Louisa Raft graduated from the University of Wollongong in 2015 with a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Dean’s Scholar) Theatre. In her final year she achieved a place on the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts Dean’s Merit List and won the Merrigong Theatre Company Production Prize for her performance in her graduation production as Eurydice’s Mother in Plunge.
As a mature-aged, emerging performer, dramaturg and creative producer, Louisa brings a unique perspective from her life journey to her work, which is feminist and influenced by her experience of navigating the world as the daughter of Greek migrants, growing up in the Western suburbs of Sydney, and challenging the expectations of others on who and what she should be and do. In her performance work, Louisa is interested in exploring ideas of home and belonging and the impact of trauma and displacement on human connection.
Originally trained as a dancer and a performer in community theatre, Louisa enrolled in university as a mature-aged student to formally develop her artistic practice. At UoW she trained in contemporary performance-making, acting, movement, voice, singing, dramaturgy and producing skills under the guidance of Linda Luke, Matt Prest, Deborah Pollard, Anna Messariti, Margaret Hamilton, Janys Hayes and Lotte Latukefu.
As a performance-maker, Louisa established The Adelphi Experiment, an all-female collective creating performances which celebrate sisterhood throughout all ages and stages of life. The collective presented a work in progress, (W)Rest, at Merrigong Theatre Company’s inaugural Made from Scratch event (March 2017), and remounted the performance at Belvoir’s first Scratch Night (May 2017). Both events encourage the presentation of new works in development for audience reception and feedback. The Adelphi Experiment also appeared at the inaugural Wollongong Anywhere Theatre Festival in August 2017, with an original new work, The Three Paths. Amongst several other solo and group works at the University of Wollongong, Louisa was a co-devisor and performer in the all-female student-initiated production Confidante, with mentoring provided by Chris Ryan.
Louisa’s acting credits include Meg Moynihan in Hotel Sorrento (Wollongong Workshop Theatre), Nerissa in The Merchant of Venice (Phoenix Theatre) and Miss Quodling in an adaptation of Patrick White’s Night on Bald Mountain (University of Wollongong). Louisa also appeared in the 2014 Sydney Short + Sweet Festival in the short play Maroon by Day and works regularly with Mind Blank, using theatre to educate young people about help-seeking for mental health and wellbeing. Louisa’s film credits include the award-winning feature Rites of Passage, directed by AFI Award-winner Phillip Crawford and produced by arts and cultural development organisation Beyond Empathy, and the short film Kill Off (Bus Stop Films, directed by Genevieve Clay-Smith).
Louisa has worked as dramaturg for Wollongong Theatre Company’s first production, Lear, in which she also played Goneril, and is currently working on an abridged adaptation of Julius Caesar. Louisa worked as dramaturg, co-devisor and performer in her graduation production, Plunge, directed by Linda Luke. She also worked as a research assistant for Dr Margaret Hamilton (UoW) on AusStage Phase 5 – Australian live performance and the world: global networks, national culture and aesthetic transmission, building a dataset that will contribute to longitudinal studies on live performance as a tool of cultural policy.
As an emerging creative producer, Louisa has helped to establish Wollongong Theatre Company and is passionate about creating professional opportunities for performance-makers in the region. Louisa was also co-producer of and performer in Fifty-Five See, commissioned by Wollongong City Council for its inaugural Nocturnal Arts festival, with additional performances at the 2015 Viva La Gong festival and PACT Unwrapped. Louisa completed a producing internship at PACT Centre for Emerging Artists and volunteered as a project assistant to Zoe Scoglio for her work In the Round for Women of Fairfield, a collaboration between Powerhouse Youth Theatre, MCA C3West and STARTTS, connecting Fairfield’s refugee and migrant women with professional artists to create large-scale immersive installations and performances in the streets of Fairfield.
In 2017 and 2018, Louisa is working as a consultant artist with Wollongong Women’s Information Service on an Australia Council for the Arts funded community cultural development project Art of Belonging, a multi-arts based program working with diverse groups of women, girls and children across different geographic locations in the greater Wollongong area to creatively share and explore their stories, memories and experiences of place, belonging, culture and change. With The Adelphi Experiment, Louisa facilitated a community cultural development project, Koonawarra Connection, funded by Wollongong City Council through the Ward-Based Arts Grants program. Children in years 3-6 explored and creatively expressed the meaning of connection to people and places in their local community.