Deborah is a performance maker, performer, lecturer and director whose bold, highly visual and physical works use multiple theatrical languages to investigate gender, culture and contemporary issues.
Her most recent major works include: unHOWsed, which she directed/designed/co-created, with an ensemble of mature ex-homeless women. Presented by and at Theatre Works, the work was a visual and visceral glimpse into the women’s lives and was described by Theatre Press as one of the most important works you’ll see. In 2020 the work was chosen for the 'in competition' program at the Cairo International Festival of Experimental Theatre; Medea: Kaddish For The Children, a visual, visceral feminist re-imagining of the classic Medea story. The work explores Medea’s losses - of home, language, identity and family and is interwoven with the Jewish Mourners prayer. It was presented by Footscray Arts Centre as part of their 2019 Women, Art and Politics program, and was supported by Jewish Museum Australia; KaBooM: Stories From Distant Frontlines - a promenade performance/installation about memory and war (from the women’s point of view) for which she interviewed ex-soldiers from global conflicts. The work was performed at fortyfivedownstairs in Melbourne, and then remounted for the Alice Desert Festival in Alice Springs, where she collaborated with local artists, focusing on the ‘war’ story of Indigenous activist/performer Sylvia Neal and performed in an aircraft hangar utilizing the planes. In 2018 the work toured to Penang, Malaysia as part of the George Town Festival; The Dead Twin by Chi Vu, which she directed and performed in, and staged as a visceral promenade performance piece at Footscray Community Arts Centre in collaboration with Theatre Works as part of the FLIGHT Festival of New Works and at the 2017 George Town Festival in Penang, Malaysia; Cordelia, Mein Kind, which explores an inherited history of exile and loss and was performed at La Mama Theatre after extensive touring nationally and internationally, including to the Festiwal Szekspiroski in Gdansk, Poland.
Other notable moments include an invitation from Richard Schechner to perform and collaborate in his promenade performance work, Imagining O presented at the Peak Performance Festival, New York. The work wove Shakespeare’s Hamlet with Story of O to explore the power dynamics of women; and: a room with no air (with Regina Heilmann), HUNGRY, The Cool Room, HazChem! and, with Entr’acte Theatre, The Memory Room, Aqua Azzura and Possessed/Dispossessed. Deborah has also worked with Melbourne’s Ranters Theatre and Korea’s Creative VaQi in Unknown Neighbours performed at Ansan International Arts Festival (South Korea) and Theatre Works, Melbourne as part of 2018 Festival of Live Arts. She also had the lead role in the short film, Fitting, directed by Lexus Award winner, Emily Avila, which was shown at the 2018 Sydney Film Festival, Palm Springs Film Festival, Cinefest Oz and BFI London International Film Festival. In 2017 she travelled to Zagreb to perform My Body, My Country, an intimate piece that explores the body as archive, at Queer Zagreb.
Deborah’s other national and international touring highlights include: Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide International Festivals, Marsh Theatre (San Francisco), Theater J (Washington DC), Toga Festival (Japan), Magdalena Aotearoa Festival (New Zealand), Sydney’s Carnivale Festival, Performance Space and Belvoir St. Theatre, Searchlight Festival, Melbourne’s La Mama, fortyfivedownstairs and Malthouse Theatres, The International Women’s Playwrights Festival in Athens, Greece and an Australia Council residency in Israel. She has presented her body of work at Romeet Gallery, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and has been artist in residence at Domino Project (Zagreb, Croatia) and part of their festival, Sounded Bodies (supported by the Australian Embassy in Zagreb); at Bundanon in NSW; and at Kinitiras Studio in Athens, Greece, where she worked with local performer Afrodite Vervenioti.
Deborah studied in Japan with Tadashi Suzuki, trained in the work of Ettiene Decroux, Rasaboxes with Richard Schechner and has created a successful pedagogy for performance and teaching. She was a regular sessional lecturer for many years at La Trobe University, University of Western Sydney and University of Wollongong, where her roles included undergraduate teaching, supervision, course design and direction of productions. She has also been invited to lead workshops at Monash University, Victoria University, Deakin University, NIDA, Beit Zvi in Tel Aviv, Aristotle University, Greece, University of Visual and Performing Arts, Colombo, Sri Lanka and in New Zealand. Deborah has been the recipient of a number of grants and has presented her work at conferences, including: the CDE conference at University of Bamberg, Germany, with a compilation video of her work, entitled Memory, Place, Reconciliation and the Body; the only Australian invited to Odin theatre’s 40th Anniversary symposium and festival in Aarhus, Denmark; the International Congress of Jewish Theatre in Vienna (as a guest of the Australian Embassy). Deborah was artist in residence at FCAC. She completed a Masters in Performance at Victoria University and her practice-led PhD at La Trobe University (Australian Postgraduate Award recipient).