Deborah Cheetham, Yorta Yorta Soprano, composer and educator 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 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; 2012 in Perth, at the State Theatre Centre of WA and 2014 in Adeladie, at the Her Majesty's Theatre.
Ms Cheetham is Associate Dean (Indigenous) at the Faculty of VCA & MCM, University of Melbourne and Head of the Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts and Cultural Development.
In the 2014 Queen's Birthday Honours List, Ms Cheetham was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), for distinguished service to the performing arts as an opera singer, composer and artistic director, tho the development of Indigenous artists and to innovation in performance.