News & Insights

Meet The Team Behind Hercules

By Daniel Schlusser Ensemble, haunted by Euripides

Daniel Schlusser Ensemble (DSE) was founded in 2009 and has created an astonishing range of projects – radical re-workings of plays, site-specific chamber opera, video installation, ambitious adaptations, and intimate works for motion simulation technology. Their philosophy is that content leads form, which results in the embrace of both traditional and new solutions.

We’re delighted to introduce you to the team behind their exciting new work, Hercules.

The Creative Team

Daniel Schlusser

Daniel Schlusser is an artist who creates theatre, opera and installation work. He is a performer, dramaturg, writer and director. As Artistic Director of Daniel Schlusser Ensemble, he has created nine productions over ten year: They Divided the Sky (DSE/Belvoir 25A), Stretch (DSE/La Mama), M+M (DSE/TheatreWorks/ Melbourne Festival), Menagerie (DSE/Melbourne Theatre Company’s NEON Festival of Independent Theatre), the cross-form opera Ophelia doesn’t live here anymore (DSE/Chamber Made Opera/Bell Shakespeare’s Mind’s Eye initiative), Poet #7 (DSE/Victorian Arts Centre), Life is a Dream (DSE/Store Room), The Dollhouse (DSE at fortyfive downstairs) and Peer Gynt (DSE/Victorian College of the Arts). Over five eligible productions the Ensemble earned twelve Victorian Green Room nominations winning, amongst others, Best Sound Design and Best Ensemble for M+M. Schlusser was a participant in Arts House’s 2019 Time, Place, Space residency and in 2018 Resident Artist at the Mechanics Institute, Brunswick. He has received an Ian Potter, the George Fairfax Memorial Award, a Besen Family Fellowship, an Australia Council Professional Development grant, and a Goethe Institut ‘Key Cultural Personnel’ grant. He holds an MA (by research) in Theatre Directing from the Victorian College of the Arts.

Romanie Harper
Set & Costume Designer

Romanie Harper is a Melbourne based theatre maker and Designer. Recent design credits include What Am I Supposed to Do? and Equinox (Deep Souful Sweats), Australian Realness, Trustees, Good Muslim Boy, Little Emperors and Turbine (Malthouse), The Violent Outburst That Drew Me To You (MTC), Die! Die! Die! Old People Die!, We All Know Whats Happening and Never Trust A Creative City (Arts House),Contest and Moral Panic (Darebin Speakeasy, 2018), Bottomless, This Is Eden, Resident Alien and Triumph (fortyfivedownstairs), Desert 6.29pm, Jurassica and Splendour (Red Stitch) Conviction (ZLMD Shakespeare, 2016), M+M (Daniel Schlusser Ensemble), The Sovereign Wife (Sisters Grimm, NEON), The Judgement (LaMama) META (Malthouse Helium), The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant and Bright World (Theatre Works), and Madonna Arms (Next Wave). In New York she has worked with The Wooster Group, and co-designed Radiohole’s Inflatable Frankenstein (The Kitchen, 2013).

Bethany J Fellows
Set & Costume Designer

Bethany J. Fellows is a Melbourne based artist and designer. Holding a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Newcastle (2004) and a Bachelor of Fine Art with Honours (2010) from Monash University, she studied at VCA under the Masters of Design for Performance program in 2017. She is interested in participatory practices involving food, experimental saunas and slime.

Amelia Lever-Davidson
Lighting Designer

Amelia Lever-Davidson is a lighting designer based in Melbourne, whose practice encompasses theatre, dance, live art, television and events. Her recent works include Every Brilliant Thing (Belovir), The Nico Project (Associate for Paule Constable, Melbourne Festival), DIASPORA (Chamber Made), What Am I Supposed To Do? (Deep Soulful Sweats/Arts Centre Takeover), Australian Realness (Malthouse Theatre), The Violent Outburst That Drew Me To You (MTC), EQUINOX (Deep Soulful Sweats/ Castlemaine Festival), Moral Panic (Double Water Sign, Darebin SpeakEasy), Next Move 11 (Chunky Move), Trustees (Malthouse Theatre), They Divided The Sky (25A Belvoir), Hand to God (Vass Productions), Desert 6.29pm (Red Stitch), Niche (Elbow Room & SpeakEasy), Looking Glass (45 Downstairs).Amelia is a multiple Green Room Award winner and nominee. Amelia was awarded for her work on Contest (2018), Looking Glass (2017), and for her 2015 body of work. Amelia has been nominated for her lighting designs for Moral Panic (Darebin SpeakEasy), Ground Control (Next Wave), Dropped (Melbourne Fringe), and Foxfinder (Red Stitch).

James Paul
Composer, Sound & AV Designer

James Paul is an artist whose media are sound, video, space, light, and time. Their work is experienced on stage, screen, radio, and internet; or can be seen in the flesh in galleries and museums around Australia. James makes work that focuses on physical experience, amplifying imperceptible things to the scale of direct encounter. The work is fueled by obsession with properties and behaviours of the physical world; duality, chaos, topology, and semiosis. Recent performance works include They Divided the Sky (Daniel Schlusser), Wake in Fright (Declan Greene), and Australian Realness (Janice Muller).

Erin Milne

Erin Milne is an independent producer whose practice, Bureau of Works, is deeply driven by a passion for contemporary and experimental art that speaks to the here and now. Erin is a sought-after collaborator with some of Australia’s most distinctive and ambitious artists, including: Madeleine Flynn & Tim Humphrey, Ridiculusmus, Jodee Mundy Collaborations, one step at a time like this, Anna Tregloan, Chris Kohn & Collaborators, Jackson Castiglione, Too Close to the Sun and Sarah Austin & Collaborators. She is a producing and curatorial associate of Experimenta Media Arts and Punctum Live Arts, and a current ISPA Fellowship for 2020-2022.

Cassandra Fumi
Production Manager

Cassandra Fumi is a theatre maker and stage manager. Recent SM credits include; Easy Riders (Rising – APHIDS), UNWOMAN (THE RABBLE), Anthem (Performing Lines), We All Know What’s Happening (Cambeltown Arts, Vitalstatistix (show director), Zurich Theater Spectacle, Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival Groningen), 33 Variations (The Comedy Theatre), BROKEN (fortyfivedownstairs), LONE (THE RABBLE – Arts House), Book of Exodus P2 (Fraught Outfit), Angels in America Part 1 & 2 (fortyfivedownstairs). Directing credits include; THE MERMAID (La Mama Theatre), DOG SHOW (Melbourne Fringe Hub – Winner Best Emerging Theatre Ensemble), The Places You’ll Go (Adelaide Fringe – Winner Best Theatre). Cassandra is also the Associate Artist on Body of Knowledge & Body of Knowledge at Home with Samara Hersch 2020-2022, Production manager/mentor on the Let’s Take Over Program since 2019 and runs a drama program at Parkville Youth Justice Centre. 

Theresa O’Connor
Stage Manager

Theresa O’Connor is a Stage Manager, Puppeteer and Theatre Maker working from Arts House Post Office Artist Studios. Her Stage Management credits includes work with such companies as Arena Theatre Company, Arts House, Melbourne Theatre Company, Tasdance and most recently Dance House with Ngioka Bunda-Heath’s production of Bridge. Her festival credits include Melbourne International Arts Festival, Mona Foma, Ten Days on the Island, Adelaide Fringe Festival and Assembly Festival (Edinburgh Fringe Festival). As a puppeteer, Theresa has performed for Terrapin Puppet Theatre, Born in a Taxi, Dan Goronszy Arts and Spare Parts Puppet Theatre. She is a core puppeteer for A Blanck Canvas and most recently performed in the national tour of Bluey’s Big Play. Her independent company, Salt and Poppet Theatre creates puppet theatre works that are daring and different with her most recent work. Inside the Walls, A Giant Popup Book Ghost Story winning the Best Children’s Event at the Adelaide Fringe Festival. This is Theresa’s second production with Bureau of Works, the first being POST’s production of Oedipus Schmoedipus.

Celina Mack
Assistant Stage Manager

Celina Mack is a Naarm based director, stage manager and performer experimenting with absurdism, hybridisation, interactivity and collective introspection through devising live art and performance works. As the co-founder of STRANGEkit Performance Collective, they have spent the past two years making theatrical events in digital spaces, directing surreal, platform-hopping treasure hunts (HOLESP@CE, 2020) and zoom-devised, shapeshifting podcasts (UnderEden WALKMAN Explorers Edition, 2021). Celina has recently stage managed shows including Yumi Umiumare’s performance installation Buried TeaBowl – Okuni (BLACKCAT Gallery, 2022) and Blackrock at Platform Arts Projects (June 2022). They have assistant directed The Mermaid alongside Cassandra Fumi (La Mama Theatre, 2021) and Take Me To Your Leader with Born In A Taxi (Melbourne Fringe Festival, 2020). Celina has a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Performance Studies from Monash University and has completed performance training with VCA, Meisner Melbourne and Studio Sonder.


Katherine Tonkin

Katherine Tonkin has over 20 years professional experience working in the live performance sector. She’s worked with many of Australia’s leading Main Stage and Independent Theatre Companies, as well as playing to festivals both nationally and overseas. As a writer and/or devisor she has had worked commissioned and/or presented by companies including Black Swan State Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre, Sydney Opera House and The Barbican UK. As a performer, she has appeared on stages for MTC, STC, Belvoir, Malthouse, Griffin, Bell Shakespeare, Lucy Guerin Inc., Brisbane Powerhouse, Theatreworks, Daniel Schlusser Ensemble, The Hayloft Project, Stuck Pigs Squealing, Uncle Semolina & Friends, Melbourne International Arts Festival, Perth International Arts Festival, Next Wave, and others. She has an established body of work in the Screen Sector, and regularly works as a Voiceover Artist.

Mary Helen Sassman

Mary Helen Sassman works as a freelance actor, devisor, singer and is a founding ensemble member of feminist performance collective: THE RABBLE. Mary Helen has extensive experience in devising and performing high impact, physical, feminist works and is well known for her expertise in improvisation and co creation. For THE RABBLE Mary Helen has created and performed in many works including: Unwoman (The SUBSTATION), Joan (Wuhan Festival, China | Vitalstatistix), Abel in Cain and Abel (Substation, Belvoir), Victor Frankenstein in Frankenstein (Malthouse Theatre), O in Story of O (MTC Neon), Queen Elizabeth I and Sasha in Orlando (Dark Mofo, Brisbane Festival, Malthouse Helium/Melbourne Festival), Lord Henry in Room Of Regret (Melbourne Festival, Theatre Works), Augustus in Cageling (Downstairs 45 | Carriageworks) and Salome in Salome (Carriageworks). She is currently developing two new works with THE RABBLE : YES (Artshouse) and NIGHT (Castlemaine State Festival).

Edwina Wren

Edwina Wren is a core member of the Daniel Schlusser Ensemble. She has performed in in M+M at Theatre Works as part of the 2013 Melbourne International Arts Festival (Green Room Award Best Ensemble), Menagerie (MTC Neon), Dollshouse (45 Downstairs), Poet#7 (Victorian Arts Centre) and Peer Gynt. Other theatre includes: The Histrionic (Sydney Theatre Company/Malthouse Theatre), Dogs Barking (dir: Sam Strong), Spring Awakening (The Hayloft Project), and Two (Ming-zhu Hii). Her film credits include Turkey Shoot, Canopy, Triple Happiness and ‘M’. For television: Syfy Channel’s Hunters and Childhood’s End, The Dr Blake Mysteries, Offspring, Rush, City Homicide, Secret Life of Us and Blue Heelers.



Hercules – Daniel Schlusser Ensemble
Tue 24 – Sat 28 May, 2022

GA $20 / BLAKTIX $10

Tickets can be booked here

Images courtesy of the artist.

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Hercules Q&A

An unflinching theatrical descent into a dark underworld of heroes, gods and monsters.

The making of Hercules

An artist statement by Daniel Schlusser Ensemble