Leah Purcell

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Leah Purcell
Leah Purcell.jpg
Purcell at the premiere of The Sapphires in 2012
Born (1970-08-14) 14 August 1970 (age 47)
Murgon, Queensland, Australia
Occupation Actress, film director
Website www.leahpurcell.com

Leah Purcell (born 14 August 1970)[1] is an Indigenous Australian actress, director and writer. She is a Helpmann Award and AACTA Award winner.


Leah Purcell was born in Murgon, Queensland, the youngest of seven children of Aboriginal and white Australian descent.[2] Her father was a butcher and a boxing trainer.[3] After a difficult adolescence, looking after her sick mother who died while Leah was in her late teens, problems with alcohol and teenage motherhood, Purcell left Murgon and moved to Brisbane and became involved with community theatre.[2]

In 1996 she moved to Sydney to become presenter on a music video cable television station, RED Music Channel.[4] This was followed by roles in the ABC television series Police Rescue and Fallen Angels.[5][6] She co-wrote and acted in a play called Box the Pony, which played at Sydney's Belvoir Street Theatre, the Sydney Opera House, the 1999 Edinburgh Festival and in 2000 at the Barbican Theatre in London.[7] She then wrote and directed the documentary Black Chicks Talking, which won a 2002 Inside Film award.[8] She appeared in the acclaimed Australian film Lantana and on stage in The Vagina Monologues.[9] She went on to appear in three 2004 films, Somersault, The Proposition and Jindabyne as well as playing the role of Condoleezza Rice in David Hare's play, Stuff Happens in Sydney and Melbourne.[10]



Year Title Role Notes
1996 G.P. Lauren Episode: "Long Time Coming"
1997 Police Rescue Const. Tracey Davis 9
1997 Fallen Angels Sharon Walker 20
1998 Water Rats Sarah Lane Episode: "Let the Dead"
1999 Somewhere in the Darkness Lulu
2000-2001 BeastMaster The Black Apparition Recurring role (5 episodes)
2001 Lost World, TheThe Lost World Witch Doctor Episode: "The Visitor"
2001 Lantana Det. Claudia Wiss
2002 Bad Cop, Bad Cop Lorraine Simpson Episode: "Suit Yourself"
2004 Somersault Diane
2005 Proposition, TheThe Proposition Queenie
2006 Jindabyne Carmel
2007 Love My Way Caroline Syron Episodes: "I'm the King of the Castle", "Together Apart", "Say What You Mean"
2007 Starter Wife, TheThe Starter Wife Hannah Sprints TV miniseries
2008 McLeod's Daughters Terri Barker Episode: "Dammed"
2009 Tomorrow Laura Short film
2009 My Place Ellen Episode: "2008 Laura"
2012 Redfern Now Grace Episode: "Family"
2013–Present Janet King Heather O'Connor


Year Title Role Notes
2004 Black Chicks Talking Director Documentary
2009 Aunty Maggie and the Womba Wakgun Director Short film
2009 My Place Writer Episode: "2008 Laura"
2012 She Say Director / Writer Video short
2012 Redfern Now Director Episode: "Sweet Spot"
2016 The Secret Daughter Director Episode: "Flame Trees"[11]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Ceremony Category Title Work
1997 Australian Film Institute Awards Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Television Drama Fallen Angels Nominated
2001 Helpmann Awards Best Female Actor in a Play Box the Pony Nominated
2006 Helpmann Awards Best Female Actor in a Play Stuff Happens Nominated
2008 Helpmann Awards Best Female Actor in a Play The Story of the Miracle at Cookie's Table Won
2013 AACTA Awards Best Lead Actress in a Television Drama Redfern Now Won
2013 Logie Awards Most Outstanding Actress Redfern Now Nominated
2016 AACTA Awards Best Performance in a Television Comedy Black Comedy Nominated
2017 Helpmann Awards Best Female Actor in a Play The Drover's Wife Nominated
2017 Helpmann Awards Best New Australian Work The Drover's Wife Won


  1. ^ Hall, Louise (13 August 2006), "My top 5 – Leah Purcell", The Sydney Morning Herald, retrieved 20 January 2010 
  2. ^ a b Verghis, Sharon (17 August 2005), "Direct line to Washington", The Age, retrieved 20 January 2010 
  3. ^ Grasswill, Helen (17 June 2002). "Queen Leah". Australian Story. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 21 January 2010. 
  4. ^ "Artistic Director Bio: Leah Purcell". ACPA. Retrieved 21 January 2010. 
  5. ^ Keenan, Catherine (27 August 2002), "Blood sisters", The Sydney Morning Herald, retrieved 21 January 2010 
  6. ^ "Upstaging". Message Stick. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 5 March 2004. Retrieved 21 January 2010. 
  7. ^ "Leah Purcell: profile". Claxton Speakers. Retrieved 21 January 2010. 
  8. ^ "IF Award Winners". Inside Film Awards. Retrieved 21 January 2010. 
  9. ^ Keenan, Catherine (21 February 2003), "Monologues shift focus to the body beautiful — and battered", The Sydney Morning Herald, retrieved 21 January 2010 
  10. ^ Verghis, Sharon (9 July 2005), "Channelling Condoleezza", The Sydney Morning Herald, retrieved 21 January 2010 
  11. ^ Asciak, Libby (18 April 2016). "The secret is finally out: so excited to announce that I will be joining @jessicamauboy1 and the rest of the amazing cast in the new Channel Seven drama 'The Secret Daughter' playing the role of Rachel Rossi #thesecretdaughter #channel7 #comingsoon". Instagram. Retrieved 22 April 2016. 

External links[edit]