Master of Arts: Directing, 2019
Following more than 15 years of experience in dance theatre, Deborah graduated from AFTRS in 2020 with a Masters in Screen Directing. Her capstone project for AFTRS, Bala, has made the official selection for various film festivals including ImagineNATIVE Film Festival, Toronto, Flickerfest, Sydney and the Brisbane International Film Festival. Concurrently she has been exploring directing theatre as an assistant to some of Australia’s top directors as well as delivering choreography for various projects. Her most recent project, directing for the newly commissioned Children’s Series, Barrumbi Kids, is due to air on NITV in 2022.
Deborah was previously a Senior Artist and choreographer with world renowned Bangarra Dance Theatre. She was awarded the 2013 Helpmann Award for Best Female Dancer in a Dance or Physical Theatre Production, for Terrain. That same year, she made her choreographic and directorial debut, creating a short dance film titled dive paying homage to the Pearl Shell divers of the Torres Strait Islands for Bangarra’s season of Dance Clan 3, leading her to co-create IBIS as part of the Lore national season in 2015. Her career highlights with Bangarra were returning to Country – including Mer Island and Yirrkala – performing at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Harvey Theatre and partnering with The Australian Ballet at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.
Deborah has explored independent work as a choreographer, director and actor. She was the recipient of the 2015 Australia Council Creative Fund where she directed and choreographed local talent for a short film, hide, in association with Campbelltown Arts Centre. She choreographed and assisted the new Australian production, Spinifex Gum, a collaboration with Felix Riebl, Ollie McGill and Marliya of Gondwana Choirs, including a pre-game performance at Dreamtime at the G for the Australian Football League, as well as sell out seasons at Adelaide Festival 2018 and Sydney Festival 2019, with a recent highlight performing at Garma Festival.
She was also assistant director and choreographer for the world premiere of The Long Forgotten Dream, directed by Neil Armfield for Sydney Theatre Company as well as The Beauty Queen of Leenane, directed by Paige Rattray and Wonnangatta directed by Jessica Arthur. She was also Associate Director to Anthea Williams on Winyanboga Yurringa as well participating in Belvoir’s 2020 Artists at Work program.
As a performer in 2017 she returned to acting as the lead Layla, in the short film Water, directed by John Harvey. In 2019 she was featured in Angelica Mesiti’s Assembly 2019 as part of the 58th Venice Biennale.
The friends I made from my cohort as well as challenging a different part of my thought process.
Meeting and collaborating with a new generation of actors on Barrumbi Kids. The most rewarding experience was watching how they grew and developed in just weeks and to witness their innate approach to storytelling.