funeral chapel. At a time when dying costs an average of $10,000 and funerals happen within a week, death can seem like a very expensive drive-thru meal.

“Exceptionally good theater…an often hilarious, intimate show that’s also a sharp evisceration of how even funerals have been captured by predatory capitalism” – The Saturday Paper

Blurring the roles of funeral director and theater director, Thoms and Turnbull ask each other to perform tasks, share knowledge, and give feedback on each other’s actions. Balancing macabre reality, playfulness and the tragic elements of death, the result is a spiky, funny and invigorating performance.

Saturday | April 22 | 2 PM & 7:30 PM

at PS21’s Black Box Theater, 2980 Route 66 in Chatham NY

Duration: 70 minutes

APHIDS is a 29-year-old artist-led, experimental art organization.

From their home in Naarm, Melbourne, they create art of lasting global, social and cultural significance, bringing artists into meaningful exchange with audiences through performance, critical dialogue, and unpredictable encounters in the private and public realm.

Collaborative and future-focused, APHIDS is led by Co-Directors Lara Thoms and Mish Grigor with Executive Producer Anna Nalpantidis. Their work is driven by what is current and urgent in contemporary culture and a passionate belief in the social role of art. Past APHIDS works have been presented in major venues in every state and territory in Australia, have toured the world, and have been shown in more unexpected places too: in ricefields and samurai hotels in Japan, churches in Finland, industrial zones in Bulgaria, botanic gardens, and martial arts dojos, even beamed into outer space.

APHIDS collaborators have included funeral directors, Uber drivers, scientists, and pop stars. Their projects promote open, accessible yet complex and rigorous encounters between artists and the public.


Lara Thoms is a queer artist based in Naarm, with a socially engaged practice that reconsiders visibility, history and power structures. Much of Lara’s work is collaborative with people beyond the arts including past works with young people who grew up in detention centers in Nauru, Indonesian Metallica fans, and over 300 Western Australian women.

Scott Turnbull worked as a Funeral Director for 21 years in Hobart. He has since toured The Director to ANTI festival, Finland, Sick Festival, UK, the Sydney Opera House, ITOFK, India, Artshouse Melbourne, and will soon travel to Fusebox Festival in Texas..



Lead artist: Lara Thoms
Co-creator: Scott Turnbull
Design: Katie Sfetkidis
Dramaturgs: Aaron Orzech and Lz Dunn
Sound: Kenneth Pennington
Producer: Anna Nalpantidis
Rehearsal Director: Mish Grigor

The Director is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body and Creative Victoria through its Organization Investment Program. It was originally presented by Arts House through the City of Melbourne as part of CultureLAB. APHIDS would also like to acknowledge the generous support from partners for this tour; including MONA, Platform Arts, and PS21.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: