In Memory of Christopher A. Ross-Smith OAM 1939 - 2021
Christopher Alan Ross-Smith OAM was a well-loved much-travelled director, actor, voice coach and drama lecturer best known in Australia for his teaching work at NIDA and UNE. His family invite you to donate to the ABF in his name, to honour his long-term wishes to help emerging actors, directors and writers achieve their potential and survive the tough times.
A bit about him:
Christopher trained at Rose Bruford's College of Speech and Drama in the UK and worked professionally in the United States, the UK and South Africa before bringing his young family to Australia when appointed as the first Deputy Director of NIDA in 1974 by John Clarke.
In 1977 Christopher became the Head of the Theatre Studies Department at UNE, developing a unique theatre education course unlike any other in the country at that time, enriched with vocational practises, multiple public productions and visiting professional companies. Hundreds of drama teachers across Australia still use his methods and remember his warmth, wit and humour.
Throughout his long career, Christopher remained passionate about developing ongoing professional theatre opportunities for performers in regional NSW and founded the Armadillos Theatre company in 1985 after the de-funding of the New England Theatre Company. He was a President of the Australasian Drama Studies Association (ASDA) and following his retirement from UNE in 1996, helped to establish a new Cultural Centre in Armidale, becoming its first coordinator. Chris was on the producing team of the Armidale Biennial Arts Festival for 10 years and brought Opera Australia productions to Armidale (and later to Maleny in QLD) as their regional presenter for well over a decade. Christopher was the inaugural chairman of The Armidale and Regional Performing Arts Centre (ARPAC) and in 2008 he received an Australian government award [OAM] to recognise his contribution to regional theatre and the community.
Plays he directed include Away, Hotel Sorrento, Oh What a Lovely War, Betrayal, Marat Sade, Private Lives, Threepenny Opera, Importance of Being Ernest and The Visit; and he co-wrote and directed the dramatisation of Sophie Masson’s The Green Prince.
His many acting roles include Lear, Claudius, Vanya, Dysart, Hamm, Pozzo, Peer Gynt, Fagin and Don Quixote.
Since his retirement, he either acted in or directed productions including The Plague and The Moonflower, God’s Drawing Board, Kids Stuff, Walton’s Henry V, Love Letters, Enemy of the People and Under Milkwood, and toured regional centres as an actor with Grant Dodwell, focussing on problems specific to farmers in outback New South Wales.
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