“Schlusser has demonstrated that he is one of the most exciting theatre directors working in Australia.” Theatrenotes

Daniel is an artist who creates theatre, opera and installation-work. His most recent projects include adapting and directing Christa Wolf’s novel They Divided the Sky,  and Nest a collaboration with Genevieve Lacey and Ben Cobham at the Melbourne Recital Centre. Current projects include co-writing and performing Trustees with Belarus Free Theatre for Malthouse as part of the upcoming Melbourne Festival.

As Artistic Director of Daniel Schlusser Ensemble he has created eight productions over nine years (see DSE bio below). Other directing highlights include two works adapted by Tom Wright, Bernhard’s The Histrionic for Malthouse/Sydney Theatre Company and Euripides’ Medea for the 2002 Melbourne Festival. For the hoist theatre group, Ostrovsky’s It’s a Family Affair and Gogol’s The Government Inspector. Richter’s Siebensekunden, Paravadino’s Genoa 01 and Terrorism by the Presnyakov Brothers for the 2003 Dublin International Festival, Dürrenmatt’s The Visit, Barker’s The Early Hours of a Reviled Man and Fassbinder’s Blood on the Cat’s Neck. Premiere productions of new Australian work including Ben Ellis’ Zombie State for Melbourne Workers Theatre/Union House Theatre, Fregmonto Stokes’ Yellow Peril for Platform Youth Theatre/La Mama, Angus Cerini’s The Barbeque for La Mama, and numerous works by Jack Hibberd including the premiere productions of The Death of Ivan Ilych, Legacy, Long Time No See and Slam Dunk (all La Mama) as well as his plays The Overcoat and Odyssey of a Prostitute, and The Prodigal Son for Playbox.

Schlusser was commissioned by the Melbourne Theatre Company to translate and adapt Schiller’s Mary Stuart. His dramaturgy credits include co-dramaturg and translator for Complexity of Belonging, a Chunky Move/Melbourne Theatre Company/Melbourne Festival/ Théâtre National de Chaillot/ Berlin Schaubühne co-production that toured widely. He was dramaturg on Rachel Perks’ Ground Control for Next Wave Festival 2016 and co-dramaturg on The Collected Works of Victor Bergman, which premiered at fortyfive downstairs and was presented at REPETITION/S festival in Ljubljana in September 2016.

As a performer Schlusser’s work includes Trapper directed by Christian Leavesley and Jolyon James (Arena Theatre Company at the Victorian Arts Centre and the Sydney Opera House) which was nominated for a Green Room Award for Best Ensemble, The Judgement directed by Samara Hersch (La Mama), the role of ‘Husband’ in Adena Jacob’s multi-award winning production of Persona (TheatreWorks/ Malthouse/Belvoir), and Laius in Matthew Lutton’s production On the Misconception of Oedipus (Malthouse/Perth TC) which won a Green Room Award for Best Ensemble. With THE RABBLE he has created the role of Herod in Salome (Carriageworks) and the role of Bernarda Alba in Cageling (fortyfive downstairs/Carriageworks) for which he was nominated for a Green Room Award for Best Male Actor. Kill Hamlet was a solo directed by Justus Neumann that premiered at La Mama and went on to seasons at The Universal and Griffin Theatres.

Schlusser holds an MA (by research) in Theatre Directing from the Victorian College of the Arts. He is the 2018 Artist in Residence at The Mechanics Institute, 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 assisted Bruce Gladwin on Back to Back’s development Tour Guide in Linz, Austria, observed the rehearsal process of Armin Petras at SchauspielFrankfurt, assisted Neil Armfield, and attended the prestigious Young Directors Forum as part of the Berlin Theatertreffen.


Daniel Schlusser Ensemble creates theatre that is “Confident, exuberant and utterly, utterly dazzling” (Chris Boyd, Peer Gynt); “Beautiful, uncompromising, lacerating” (Alison Croggon, Menagerie); and which “detonate abiding notions of theatre and performance” (Rebecca Harkins-Cross, M+M).

Daniel Schlusser Ensemble (DSE) was founded in 2009 and has created an astonishing range of projects – radical re-workings of plays, chamber opera, video installation, ambitious adaptations, and an intimate work for motion simulation technology. DSE has worked in collaboration with institutions such as Belvoir’s 25A program, Chamber Made, RMIT, Bell Shakespeare’s Mind’s Eye initiative, Melbourne Theatre Company, Theatre Works and Melbourne Festival to create: They Divided the Sky, M+M (adapted from Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita), Menagerie, Ophelia doesn’t live here anymore, Poet #7, Life is a Dream, The Dollhouse, and Peer Gynt.

DSE has garnered extraordinary critical acclaim and a combined total of 12 Victorian Green Room nominations over 5 eligible productions, most recently winning Best Ensemble for M+M.

DSE has a core belief in the value of ensemble-created theatre, as both an ethical and artistic position. We use a methodology that excites us, terrifies us and respects our vocational status as artists to play and dream publically. We take huge risks, exploring impossible texts, grand ideas and foundational philosophies. We learn as we go, what we are and want we want to be.