About Steamworks Arts

We create socially and politically charged performances

Established in 2001 the company is led by Director Sally Richardson with each project developed around a collective of multi-disciplined artists including designers, performers, writers, composers and filmmakers. We collaborate with emerging and established artists and companies, business and the wider community. The result is challenging and relevant works that combine contemporary ideas with a powerful theatricality.

We believe that engaging in the Arts changes lives and are committed to shaping an Australian arts culture that is environmentally sustainable, reflecting and engaging with our changing society and the world in which we live, while championing the voice, presence and creativity of women in the arts.

Sally Richardson


Sally Richardson


Sally is a Western Australian based director, writer, dramaturg, arts consultant and producer working across the performing arts. She is passionately committed to the creation of new Australian work and developing collaborations with other artists in the region with a focus on contemporary theatre, dance and performance.

Sally has been commissioned, created and directed for companies and organisations including: Sydney Theatre Company, Black Swan Theatre Company, Perth Theatre Company, Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre, Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Deckchair Theatre, The Flying Fruitfly Circus, The National Institute of Circus Arts, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, WAAPA ECU, NAISDA, Performing Lines, amongst others.

Commissions and productions range from intimate boutique works, through to new circus, puppetry and film projects, in addition to facilitating large scale community events and programs.

Productions of her work have been presented nationally and internationally and been a winner/finalist for Helpmann Awards, PWA, Green Room and Blue Room Awards, Ausdance Awards and selected for Dance Australia Critics Choice. Sally is a past recipient of an Australia Council Dramaturgy Fellowship and a Creative Fellowship (WA Department of Culture and the Arts) She is a former Artistic Director of Playworks Australia and Stages WA, and is currently Co-director & producer of MAXIMA Circus.

Sally is a passionate advocate for the performing Arts in Australia, and roles here include; Theatre Board of the Australia Council 2001-2005, past board director of SWY Theatre, Playworks, Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Circus WA, Yirra Yaakin, the artistic advisory of Deckchair Theatre, NICA, Barking Gecko Theatre Company, the development advisory for STRUT National Choreographic Centre and the industry advisory of ACAPTA (Australian Circus & Physical Theatre Association) & NICA.

She is a previous Director of script development agencies Playworks:National Women Writers Workshop (Australia) and Stages WA. Sally worked with Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company over 17 years as a dramaturg, director, Partnerships and Special Projects Manager with two periods as Acting General Manager.

She regularly acts an assessor for government and industry panels/awards including Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries in WA, The Australia Council, the Ministry for the Arts, amongst others. She is a current Helpmann Awards panelist for Theatre, and Deputy Chair of CAN - Community Arts Network (WA). Sally is an associate artist with Co:3 Australia.

In 2016 Sally launched circus theatre company MAXIMA in a first-time partnership with Mandurah Performing Arts Centre. She has collaborated with Performing Lines WA since 2008, has been an artist in residence and Guest Lecturer at WAAPA, Curtin and Edith Cowan Universities, and in 2014/15 was a Guest Director at the National Aboriginal Islander Dance College NAISDA (NSW).

She has undertaken artist residencies across Australia including Bundanon (NSW), PICA (Perth) and internationally in Iceland, Hong Kong and Taiwan (Taipei Artist Village in 2015 & 2019)

Sally has been the Creative Director/ Producer for various large-scale events and productions including Live@Woodside, an award-winning three-year community partnership of Steamworks with Woodside Australia. She was the Creative Director for the Opening of the Place of Reflection at Kings Park, commissioned by Lotterywest and produced by Steamworks. Other clients include: WA Business News, WA Department of Culture and the Arts and the Western Australian Museum (Perth).

Sally has actively pursued growing relationships and connections in the Asian region. As a 2015 Asialink Arts resident she exhibited a selection of short films in the International group show ‘False Start: Situational Exploratorium’ collaborating with 10 Taiwanese artists on The Ghost Project. She has been selected to participate in forums/events including Oz Asia Connect & Asia TOPA Connect, China SPAF & Wuzhen Theatre Festival (2017), Performing Asia Program (APAM 2018), ADAM 2 (Asia Discovers Asia Meeting in Taipei, 2018), Borak Arts Series (2018), Dance Massive (2019) and in 2019 premiered the four-year collaboration with Australian/Taiwanese artists GUI SHU at Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts.

In 2019 she showcased Steamworks works #thatwomanjulia &GUI SHU at Dance Massive, premiered CATCH! (MAXIMA for AWESOME Festival) in addition to directing MEDEA for Black Swan Theatre Company. Sally participated in Playwriting Australia's DUOLOGUES program and the Australia Council Arts Leaders Program 2019-20. In 2020 she showcased GUI SHU at APAM at AsiaTOPA & JULIA at PLWA Creative Hub, and her work MUSE was part of Strut/Tura New Music program Situ8 at STCWA.

In 2021 Sally is scheduled to direct Savage Grace by Alana Valentine and JULIA, a co-creation with Natalie Allen. Her online dance on film International collaboration with Emma Fishwick, Feminism Has No Borders, premieres at the Perth International Arts Festival.

In 2021 Steamworks celebrates 21 years of operation as an independent project company.


歸屬 GUI SHU wins awards for Best Stage Design & Best Lighting at Performing Arts Awards WA

歸屬 GUI SHU premiere season at Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts 2019

DANCE MASSIVE 2019 studio showcases GUI SHU (belong) and #thatwomanjulia

Steamworks Director selected for Australia Council Arts Leaders Program 2019

Asia Discovers Asia Meeting (Taipei) GUI SHU (belong) presentation 2018

#thatwomanjulia premieres Move Me Festival 2018

Trigger Warning published by Australian Script Centre (Australia Plays.org) 2017

Trigger Warning premieres PICA 2016 (co-produced with PLWA)

The Dirty Cowboy Runner Up Best Theatre Award - FRINGEWORLD 2015

Hong Kong Tour Hong Kong International People's Fringe Festival 2014

Rites: Dying to Dance Runner Up Best Dance Award - FRINGEWORLD 2014

Standing Bird 2 The Blue Room Theatre - Finalist Best Production, Best Performance, Judges Choice Awards, Ausdance WA Awards - Winner Most Outstanding Performance by Female Performer 2013

Opening of the Place of Reflection - Lotterywest - Kings Park 2012

The Ghost's Child World premiere - Mandurah Performing Arts Centre 2012

Standing Bird FRINGEWORLD 2012 - Finalist Best Dance Award, Finalist Best Newcomer, 2012 Dance Australia Critics Choice Awards - Outstanding Female Performer, Australian Dance Awards, Finalist Most Outstanding Performance by a Female Dancer

Live@Woodside community arts events 2008, 2009, 2010, Perth City/ Karratha Finalist ABAF Awards Business & Arts Partnership Award

WA Wheatbelt Festival The Drover's Wives 2008

International China Tour: China Shanghai International Arts Festival, Beijing International Dance Festival The Drover's Wives 2007

Perth International Arts Festival world premiere The Drover's Wives - Finalist Helpmann Awards - Best Original Score (Iain Grandage), Best Costume Design (Zoe Atkinson)
Finalist WA Ausdance Awards - Best Female Performer, Best Choreography, Winner Outstanding Achievement in Design.

Steamworks Arts Dance Australia Critics Choice Awards: Most Interesting Group and Best New Work The Drover's Wives 2006

Steamworks Arts acknowledges the Traditional Owners of this country across Australia, recognising their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures; and to elders both past, present and emerging.

Stay Connected

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.