Josh Armstrong is an interdisciplinary Director, characterised by bold design, visual composition and artistic collaboration.

Armstrong was born in Cleveland, Ohio and moved to Scotland in 2006. He studied Experimental Theater at New York University and Contemporary Performance Practice at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Armstrong has worked with Cryptic since 2009, becoming the first Cryptic Artist in 2011. He has directed the work of composers including Gavin Bryars, Oliver Coates, David Donaldson, Tan Dun, David Lang, Peter Maxwell Davies, Purcell and Shostakovich in productions that have been staged across the UK including Tramway, Glasgow; Summerhall, Edinburgh; Tolbooth, Stirling; Horsecross, Perth; Opera North, Leeds; Kings Place, London and St Magnus Festival, Orkney.

Further afield Armstrong’s work has been shown at De Singel, Antwerp; Melbourne Recital Centre and St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney, Australia; November Music, Den Bosch; Grand Theatre, Groningen and Rotterdamse Schouwburg during Operadagen and, National Theater and Concert Hall in Taipei, Taiwan.

Cryptic Commissions include:

From When I Wake

A poignantly staged, live performance of award-winning singer, songwriter and musician Kathryn Joseph’s second album, From When I Wake The Want Is, visualised by intimate and provocatively expressive design and lighting. 


Inspired by the North Sea Flood of 1953—which left the Netherlands devastated and took many lives in the UK and Belgium—this new music-theatre work explores the beauty and catastrophic power of the sea at a time of increased risk from climate change.

these delicate things

A multi-disciplinary performance in two acts, inspired by the life and work of the extraordinary photographer, Francesca Woodman, featuring Dmitri Shostakovich’s rarely heard String Quartet No 5 and Gavin Bryars’ String Quartet No 2.

Little Match Girl Passion

David Lang’s Pulitzer prize-winning The Little Match Girl Passion combines Hans Christian Anderson’s heart-breaking tale with JS Bach’s St Matthew Passion. The tragic story of the Little Match Girl is brought to life in this semi-staged performance.

Cryptic Commissions for Sonica include:


A cardboard box lunchtime adventure – full of sounds, tastes and smells. A bespoke moment just for you – the solo lunchtime muncher. Hidden behind treats and sweets a performance unfolds in the most unlikely of places.