Karen has worked in Australia, Asia, Africa and Europe as a director, musical director, actor, musician and teacher. Recent directing projects include Barassi - The Stage Show, The Many Walls of Edna Walling, The Last Antigone
and Second City (all by Tee O’Neill); The Parricide (Diane Stubbings); and The Cosmic Joker (Alice Springs Festival). In 2016 she was assistant director to Susie Dee on the MTC’s production, Peddling. In 2015 Karen formed Bowerbird Theatre with David Joseph. Their show, Deceptive Threads, had successful seasons at Metanoia Theatre, fortyfivedownstairs and La Mama. In 2018, they performed Lingua Botanica, an immersive aural and visual investigation of plant cognition and therapeutic horticulture, in Melbourne and Adelaide.
Other career highlights include: devising and performing in an Edinburgh Festival Fringe First winning show, Believer (1992); improvising fairy stories for Bosnian children in Slovenian refugee camps (1993); musical directing and performing in a dance/music piece at the Melbourne City Baths, Walk on Water (2000); devising and directing a West African tour of Ashanti short stories, Who Stole Daawa’s Tail? (2004); playing teapot for the Melbourne International Arts Festival and Singapore International Children’s Festival in the Teapot Ensemble of Australia (2007) and co-directing Forest Beats, an outdoor circus show with 300 Zambian street children (2013).
Musical directing includes The Penelopiad (Women’s Circus); Song of Longing with Anne O’Keeffe; and The Golem of Ruckers Hill, The Magic Teapot and Bremen (Fringe Festival Award winner) with Michael Camilleri. In 2017 she was commissioned by the Dandenong Ranges Music Council to compose Bells of Peace for the Federation Bells at Birrarung Marr. She is a long term member one of Melbourne’s premier improvisation companies, Melbourne Playback; and of the Environmental Performance Authority, who create site-specific, immersive, participatory experiences for audiences around Victoria.
Karen has a B. Music Performance and Grad. Dip. Animateuring from V.C.A. and was awarded Victoria University College of Arts 'Most outstanding postgraduate by research student' for her M.A. in Performance Studies entitled, Performing Belonging: Meetings On and In the Earth. In 2020 she is due to complete her PhD, Exploring the Interior, which uses site-specific theatre to investigate colonialism.
Photo: Performance at MONA, Hobart, 2017. Australian Art Orchestra's
Creative Music Intensive with Yolngu songmen, Daniel and David Wilfred