Meet the Team: Ria Samartzi

Today we are getting to know a bit more about Conviction director, Ria Samartzi. Ria has previously directed The Brownie Club (Watford Palace Studio), The House of Cards (The Albany, Deptford) and Lavender Hill Boys (The Lion & Unicorn Theatre) amongst many other projects in collaboration with SITI company, as well as having a plethora of experience in other aspects of theatre production. Usually hidden away behind the scenes, here we get a glimpse into her work and thoughts.

How did you get into directing?

Having originally trained as a performer in movement based and devised theatre, I tried to be an actor in the traditional sense but that was not fulfilling enough, for me. Somehow I found my way into stage management and producing but, again, I did not find that fulfilling enough. Then I realised what I needed was something that combines both the creative and the administrative, both the practical and the intangible, leading me to directing.

What made you want to direct Conviction?

I was really intrigued by the characters and by the fact that this is an unknown story, yet it rings true in what is happening in the world today. I was drawn to it because it has two female protagonists pitted against each other and I like the idea of making a period drama with a twist.

How did you get on-board with Conviction and Playful Moon Theatre?

I met Rebecca and Gabi back in 2007 when we were all budding young physical theatre performers, training at East15. It took us six years after graduating to find a project and the right circumstances to work together but I am so thrilled they asked me to be involved with Playful Moon’s Conviction.

Sum up Conviction in three words for us.

Ideas. Family. Loyalty.

What do you think the most challenging aspect of this production is/ will be?

I think the big challenge of this production is to introduce story, characters and context that is not necessarily well known in this country without it feeling like a history lesson and without is compromising the artistic integrity of the piece.

Why should we come to see the show?

Come see the show to discover something and if you want to tap into the collective memories of bad things that happen.

Finally, who in the Conviction team do you think is most likely to be convicted of a crime?

That potentially might be our composer, Jon Whitten, who would be rollerblading somewhere he is not meant to.

Conviction is playing at Above the Arts between 3 – 8 October 2016. For more information and tickets visit: