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Anna-Lee Robertson

inducted 2017 The Arts

About Anna-Lee Robertson

A love of music instilled in Anna-Lee during her education at St Ann’s/Emmanuel College lead her to a career in the performing arts. Anna-Lee has: written and produced one-woman shows, won leading roles in big-ticket musicals (both in Australia and overseas) and contributed her talents to the local and global community. A Master in Music Therapy, Anna-Lee has worked with children on the Autism spectrum and is currently teaching music in a Catholic school.

Anna-Lee Robertson (Williams) was an Emmanuel College Captain in 1993. Throughout her schooling she embraced the vibrant musical life of the College by joining the choir and playing flute and piano. With fellow students Emma (Condon) Watty and Kate Brian, Anna wrote the song, Peace is what we need, which was entered into the Song for Peace competition as part of the 1988 World Expo in Brisbane. The song was recorded professionally, sold locally and performed on television. Influenced by Music teacher Merran Adams, Anna completed AMEB singing exams and performed successfully in Eisteddfods throughout Victoria. “Her gentle encouragement was vital in developing me both as a singer and as a performer. She was influential in my pursuit of a musical career beyond school and university.” Following completion of VCE at Emmanuel College, Anna studied a Bachelor of Music at University of Melbourne majoring in Voice.

On completion of the Bachelor Degree, Anna-Lee obtained an agent and began auditioning. Some initial engagements: a small part in the movie The Wog Boy; singing at the Sydney Cabaret Convention and a role in the professional production of A Slice of Saturday Night. Anna performed in the production of Annie alongside Anthony Warlow, which toured Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Two other major professional shows followed consecutively: The Wizard of Oz, where she understudied Pamela Rabe as The Wicked Witch of the West and Man of La Mancha. In addition to music theatre roles, Anna-Lee began writing her own one-woman shows, including: Thank God I’m a Country Girl, which premiered at the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival before going to Capers Cabaret in Melbourne. A subsequent one-woman show, I Could Go On Singing, was written for Voices for Hospice; a worldwide event that created awareness and raised funds for palliative care. During this time, Anna-Lee also enjoyed the opportunity of many varied singing and performance engagements on television shows, soundtrack recordings and on stage in New York.

In 2004, Anna-Lee moved to London. A highlight was a coveted role in the 20th anniversary production of Phantom of the Opera performed at the famous Her Majesty’s Theatre. During this time, Anna also toured Scotland in the Fingask Follies and then travelled to New York again to participate in a summer school at Yale University. As a post-graduate resident at Goodenough College, she threw herself into the musical community, performing at Arts Nights, charity events and using the experiences that had gotten her there to create another one-woman show, London Dreaming.

At the end of 2006, Anna-Lee made her way back toward Australia as a performer on board the QM2. While spending the next 18 months touring in the Australian production of Phantom of the Opera, Anna decided to diversify her skills by studying a Master in Music Therapy at the University of Melbourne. Her study was interrupted by gaining a role in the national hit musical Mary Poppins. Anna-Lee performed the role of Miss Lark in Melbourne and Sydney but the real highlight was opening the Sydney season playing the role Miss Andrew to critical acclaim in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Anna-Lee completed her Masters in 2012. She was awarded a scholarship by the University, which took her to Bangladesh for her final placement. Along with 3 other students she volunteered at the Centre for Rehabilitation for the Paralysed, collaborating with local colleagues to plan and facilitate structured group music therapy sessions for children with special needs. The program was designed to promote individual self-expression, stimulation and interaction while addressing fine and gross motor skill development. Anna was then employed by the University to work on a randomised controlled trial to determine effects of improvisational music therapy on the social communication skills of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The job required immense flexibility as the work was essentially “improvised” from session to session, following a child-centred approach informed by improvisational principles and developmental psychology theory. Music can be a powerful motivator, especially for children with Autism.

Anna-Lee has used her musical and performing talents to contribute to the community performing at fundraisers and raising awareness for various causes including St Mary’s House of Hope in Melbourne. She lives in Geelong with her family and is currently teaching singing and music at Sacred Heart College. She hopes to instil in her students the same life long enthusiasm and passion for singing that Mrs Adams inspired in her at Emmanuel College.

In 2016 Anna-Lee sang at the 25th Anniversary of Emmanuel College for the opening of the Emmanuel Centre. Invited to write music to accompany the lyrics of a song, Anna performed with the accompaniment of the Emmanuel Singers for this special occasion.
View Anna-Lee's biography below:

Anna-Lee Robertson

Class of 1993