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Jessica Stanley | Chair

Jessica Stanley is an actor and playwright from Melbourne. After topping the state of Victoria with a perfect score in drama at high school, she went on to receive a Victorian Premier’s Award, the Jennifer Francis Drama Prize, and a scholarship to study at Monash University. While completing her Bachelor of Performing Arts at Monash, Jessica performed in various productions, including August: Osage County and The Pillowman. She was awarded the Outstanding Year Level Achiever and a Dean’s Recognition Award following her work in August: Osage County, and in her final year worked with director Leticia Caceres on the world premiere of Where in the World is Frank Sparrow?

In 2015, she concurrently completed the Full-Time Program at the Howard Fine Acting Studio Australia and a Bachelor of Psychology at Swinburne University. She has also trained at 16th Street, TAFTA, Melbourne Acting Academy and the Rehearsal Room, as well as working with renowned Australian director Kim Farrant and US teachers Howard Fine, David Coury, Marilyn McIntyre, Laura Gardner, Frank Collison, Jean Louis-Rodrigues, Carol Rosenfeld and Margie Haber. 

On-screen credits include roles on The Doctor Blake Mysteries and Glitch, and the French-language independent feature, La Souffrance. In 2018, Jessica received critical acclaim for her solo performance in the Australian premiere of Ross & Rachel (Theatre Works, MIFF) written by James Fritz. In 2016, Jessica was nominated for Best Performance Award for her solo performance in Ménage at Melbourne Fringe Festival. Other stage credits include Navy Pier, directed by Phoebe Anne Taylor, and her own play It's Alright, Sid it's Alright (La Mama), directed by Robert Reid. In 2018, Jessica was the only playwright from Australia invited to attend the Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez, Alaska, for her new play Sisters, Inferno.

Jessica continues to write new plays and study at HFAS, where she also sits on the Board of Trustees and hosts Scratch Nights. She hopes to one day, in a quiet moment, continue her post-graduate studies in psychology, and complete a research PhD on the psychology of acting.

Aside from Chairing North of Eight, Jessica is also the Co-Founder of new artistic collective Spinning Plates Co.