Sue Dunderdale


Since leaving RADA IN 2014 Sue has directed Told Look Younger by Stephen Wyatt at the Jermyn Street Theatre and The Mad Man and the Sad Woman by Juan Radrigan at the Space Theatre. In 2018 she directed I’m Afraid of Amerikans at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. It was written by Joshua val Martin who last year received a special prize from the Bruntwood Award for his play, I Am Not an American. In 2019 she created and directed, again with Joshua Val Martin, A Permanent State of Emergency.

Sue was responsible for creating and running PENTABUS, based in the West Midlands, which still continues to tour innovative productions and new writing throughout the country.

She has been the Artistic Director of the Soho Theatre Company for a significant number of years in the 1980s where she was also responsible for doubling and embedding its funding.

She has also been the Artistic Director of Greenwich Theatre.


From the beginning of her life as a Director (she was Artistic Director of Pentabus by the age of 26) she has been dedicated to working with new writing, with living writers of every age, and also to radical approaches to the classics. Whilst Artistic Director of Greenwich she directed Othello with Hugh Quarshie as co-director and with a multi-racial cast which included Clarke Peters as Othello and Paul Barber as his black ensign, Iago. For Avon Touring she directed Measure for Measure set in Red Brigades Italy with a female Claudia (not Claudio), Provost and Poppeia (Pompey) to great critical acclaim. She continues in her passion for new and radical approaches to theatre and for working with new writing.

At present she is part of a company HEAD FOR HEIGHTS which she has developed with Professor Catherine Boyle (translator and writer) and Karen Morash (producer) aimed at finding and producing theatre writing from around the world which is dedicated to focussing on the lives of those confined to the margins of society, especially the poor, and putting these characters at the centre of the work where their voices can speak for themselves. The company produced Beasts (Las Brutas) by Juan Radrigán in 2012 and a production of The Mad Man and The Sad Woman (El Loco y La Triste) by Juan Radrigán in 2016 at the Space Theatre.  They are developing a translation of Las Arañas by Luis Barrales and Painecur by TeatroLaFamilia for future productions and are running Arts Council funded workshops toward this end.  The aim is to stay true to the original voice of the author and yet find the language which speaks to a British audience now.

For the next two years Sue is also developing productions of two late plays by Pam Gems “Winterlove” and “Despatches” both extraordinary plays by one of the great writers of the late twentieth century and also a new play by Joshua Val Martin In a Town Somewhere North of Milton Keynes.

More about Head for Heights Company

theatre1 Head for Heights is a theatre company dedicated to reinvigorating the approach to new theatre writing and translation. We aim to explore and produce works by significant playwrights, mainly from Europe and Latin America, whose work arises from diverse theatrical traditions, and to which UK audiences have had little exposure. Our focus is on discovering and exploring playwrights who examine the increasing number of peoples and communities worldwide whose lives are lived on the margins, economically, socially and in terms of access to power and influence.

The company is also committed to supporting emerging talent, by providing young directors and designers with employment and mentorship opportunities.

Recent projects include a critically and commercially four-week run of Chilean playwright Juan Radrigán’s Beasts (Las brutas) at Theatre503; a workshop exploring the language of Radrigán’s El loco y la triste (Man Man and Sad Woman); workshops and rehearsed readings of Radrigán’s Hechos Consumados; workshops on Argentinian writer Armando Discépolo’s Babylonia, including work with local immigrants with the aim of developing a community theatre-led approach. The company has received support from the Bush Theatre, Rich Mix, Amnesty International, King’s College London, RADA and the National Theatre Studio.


Karen Morash: Producer

Karen completed a course in producing at RADA (2007) under the aegis of the MA in Text and Performance.Since then, she has been involved in the production of a number of plays, including Bicycle (Camden People’s Theatre), Oorah! (Finborough Theatre) Bloody Poetry (White Bear Theatre), The Sicilian (Resolution! Festival) and, most recently, Beasts (Las brutas) for Head for Heights at Theatre503. Karen also produces a regular series of play readings titled ‘Goldsmiths Plays’.

Sue Dunderdale: Director

Sue Dunderdale is a freelance director and writer and also the Head of Directing at RADA. Her most recent production was The Brothers Karamazov in a newly commissioned version by Melissa Murray at the GBS studio, RADA. Previously she directed Beasts (Las brutas) by Juan Radrigán for Head for Heights at Theatre503. In the previous few years she has directed Wuthering Heights at York Theatre Royal where she has also directed the premier of Ms Pat by Pam Gems; Bottle Universe by Simon Burt at the Bush Theatre; Cold Hands by Chris Katic at Theatre503; Paradise Bound by Jonathan Larkin and The Way Home by Chloe Moss, both at the Liverpool Everyman. She has directed numerous dramas for television and short films, and has two films in development. During her career as a director she has been Artistic Director of Pentabus Theatre Company, the Soho Theatre and Greenwich Theatre.

Catherine Boyle: Translator and Writer

Catherine Boyle is Professor of Latin American Studies and Head of Department at King’s College London. Her academic work has led to a number of translations and theatre work, including the RSC for their Spanish Golden Age Season, for which she acted as academic consultant and translator of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz’s Los empeños de una casa as House of Desires (2004).

Catherine is Principal Investigator on the AHRC-funded Out of the Wings (, which has developed a database that provides access to nearly 300 Spanish-language plays to theatre practitioners.


Catherine also runs the ‘Translating Cultural Extremity Project’, which examines processes of translation of plays that seem culturally, geographically or experientially extreme and distant from our experiences in the UK. The project has developed translation and rehearsal techniques and methodologies, exploring processes of understanding of the multiplicity of interpretation needed for the development of the new play in translation.

Reviews of Beasts

“… this rigorously claustrophobic and effective production from Sue Dunderdale offers a glimpse of another world … It is impossible not to be moved.”
The Guardian

“Sue Dunderdale’s atmospheric production elegantly evokes the rhythms of these women’s lives and Boyle’s translation includes a measure of lightness and humour to balance out the otherwise unrelenting nature of their existence … the production as a whole makes a case for the play as a work of considerable power and importance.”
The Stage

“Accomplished direction from Sue Dunderdale … This new production makes it easy to see why an underexposed Chilean playwright deserves such rich praise.”

“Carolyn Pickles is impressively resolute as older sister Justa… She seems all but merged with the mountainside, her voice sunken like the earth and her body permanently on its haunches.”
Time Out

“Cogan, Pickles and Cavanah are outstanding… Beasts is a demanding, passionate play, and with deprivation and marginalisation so high on the current domestic agenda, its UK premiere could not come at a better time. *****”

© Sue Dunderdale 2014