Deborah Cheetham, Yorta Yorta Soprano, composer and academic has established her place as an artist in great demand. Since her international debut in 1997 Ms Cheetham has performed in the theatre and concert halls of Europe, the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and around Australia.
In April 2007 Ms Cheetham was awarded a prestigious two-year Fellowship from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Board of the Australia Council for the Arts. This fellowship has allowed Ms Cheetham to create Australia’s first Indigenous opera, Pecan Summer. In 2010, Ms Cheetham brought together Australia’s first classically trained Indigenous ensemble to present the world premiere of Pecan Summer.
In 2010 Ms Cheetham was also a finalist for Australian of the year in Victoria.
The success of Pecan Summer has led Ms Cheetham to create Short Black Opera Company, a national not-for-profit opera company devoted to the development of Indigenous opera singers. Short Black Opera has now successfully produced three consecutive seasons of Pecan Summer: 2010, on country in Mooroopna, Victoria; 2011at the Arts Centre, Melbourne; and 2012 in Perth, at the State Theatre Centre of WA.
Ms Cheetham is currently Head of the Wilin Centre at the Faculty of VCA & MCM, University of Melbourne and Associate Dean of Indigenous Development.