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Nicki Holland

inducted 2013 The Arts

About Nicki Holland

After completing her education at St Pius X Primary School and St Ann's College, Nicki Holland began working in Warrnambool businesses including Spotlight, Jabo Hairdressing, the Mahogany Ship Restaurant, KFC and Vantage. Nicki loved working life but from a young age the love of performing has been her great passion.

Nicki's big break came in 1998 when she performed a role with Warrnambool's Break of Day Players. Invited by former director Ian Pidd to join the Back to Back Theatre Group, Nicki moved to Geelong. Back to Back Theatre was founded in Geelong in 1987 to create theatre with people who are perceived to have a disability. It has gone on to become one of Australia's leading creative voices, focusing on moral, philosophical and political questions about the value of individual lives and is Australia's only professional theatre group for people with disabilities. The group has won many awards and has performed in over 50 countries. At Back to Back Nicki rehearsed and created new plays, returning home to Warrnambool on weekends.

Following her Back to Back debut performance of Peter Pan, Nicki then performed in Mr September, Boomtown, Drag Racers in Love, Sally and Bunce, Mental, Dog Farm and Food Court, to name only a few.

These performances have taken Nicki to the stage in venues in Melbourne, the Sydney Opera House and also to the world stage when Back to Back toured its production of Soft. Soft is a play that explores the social implications of developing genetic technologies, specifically the ethical dilemmas of pre-natal screening.

A large-scale theatrical performance, Soft was created and first presented at the 2002 Melbourne International Arts Festival. The production received an overwhelming response from the general public and the international arts community. The production was also performed in Switzerland and Germany.

Developed from conversations between the Back to Back ensemble and scientists working on the development and application of genetic screening technologies, the strength of the play is enhanced by Nikki's performance, providing the physical representation of Down Syndrome - a genetic condition that society increasingly seeks to eradicate. Nicki has also been a significant contributor to the storylines and content of the Back to Back productions.

While living in Geelong, Nicki served the community through volunteering at the Geelong Hospital X-Ray Department, welcoming patients and escorting them to the waiting area.

Nicki's family is very proud of her achievements and is very pleased with the opportunities given to her by the mainstream education she received at St Ann's College, including the social opportunities and lifelong friendships.