About

‘Who needed sets, when Rayner effectively had six pieces of human scenery to play with? [...] It was fantastically detailed stuff, intrinsic to the storytelling.’
- Erica Jeal, The Guardian, SERSE (Director)

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Sam is a director and movement director - working across opera, theatre and comedy. His work includes Critic’s Picks in Playbill and The New York Times, shows listed in The Guardian’s “Readers’ Favourite Stage Shows of 2022”, award-winning and OFFIE-nominated productions, and movement for television productions produced by Tiger Aspect, Netflix, HBO and A24.

A full list of his work can be viewed here.

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His recent directing credits include acrobatic stagings of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM and SERSE for Opera Holland Park (‘fantastically detailed’, The Guardian / ‘a tremendous success’, Broadway World); a UK tour of MAN OF ONE HUNDRED FACES, a story of espionage in Revolutionary Russia (listed in The Guardian’s “Readers’ Favourite Stage Shows of 2022”); ongoing UK and international tours of both THE MAN WHO THOUGHT HE KNEW TOO MUCH - a film-noir pastiche (‘physical theatre at its most immaculate’, The Scotsman) - and THE LIFE SPORADIC OF JESS WILDGOOSE - a counter-historical account of the 2008 financial crisis (’staged with style’, The Guardian); and FIVE YEARS WITH THE WHITE MAN - a biographical play inspired by the life of Sierra Leonean satirist ABC Merriman Labor (published by Nick Hern Books / ‘Rayner directs with a sure hand and clear vision’, Salterton Arts Review).

As a movement director, Sam‘s work includes collaborations with comedians Jack Whitehall, Charlotte Ritchie, Leo Reich, Richard Gadd, Liam Williams and Jordan Brookes. His movement direction credits include: JACK WHITEHALL: AT LARGE (Hammersmith Apollo/UK Tour/NETFLIX); LEO REICH: LITERALLY WHO CARES?! (The Guardian’s “Best Comedy Show of 2022”, streamed in partnership with HBO and A24); SHEEPS: LIVE & LOUD (Soho Theatre/Pleasance Courtyard) - where The Guardian described the show’s ‘razzle-dazzle song-and-dance opener’ as ‘intensely funny’; and JORDAN BROOKES: BLEED (Soho Theatre/Pleasance Courtyard), described as ‘a fearless display of physicality that shape shifts from ludicrous tomfoolery to raw menace.’ (The List)

Sam is a co-Artistic Director of the multi-award-winning international physical theatre company Voloz Collective and new-writing company Unleash the Llama.

Sam has directed and developed a number of new musical theatre productions: including ELIXIR (by Stefan Abingdon and Liam George) and LITTLE FIEND (by Scott Bramley and Sam WIlliams).

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Sam’s credits as Associate Director include Broken Wings (Theatre Royal Haymarket/Dubai Opera/Katara Opera); Umm Kulthum and the Golden Era (London Palladium/Dubai Opera) and The Adventures of Pinocchio (Ambassador’s Theatre). He regularly associate directs for Helen Eastman and Olivier-nominee Bronagh Lagan.

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Sam has delivered workshops for the Royal Northern College of Music, Associated Studios, and St Mary’s University. He leads workshops internationally for Voloz Collective and teaches movement at Actors Door Studio.

Sam trained at Cambridge University and l’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq. He has full working proficiency in French and Spanish.