Theatre Maker

As an actor Sofya studied Acting at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA). She has been an actor and playwright for over 20 years working in theatre, television and film. She is also one of Australias most loved actors on ABC’s Play School, a positive, ground-breaking representation of Deafness on a show with national reach. It’s certain she has been in your living room while you were still in your pyjamas!

Australian Theatre of the Deaf
The company was founded in 1979 by Colin Allen, Nola Colefax & David London along with Margaret Davis and Byron Jones. By 1982 it had divided into two ensembles, the part-time amateur group and the professional company doing over 500 performances in schools a year. By 1986 the company was touring to every state in Australia after developing several new Australian plays. It made a unique contribution to Australian arts culture by creating innovative bilingual theatre for both Deaf and hearing audiences.

Prior to studying at NIDA She left school to work with the Australian Theatre of the Deaf (ATOD) and returned as a playwright and actor many times. She also joined at a time when ATOD made history by appointing a Deaf Artistic Director making it a Deaf-led company, the first of anywhere in the world.

A selection of the many plays Sofya co-wrote and performed during her time with ATOD: Behind the Window ; based on the lives of three young Deaf people and was one of AToDs enduring Theatre for Young People’s productions, touring to nearly every state in Australia over four years. The Eye A colourful show about the parts and functions of the eye that leads children into a journey of discovery about colour, perspective and Sign language.
Wolfmoon This production toured to the Next Wave Festival in Melbourne after performing at the Wharf Theatre in Sydney. This was the show that launched ATOD’s signature visual style theatre style combining Auslan with Visual Vernacular. Cat Lady of Bexley – The play written and devised by Sofya, and she performed as Carlon, the deaf crime fiction author, directed by Caroline Conlon.

Sofya joined forces with Caroline Conlon again to create Dislabelled, commissioned for the 2000 Paralympic Arts Festival, written by Sofya Gollan and Caroline Conlon, directed by Tony Strachan with music from Blair Greenberg, with the tag line, “it ain’t over until the Deaf girls sing!”

We did not sing, but did sign-singing, translating and performing several popular pop and jazz songs as part of the dialogue. It was a cabaret show designed to make people laugh, the advocacy for equal opportunities landing softly. It went on to tour to the Adelaide Festival and other states, proving to be a popular production for ATOD. This was followed by a year acting with the National Theatre of the Deaf in USA appearing in An Italian Straw Hat, touring to nearly every state in USA. It was a deeply formative year gaining insight to the passionate Deaf arts culture forming in the USA.

Australian People’s Theatre – Sydney Theatre Company
Sofya was one of the founding ensemble members of Australian People’s Theatre (APT) at Sydney Theatre Company with John Howard as Artistic Director, performing in The Loaded Ute, The Shearston Shift and Antony and Cleopatra. It followed the age-old tradition of storytelling drama using an ensemble of fourteen performers (seven women, seven men), two writers and two composers. The first production The Loaded Ute was based on the Sanskrit classic The Little Clay Cart. The APT was a project designed to emphasise the diverse nature of Australian society and languages, and to engage directly with regional and remote communities around NSW.

Motherlode was developed with funds from Creative Australia in 2019 and 2020 to write the playscript and workshops, exploring the care options for a passionately defiant Deafblind mother determined to keep her Coda daughter close. When Covid interrupted the progress of the theatre work, it was adapted to a feature film Love’s Atom currently in final development


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