Sam Foster | Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director

Ahead of Shock Therapy Productions’ first performance at RPAC, we took the opportunity to find out more about the performance and the company from Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director, Sam Foster.

Medea is an ancient and iconic story, what drew you to create this production in 2022?
I have always been interested in Greek theatre and Greek mythology, so we were keen to put our own spin on this classic piece. Also, we are always trying to think about creating work that speaks to the time and addresses current social issues. Even though it was written 2,500 years ago, we are still living in a world where women are treated very differently to men and although there have been many positive changes and steps towards gender equity, I think Euripides would agree that there is still a long way to go.

How did Shock Therapy Productions start?
Hayden and myself have been friends for about 20 years and have always been mutual fans of each other’s work. In 2014, we had the opportunity to work together on a couple of different projects. We soon realised that we shared a very similar aesthetic and approach to making theatre so we decided to take the leap and build our own “Pirate Ship” and we have been sailing the theatrical seas ever since.

You’ve worked as an actor, director and a stuntman on major Hollywood films – how was working on Mad Max: Fury Road?
Fury Road was a wild experience and one that I will never forget. It was a steep learning curve for me as it was my first major film as a stunt performer, and by far the biggest production I have ever been involved in. To be in a production of that scale was a real eye-opening experience and on top of that, it was very surreal to be part of such an iconic film. We all knew at the time that we were creating something pretty special, so that was an exciting feeling. Having said all that, it was probably the hardest job I have ever been on. It was a real grind. Nine months living in the desert in Namibia, long days, physically demanding, emotionally draining and psychologically testing.

Thinking about all the incredible art that has been made recently across film, TV and theatre, what are some standout works for you?
Well in terms of theatre, the companies that I am most inspired by are Frantic Assembly and Punchdrunk. I think the work they make is incredible and their use of the body and physicality is great. In terms of TV (or series at least) I’m a big fan of Ozark, The Handmaid’s Tale, Peaky Blinders and Squid Game. I think there is a real shift towards series with all the streaming services now so there is a lot more money and energy going into TV as opposed to film. As a result, there doesn’t seem to be that many amazing films being made. The best films that I’ve seen in recent times were probably Nitram, and before that, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Parasite.