Meet Zoë Dunwoodie

July 13th, 2022

Zoë is a dancer, puppeteer and performer born on Gadigal land (Sydney), and currently living and working on Kaurna land (Adelaide). Zoë made her Patch debut in I Wish… in 2021 and is currently working on Home as a performer and creative.

Image: Zoë at New Zealand School of Dance 2011 | Photo: Stephen A’Court

Tell us about your career so far.

I found my love for dancing when I was around 5 or 6 in my hometown of Mona Vale, NSW and danced all the way through primary and high school at my local dance studio. After finishing school, I studied at the New Zealand School of Dance for three years before landing full time work at the Australian Dance Theatre (ADT) here in Adelaide. I was a dancer there for nearly 7 years under the directorship of Garry Stewart – creating, performing, and touring nationally and internationally.

Since finishing up with ADT, I have been lucky to expand my career, working on children’s theatre and television. I have created and performed in new work for children with Patch – beginning with I Wish… in 2021 and currently Home – and worked as a puppeteer for film and TV, including working with some of Australia’s most loved children’s characters, including Grug and Bluey.

When I’m not dancing, I teach dance to people of all stages of life and ability. I’m also developing my own dance theatre show.

What do you love most about performing?

Performing has always been a thrill and a joy for me because of the relationship you form with your audience. There’s a vulnerability that you must give into being up on stage. Although it’s both terrifying and intoxicating, I think this openness builds a bridge between you and your audience because they see your humanity and in that perhaps see a part of themselves.

Image: The Beginning of Nature at the Joyce Theatre NYC Tour 2019

If you could perform in any show what would it be?

This is a reallllllly tricky question, there are so many! So, I’m going to break the rules and narrow it down to three…

One would have to be Patch’s Me & My Shadow! I had so much fun watching it I imagine it would be an absolute joy to perform.

Although not technically a show, my second would be the Netflix special, INSIDE by Bo Burnham. Golly. I just want to spend one day in his brain. Just pure creative genius.

And finally, Sydney Theatre Company’s The Picture of Dorian Gray played by Eryn Jean Norvill and directed by Kip Williams, which I know would be completely insane and impossible as she is incredible. A girl can dream though.

What’s something, or somewhere, you love about your home?

The kitchen! I LOVE cooking and baking. It’s where I can unwind, experiment, and be present.

I also gotta do a shout out to my homegirl Teddy who has been keeping me company for, well, ever. See you later for cuddles, Ted!

Home is your second show with Patch. What’s your most memorable moment from your time at Patch?

I’ve had so many beautiful and memorable moments working and performing with Patch over these past couple of years – it’s hard to pick just one.

One memorable moment is my first audition with the company. I was auditioning for Patch’s beautiful show ZOOOM and I was so nervous because in part of the audition I had to whistle, and to my horror I couldn’t! It was a revelation! I legitimately thought I could all these years, but apparently not. Anyway, I informed Geoff, Maddog and Temeka during the audition that I couldn’t and that I would learn, “There are plenty videos on YouTube!”. They were, of course, very gracious.

Although I didn’t get the part after that audition (probably due to my dismal whistling attempt), I was instead offered an opportunity to be involved in their next creative development of I Wish… And so began my Patch journey!

If you could live anywhere where would you live?

In the ocean! I am absolutely fascinated by that giant blue abyss. It’s amazing and terrifying! Which brings me to my favourite animal… Whales! If I could be any animal in the world, it would be a whale. Eating as much as you want, singing, swimming around with nothing out to eat you because you’re massive. What bliss.

Image: A fantastic loaf of bread made by Zoë

Image: ‘The Beginning of Nature’ by Garry Stewart Premiere at Womadelaide 2016 | Photo: Tony Lewis

Image: A whale hand stitched by Zoë

I Wish… 2021 | Photo: Andrew Beveridge