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Katherine Thomson

Katherine Thomson

Film/Television/Theatre Writer

Katherine began her career in the theatre as an actor working with Sidetrack, Theatre South and Sydney Theatre Company. Her first play, A CHANGE IN THE WEATHER, was presented at the 1982 Women and Arts Festival. Later, under commission from Des Davis at Theatre South she wrote TONIGHT WE ANCHOR IN TWOFOLD BAY, which premiered in Eden, played a season at Sydney Theatre Company’s Wharf Studio and toured the South Coast. In 1987 she wrote A SPORTING CHANCE for State Theatre Company of South Australia and then DARLINGHURST NIGHTS for the Sydney Theatre Company – a musical play based on the light verse of Kenneth Slessor, written with composer Max Lambert which opened Sydney Theatre Company’s season in 1988 and was broadcast on ABC’s Radio National.

Katherine’s other theatre credits include: DIVING FOR PEARLS (premiered at Melbourne Theatre Company 1991, and revived in 2017 at Griffin Theatre Co), BARMAIDS (premiered at Deckchair Theatre 1991), FRAGMENTS OF HONG KONG (1995), NAVIGATING (premiered at Queensland Theatre Company and Melbourne Theatre Company 1997 and played at Sydney Theatre Company 1998), THIS HOSPITAL IS MY COUNTRY and MAVIS GOES TO TIMOR (for Deckchair Theatre in 1999 and 2002 respectively – the latter toured through regional Australia in 2003).  In 2001, as part of their Borderline project, Griffin Theatre Company commissioned and produced KAYAK (also produced by Deckchair Perth in 2007 and again in 2016 at the Old Fitz Theatre Sydney) and HARBOUR for Sydney Theatre Company which opened the new Sydney Theatre in January 2004.  KING TIDE, a play originally commissioned by Hori Pro, Inc. Theatre in Japan, premiered at Griffin Theatre in 2007, was also nominated for a Sydney Theatre Award for Best Australian Play. In 2003 and 2007 FRAGMENTS OF HONG KONG was adapted for ABC Radio Airplay and Word Play programs, and won an AWGIE in 2008 for Best Radio Adaptation. In 2010 KING TIDE was adapted for ABC Radio Airplay and that too won an AWGIE Award for Best Radio Adaptation in 2011.

Katherine is currently writing the feature film HELENA!, for StudioCanal and producers Antony Waddington and Marcus Gillezeau which tells the epic story of Helena Rubenstein; an original play THE TRACK commissioned by QPAC; MISFIT, a TV series based on fashion designer Alannah Hill’s life and times, for director Gillian Armstrong and producers Fremantle TV Australia; and THE TUSCAN COOKBOOK  with producer Arcadia Pictures.

Katherine’s extensive television screenwriting credits include DOCTOR DOCTOR, HOUSE OF HANCOCK, SCHAPELLE, AUSTRALIA: THE STORY OF US, MR AND MRS MURDER, AUSTRALIA ON TRIAL, KILLING TIMEEAST WEST 101, SATISFACTION, BLACKJACK, WILDSIDE, GRASS ROOTS, HALIFAX FP, FALLEN ANGELS, SNOWY and GP. Katherine was the script producer/writer on award winning series A PLACE TO CALL HOME and the Australian co-writer of ANSWERED BY FIRE, a two part series produced by Beyond Simpson Le Mesurier, the ABC and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Other credits include the epic 3 x 1 hour documentary series called DARWIN’S BRAVE NEW WORLD for Screenworld Entertainment and ABC TV (with Katherine being nominated for an AWGIE for Best Documentary) and an episode for another documentary mini-series, ROGUE NATION, through Essential Viewing, Film Australia and ABC TV. She is the writer of the Becker Entertainment/ Film Australia feature documentary UNFOLDING FLORENCE – THE MANY LIVES OF FLORENCE BROADHURST based on the life of Florence Broadhurst, directed by Gillian Armstrong which screened at Sundance Film Festival in January 2006.

Katherine’s other collaboration with Gillian Armstrong was the feature documentary WOMEN HE’S UNDRESSED about the Australian costume designer Orry Kelly, which was released in 2015.  Katherine won an AWGIE in 2007 for Blackjack and won three in 2006: the Major Award for the best overall script and Best Television Mini Series (original) for ANSWERED BY FIRE and Best Documentary (Public Broadcast) for UNFOLDING FLORENCE, with the latter also winning the 2006 Queensland Premier’s Award for Best Television Script.

Katherine’s many industry awards include the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for DIVING FOR PEARLS and five nominations in the NSW Premier’s Literary Award for WONDERLANDS, DIVING FOR PEARLS, BARMAIDS, THIS HOSPITAL IS MY COUNTRY and GP (Close to Her Chest); a nomination for the 2002 WA Premier’s Book Award for Best Script for MAVIS GOES TO TIMOR; an AWGIE for BARMAIDS and MAVIS GOES TO TIMOR; an AWGIE for Best Single Script in a Series for GP (Shaking Hands with Time); AWGIE for Best Telemovie Original for HOUSE OF HANCOCK and a 2002 AFI nomination for HALIFAX FP (Cradle and All).  Katherine received the 2003 Rodney Seaborn Playwrights’ Award for WONDERLANDS. Her play HARBOUR, received the 2005 NSW Premier’s Literary Award and was named a finalist for the internationally prestigious Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. In 2006 Katherine was awarded The Australian National Playwrights Centre Award for her substantial contribution to the Australian theatre industry. Katherine has undertaken writer-in-residencies in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur, has participated as an invited delegate to the International Women’s Playwright Conference in Jakarta, Bali and India and as guest speaker at the Shanghai and Hong Kong Writers’ Festival.

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