Samara Hersch Announced as the 2022 Hyperlocal Artist

One of Samara Hersch’s previous works ‘Dybbuk(s)’, presented in 2018. Photo by Pia Johnson.

We are thrilled to announce Samara Hersch as Hyperlocal’s inaugural artist. As part of this pilot program, Samara will work with Abbotsford Convent, Dancehouse, Darebin Arts and The Substation, as a consortium of arts organisations to develop an innovative new performance work, produced by Performing Lines.

Samara’s project, It’s Going to Get Dark, considers how critical and radical perspectives might emerge whilst sitting in the dark with other human and non-human bodies. This new work continues Samara’s investigation into critical trans-generational discourse and the potentials of performance as conversation.

Samara will conduct four different labs in each organisation exploring: working intergenerationally (Abbotsford Convent); social choreographic practices (Dancehouse); the materiality of light and darkness (Darebin Arts); and sound spatialisation and design (The Substation). Samara will be working with a team of exciting artists from various disciplines.

Exemplifying Samara’s ability to move between the live, the virtual, and a multiplicity of simultaneous spaces, It’s Going to Get Dark was selected for its rich creative offering, its unique engagement of each Hyperlocal partner and their distinct communities, and its potential to forge exciting new linkages across Melbourne.

A black and white headshot of Samara Hersch. Samara is a slender white woman. In the picture she has short dark hair and a hoop earring in her right ear. She wears a loose white shirt with a black emblem in the middle. Samara Hersch. Photo by Pier Carthew.

On being selected as the inaugural recipient, Samara states:

Its Going To Get Dark questions what it means to assemble, to listen, and to attempt to navigate the unknown together. I am thrilled to embark on this research in the context of the Hyperlocal commission and to consider new ways of developing work in conversation with multi arts centres and local contexts. As my practice is research based, participatory and is developed by working closely with local communities and test audiences, I see this as a unique opportunity to build meaningful connections and to let these encounters and local perspectives inform the way the work continues to develop.”


On a fundamental level, Hyperlocal is driven by collaboration. The program is highly responsive to artist’s needs and requirements, and the consortium collaborates by supporting and facilitating the artist’s evolution. Each organisation has distinct and specific offerings of both space and knowledge of their own audiences and communities. It is through the pooling of these resources that Hyperlocal creates an innovative model of arts-making. The five partners will work with Samara, through regular meetings and resource sharing, to provide insight and advise on everything from production to audience engagement. With a flexible and agile model, Samara is empowered to maintain a rolling conversation with each organisation, who can respond to the artist’s needs according to their specific expertise; facilitating effectively at appropriate times, in appropriate ways.

Hyperlocal, supported by Creative Victoria and The Besen Family Foundation, is an experimental program that has invited artists to propose innovative ways of collaborating “hyperlocally” with the four arts organisations; and embraces the spirit of experimentation and play. Although this is a new initiative, the number of quality artist applications—as well as their diversity of form and content—has provided an insight into the hunger for this type of creative approach. This has also sparked an interest from each of these iconic spaces to engage in new collaborative ways into the future.

Speaking as a collective, the consortium of arts organisations states:

The only way we could traverse the significantly adverse impacts of COVID-19 restrictions was, and is, through collaboration between presenters and creators. Amongst the challenges COVID-19 has provided, this is an opportunity to consider how we can join forces more effectively to generate change and positive impact for the arts industry and communities. Hyperlocal is an exciting collaborative experiment between organisations and artists to enable more experimentation within our sector – something that, as indicated by the interest in Hyperlocal – is in high demand. By fostering this unique relationship between presenters, producers, and artists, Hyperlocal provides the platform to bridge the boundaries that exist even between proximate spaces, the arts sector, and local communities.”


A motif of Samara’s work is the bringing together of people who may otherwise be separated—be it by age or by place—into critical conversation. Performing Lines looks forward to working with her, and each of the Hyperlocal partners who initiated this concept, to enliven our practice and our communities in the wake of widespread isolation, while pioneering an innovative model for the development of local art.

Samara Hersch Biography

Samara Hersch is an artist and director whose practice explores the intersection of contemporary performance and community engagement. She recently completed her Masters at Das Theatre in Amsterdam. Her current research is an exploration into public acts of intimacy through imagining new artistic frames for non-professional performers and audiences to inhabit.

Her recent body of work focuses on critical trans-generational dialogue with an enquiry into conversation as performance. These works include: Body of Knowledge, a work that invites teenagers to host conversations with adults regarding questions they have about the body and body politic (presented at BUDA, Belgium 2020, SICK! Festival, Manchester 2019, Liveworks Festival, Sydney 2019, Spielart Festival Munich 2019); Sex and Death an intimate encounter led by performers in their seventies (Festival of Live Art, Arts House 2016, Victorian Seniors’ Festival 2016, Modestraat, Amsterdam 2019); Dybbuks– a feminist conversation with the dead (Chamber Made 2018), For the Time Being a remote, inter-generational encounter (Auawirleben Festival, Bern 2020, Kammerspiele, Munich 2020, Far Fabrique, Nyon 2020, West Kowloon, Hong Kong 2021).

Some of these works have recently been adapted to remote experiences in response to the pandemic; (Sex and Death and the Internet, commissioned by Darwin Festival and Sydney Festival through the Major Festivals Initiative in 2020 and Body of Knowledge – At Home, co-commissioned by Zurich Theater Spektakel and Kampnagel Sommerfestival, 2020). Body of Knowledge- At Home was selected for Impulse Theatre Festival, Germany (2021).

Samara has recently been an artist in residence at Theatre Rotterdam and is part of the EU Network; ACT; Art Climate Transition.

Samara acknowledges that her practice has been developed and presented on the lands of the Kulin Nation whose sovereignty has never been ceded and pays respect to Elders past, present and emerging.

Click here to read Samara’s full biography.

It’s Going to Get Dark by Samara Hersch, produced by Freya Waterson.

Hyperlocal is a joint commissioning program with Abbotsford Convent, Dancehouse, Darebin Arts and The Substation, produced by Performing Lines.

This project is supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria, and The Besen Family Foundation.

In everything we do, we acknowledge that we live on Aboriginal land and constantly learn from the wisdom of First Peoples.

Where we are and the history that precedes us informs how we work and how we move forward.