Mark Kilmurry, Artistic Director, Ensemble Theatre, initiated the Award as a legacy to former Artistic Director Sandra Bates after she retired from her 30 years at the helm of Ensemble Theatre.
Each year, the SBDA recipient is offered a paid position of Assistant Director on two of Ensemble Theatre’s main stage productions and assist in the ongoing creative development of new works.
“I am in awe of Ursula’s talent and having seen her work as an actor and writer and her work at the Ensemble with The Fever and the Fret for a play reading development, I know this will be an exciting relationship in the rehearsal room,” said Mr Kilmurry. “I am thrilled Ursula is able to work with us in 2021.”
Ursula is the writer/performer of works including Magpie Blues, The Man with the Iron Neck and Barbara and the Camp Dogs (co-written with Alana Valentine), which premiered at Sydney’s Belvoir Street Theatre in 2017 with Ursula in the starring role.
It was nominated for an AWGIE award and won Helpmann awards for Best Musical, Best Original Score and Best Actress in a Musical. Ursula was the recipient of the Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award.
Ursula is the voice of ‘Levi’ in the NITV/SBS children’s animated TV series, Little J & Big Cuz, on which she is also a writer. In addition, she is a multi-award-winning actor. Her stage and film credits include Wayne Blair’s Top End Wedding, Baz Luhrmann’s Australia, Ivan Sen’s Goldstone and Ray Lawrence’s Jindabyne.
On television Ursula has had leading roles in The Code, Devil’s Dust, Redfern Now, The Gods of Wheat Street and, most recently, the third series of Wanted. Since making her theatre debut at Belvoir, Ursula has worked for all the major main stage theatre companies in Australia. Between 2008 and 2017 Ursula intermittently toured Australia and internationally with the musicians of Black Arm Band.
Now in its sixth year, previous winners of the Sandra Bates Director’s Award include: Rachel Chant and Warwick Doddrell (2020); Erin Taylor and Adam Deusien (2019); Liz Arday and Felicity Nicol (2018); Shaun Rennie and Francesca Savige (2017); and Priscilla Jackman and Janine Watson (2016).
For more information about Ensemble Theatre, vist: www.ensemble.com.au for details.
Image: Ursula Yovich (supplied)