APHIDS: The Director

  • Apr 22 - 23, 2023
  • PS21 Black Box Theater

    2980 New York 66
    Chatham, New York 12037
Ticket Price $10.00-$30.00 Buy Tickets

On the back of successful tours to the Sydney Opera House, Finland, and the UK in 2019, and to the International Theatre Festival of Kerala, India, in January 2020, The Director comes to PS21 this spring, in collaboration with Fusebox Festival! 

From Australia’s APHIDS theater collective, The Director is a bold new performance starring 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.


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, 2PM & 7:30 PM

Sunday, April 23, 2 PM


Photo by Bryony Jackson


APHIDS is a 28-year-old artist-led, not-for-profit, experimental art organization that forefronts intersectional feminist voices. 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 with major partners in every state and territory in Australia, they 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.


Duration: 70 minutes



We thank you for your ongoing support. Your contributions allow us to continue to present our adventurous programming and free and low-cost community initiatives. Your donations also help to preserve our many trails and beautiful 100-acre campus. We hope you will consider making a donation today.


Date & Time

Apr 22 - 23, 2023

Venue Details

PS21 Black Box Theater

2980 New York 66
Chatham, New York 12037 PS21 Black Box Theater
PS21: Performance Spaces for the 21st Century

Established in Chatham, NY in 2006, PS21 supports innovative performing artists and creators and introduces their work to a broader audience, while also providing the surrounding region with opportunities for arts engagement regardless of economic status, cultural background, and age.


Five acres of PS21's 100+ acres are developed; the rest are meadows and woodlands. Situated near the theater are the Dance Barn, a rehearsal and performance venue, and two artists’ residences accommodating sixteen individuals. The PS21 property is also host to the Chatham Farm Animal Rescue. PS21's new theater and rural campus are important resources for both visiting artists and the community, optimized for the public's enjoyment and to encourage citizen expression and participation. 


The 350-seat theater is a state-of-the-art, green facility offering resident makers and performers the tools and flexibility for successful innovation and collaboration in the development of sophisticated multi-media work. Few other US facilities are able to provide this level of technical support. PS21 operates year-round, supporting performances by and residencies for dancers, choreographers, musicians, composers, actors and creators. The summer season is PS21's public highlight, during which a full calendar of performances is augmented with a myriad of events and workshops, many of which are free of charge and involve community collaboration with the gifted artists in residence.

Find more PS21: Performance Spaces for the 21st Century Events