Born in Brisbane, Stephen is a descendant of the Nunukul people and the Munaldjali clan of the Yugambeh tribe from South East Queensland. He is the Artistic Director of Bangarra Dance Theatre and a national Indigenous leader. He is a graduate of the National Aboriginal & Islander Dance School, and formerly a performer with the Sydney Dance Company. Amongst his directing credits are the Olympics Handover Ceremony in 1996 and the Indigenous components of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. He directed the 2004 Adelaide Festival of the Arts, Page 8 for Belvoir and was choreographer on the feature film Bran Nue Dae and The Sapphires. Stephen has created an extraordinary body of dance theatre works for Bangarra over the past twenty one years for which he has won numerous awards. In 2009 he received the award for NSW Australian of the Year. Stephen joined the Bangarra Board in 1998.

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