Who is Leah Mercer?

leah mercer

Leah Mercer is artistic director/deviser/writer with The Nest Ensemble that develops and produces new works for performance. She is also a lecturer in the Theatre Arts course at Curtin University. Divided between Brisbane (where it was originally established) and Perth (where Leah currently lives) The Nest Ensemble was established by Leah and Margi Brown Ash in 2004 to accommodate the performance projects and creative developments initiated by them and a collaborative collective of variable independent theatre artists: directors; writers; designers; performers; composers; musicians; producers and technicians. In 2015 Leah directed/co-devised Home for Queensland Theatre Company in a co-production with the Force of Circumstance Collective. With The Nest Ensemble she: directed/co-wrote Joey: the Mechanical Boy at Perth’s Blue Room Theatre (Winner, Best Director: Performing Arts WA, 2014); in 2012 directed/co-devised Eve at the Blue Room Theatre & Metro Arts Theatre (Brisbane) (Winner, Blue Room Members Choice for Best Production); directed/co-devised Home for La Boite Theatre’s Indie season. She directed/co-wrote The Knowing of Mary Poppins, at the Darlinghurst Theatre (Sydney, 2009), the Adelaide Fringe Festival (2008) and the Brisbane Powerhouse (2005, 2006) (Winner, Silver Matilda Award for Directing, 2007). The Knowing of Mary Poppins was published by Playlab Press in an anthology entitled Independent Brisbane: Four Plays (2008). She wrote/performed A Mouthful of Pins at the Brisbane Powerhouse (2008). Her work Melancholia was produced at the Looking Glass Theatre (New York City, 2005) and showcased at the Playworks’ Festival (Sydney, 2006). Other directing credits include: The Hardest Way to Make an Omelette written/performed by Jessica Harlond-Kenny in partnership with the Spare Parts Puppet Theatre at the Fremantle Festival (2013); Stace Callaghan’s between heaven & earth (one hand clapping, Brisbane Powerhouse, 2006); Ted Hughes’ Metamorphoses (QSE, Metro Arts, 2006); Michael Gurr’s Something to Declare (Actors for Refugees/Qld Arts Council, 2005); Puppy Love (Qld Arts Council, 2005) and Joy Gregory’s Dear Charlotte (theatreACTIV8, Metro Arts’ Independents, 2004). Her practice-led PhD in Performance was based around a performance entitled The Physics Project that she co-wrote and directed at the Loft, QUT (2006) and presented as a work-in-progress at the Magdalena Australia Festival (2003). The Physics Project was awarded a Philip Parsons Prize for Performance as Research in 2008. Since 2007 for the student based Hayman Theatre Company at Curtin University she has directed Sarah Ruhl’s Melancholy Play, Orlando and Eurydice, Joy Gregory’s Dear Charlotte, Joanne Laurens’ The Three Birds, Will Eno’s The Flu Season, Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses, Caryl Churchill’s The After-Dinner Joke, Bertolt Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera and Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull. As a Fulbright scholar she completed an MFA in (Directing for Theatre) at CalArts in LA (1999). She also has an MA and BA (Hons 1) from UQ. She was on the organising committee for the Magdalena Australia Workshop Festival held in Perth in February 2010, where she took park in Margaret Cameron’s “Topographies of Performance” workshop. Other training includes: the inaugural Directors Lab: Melbourne 2015; Per Brahe’s mask and Michael Chehkov work at the Purnati Centre for the Arts in Ubud, Bali (2008, 2009, 2010 & 2015); Gabrielle Roth’s 5 Rhythms; Jenny Kemp’s “Writing for performance workshop” at Playworks in Sydney (2006); Igneous Movement Video Lab (2004); Suzuki Actor Training with Frank the Austral Asian Performance Ensemble (1999–2003); Nikki Heywood Movement/theatre workshop, Brisbane Powerhouse (2002); Kalaripayatt Training with Vinildas Gurukkal and Igneous Performance Group, Brisbane Powerhouse (2001); Meyerhold Workshop with Gennadi Bogdanov at the Australian International Workshop Festival, Melbourne (2000); writing workshop with Maria Irene Fornes at CalArts (1999); Movement and text workshop with Enrique Pardo and Pan Theatre at CalArts (1999); Suzuki and Composition Training with Anne Bogart/S.I.T.I. Company, Summer Intensive, Los Angeles (1998); Writing workshop with Split Britches at CalArts (1996); Writing workshop with Deborah Levy at Metro Arts (1995); Forum Theatre workshop with Augusto Boal at the World Congress of Drama / Theatre and Education (IDEA) (1995) and Kyogen, Traditional Theatre Training in Summer School in Kyoto, Japan (1991).