Sarah Derendinger studied photography at the Berne Academy of Art. She took a course in modern dance at the Amsterdam School of Drama and from 1988 to 1993 specialised in audiovisual art at the Basel Art Academy. She obtained her third degree as a film director by participating in Ekran+, a training course for European film directors in Warsaw. Since 1993, Derendinger has been working as a freelance film director, author and video artist. She regularly participates in various international film festivals and a number of her films and installations have been acquired by public institutions. Derendinger has been working with Calixto Bieito since 2013. Their first joint work was Zimmermann's Die Soldaten in Zurich, which was later transferred to the Komische Oper in Berlin and the Teatro Real in Madrid. Further collaborations include Reimann's Lear in Paris, Halevy's La Juive in Munich and Prokofiev's The Fire Angel. Their version of Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea was performed in Zurich, Schoenberg's Moses und Aron and Ligeti's Le grand macabre in Dresden's Semperoper. She also works with other directors, including Jossi Wieler, Jürgen Flimm, Joachim Schlömer, Karin Beier and Heiner Goebbels. Derendinger's work for Bernardo Atxaga's play Obabakoak at Bilbao's Teatro Arriaga was awarded the Premis de la critica for video design in 2017.
With Die ersten Menschen Sarah Derendinger makes her debut at Dutch National Opera.