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Wayne Blair

b. 1971

Wayne Blair (b. 1971), director, actor and writer, became interested in acting and dance while a high school student in Rockhampton in the 1980s. After completing a marketing degree he went to Sydney to play rugby league for Canterbury-Bankstown and to take up a traineeship with the Australian Tourism Commission. Unable to shake his interest in acting, however, Blair had a stab at auditioning for NIDA. Though unsuccessful, he followed up on a recommendation that he apply to study acting at the Queensland University of Technology instead. Back in Sydney after graduating, he got one-off roles in the television dramas All Saints, Wildside and Water Rats and in the film Mullet (2000). His early break in theatre came when he was cast for the London and New York seasons of Company B Belvoir’s acclaimed Cloudstreet. Subsequently, he has performed with major Australian theatre companies, playing Othello in Bell Shakespeare’s 2007 production, for example, and appearing in the Sydney Theatre Company’s 2010 production of Sam Shepard’s True West, directed by Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Simultaneously, Blair has emerged as a gifted film and television director. He made Jubulj, his debut short, in 2000 through the Metro Screen Uncle Lester Bostock Mentorship Scheme. Other short film credits as writer and director include The Djarn Djarns (2004) winner of the Crystal Bear Award in Kinderfilmfest at the 2005 Berlin International Film Festival, and Black Talk (2002) winner of the 2003 Dendy Award for Best Short at the Sydney Film Festival. In recent years he has written and directed numerous Australian television series including Dead Gorgeous (2009); Lockie Leonard (2006, 2008 & 2009); The Circuit (2008); Double Trouble (2006); and Redfern Now (2012–2013), in which he also acted. Blair’s debut as a feature film director, The Sapphires, premiered at Cannes and became the highest-grossing Australian film of 2012. In addition, it won eleven AACTA awards including Best Director and Best Film, and Best Cinematography for Blair’s friend and collaborator Warwick Thornton. In recent years, Blair has worked with Thornton again on the feature Septembers of Shiraz (2015); co-produced and directed the dystopian drama Cleverman (2016–2017); and directed the 2017 telemovie remake of the 1987 box office hit Dirty Dancing.

Updated 2018
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