Deborah Brown Masterclass

Date and Time: Wednesday 19 Oct, 1pm to 3pm

Venue: Talbot Theatre, Thomas Dixon Centre


Join Deborah Brown, one of Bangarra Dance Theatre’s former & foremost Senior Artists, Principal Dancer & 2013 Helpmann Award Winner for Australia’s Best Female Dancer, who today is breaking new & exciting creative ground not only as a Theatre & Film Director but also as a Producer & Dance Choreographer. She shares her insights, perspectives & lessons learnt from when she transitioned from Dancer & Performer on stage to Choreographer & Director of Dance Films – the mental shift, physical shift & the harnessing of the shift in landscape & the myriad of challenges that ensued from taking that leap from stage to screen; working with DOP’s & Cinematographers, who understand, or who are willing to engage with dance as a subject matter; the Cultural Protocols to be considered, recognised & embraced, when telling First Nation stories; the differences that exist between creating a Dance Narrative for film & a Dance Scene, or Sequence for television. This is a must for any new dance & existing filmmakers, who want to find their creative voice, expand their knowledge & understand the challenges faced in forging a path in dance storytelling on film.

Deborah will be sharing examples of her works.

The masterclass will conclude with an open Q&A.


Following more than 15 years of experience in dance theatre, in 2020 Deborah graduated with her Masters in Screen Directing at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS). 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. Bala is currently screening on ABC iView. She recently directed for the newly commissioned Children’s Series, Barrumbi Kids, due to air on NITV in 2022 and will be directing the new Australian work, Blue by Thomas Weatherall, for Belvoir St Theatre’s 2023 season.

Deborah was 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, Terrain. That same year, she was named one of Arts Queensland’s Culture Champion’s for her contribution to the Queensland arts and culture sector as well as making 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. Her more recent piece, The Wave, was for the inaugural season of Project Animo’s And Now We Move On, 2022. 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 is choreographer for Spinifex Gum, a collaboration with Felix Riebl, Ollie McGill and Marliya of Gondwana Choirs. 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.