Michael originally hails from Glasgow, Scotland, but spent his formative years in Western Australia. He is a graduate of Curtin University (1997), with BA English (Theatre Arts/Creative Writing), as well as a graduate of the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) Acting Course (2001). In 2008, he completed Honours in Performance Studies, again at Curtin. He completed a Masters in film and television directing and screenwriting at the WA Screen Academy (2008-09). He graduated with a PhD from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) in 2018.
Michael has worked professionally in the industry in different capacities since 2002. His short films directing credits include: Tartan (2013), commissioned as part of Screen Australia/FTI’s Raw Nerve initiative, which he also produced, which screened twice on ABC2 (2014) and nominated for two Best Performance by an Actress award at the WA Screen Awards; Hidden Clouds (2009), winner of Best Cinematography at the 2010 WA Screen Awards. Hidden Clouds screened at the prestigious Dungog Film Festival that year, along with his short documentary, Back to Burlesque (2009).
Michael’s theatre directing credits include: in 2023, Mark Ravenhill's adaptation of Brecht's Galileo with WAAPA 2nd Year Acting; the musical, Side Show, with WAAPA’s 3rd Year Musical Theatre students (2022); professional production of The Addams Family: a New Musical at the Regal Theatre, Perth (2021, remounted in 2022); Me Too: The Musical at Perth’s Fringeworld in 2021; The Blind Giant is Dancing by Stephen Sewell in 2017, ‘13’ by Mike Bartlett in 2015, and Lucy Prebble’s Enron in 2012, all with WAAPA’s 2nd Year Actors; Anthony Neilson’s Wonderful World of Dissocia and Timothy Daly’s Beach with WAAPA’s 2nd Year Musical Theatre Actors in 2019 and 2014; Broken Colour, an award winning premiere by Nina Pearce; Missing, a new Irish play for Fringeworld 2012, for which he was nominated Best Director, 2013 Equity Awards; The Maj Monologues 2011 and 2012
seasons at His Majesty’s Theatre; The Deep Blue Sea for Sally Burton’s Onward Production, the final drama staged at Perth Playhouse, nominated for Best Director, Actress (won), Design, Actor, Production at 2011 WA Equity Awards; the Australian premiere of John B. Keane’s The Matchmaker for Perth Theatre Co.; the WA premiere of Neil LaBute’s The Mercy Seat (2008) at His Majesty’s Theatre; the Australian premiere of Conor McPherson’s The Good Thief at the Blue Room (2007), followed by Adelaide Fringe (2008), Toronto and Winnipeg Fringes (2009); and the Sydney premiere of Michael Gurr’s Crazy Brave (TRS @ Old Fitzroy) in 2002, both of which he co-produced; 6 artist-in-residencies at Hayman Theatre Co. - Cosi (2003); his adaptation, with Tony Nicholls, of A Doll’s House (2006); Richard III (2008); and The Laramie Project (2011); an adaptation of The Tempest (2013); and Twelfth Night (2022). At French Woods Festival in New York, Michael has had the opportunity to direct youth productions of Honour, Airborne, Hurry, Lee Hall’s Pinocchio, Women of Troy, Time Flies, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Dancing at Lughnasa, Three Sisters, Twelve Angry Men, Diary of Anne Frank, The Seagull, Annie, Smile, Workout, League of Semi- Superheroes, Chicago, The Cherry Orchard and Little Dahlings, a musical for which he wrote the book.
Film and television acting credits feature: Homespun (Cockatoo Co Lab), directed by Socrates Otto; I Met a Girl (Monsoon Pictures), directed by Luke Eve; Tim Minchin’s Upright (Foxtel/Sky), directed by Matthew Saville; as Chris in The Heights Season 1 & 2 (ABCTV); Roll (SBS); The Shark Net (ABCTV); the lead in All to Themselves (Bondi Short Film Festival Finalist); the award winning short films La Serena, directed by Antony Webb and Before Closing, directed by Zak Hilditch; Three Acts of Murder (ABCTV), directed by Rowan Woods; These Final Hours (Screen Australia/Screenwest) and indie feature The Toll, again with Hilditch. Other appearances include the lead in FTI/LINK funded short, One Night Only (Hometown), for which he was nominated Best Actor at the WA Screen Awards, Barrow (Hometown/Encryption), and which featured at the 2016 Competition International de Courts Metrages, France; Pale Date (ABC2); Tide (Omenbird); as well as Red Dog: True Blue (Woss Group).
Theatre acting credits include: the Jim Sharman directed What the Butler Saw (Company B Belvoir, Sydney) starring Max Gillies, the title role in Macbeth (Class Act), Ghost Train (Barking Gecko) and Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare in the Park).
Michael was the Program Coordinator of the Communications and Media degree at the University of Notre Dame Fremantle and Course Coordinator for Film and Screen Production & Theatre Studies from 2014-2021, making the decision to head back into the creative industries in 2022.
From 2002-17, at Curtin University, he also regularly directed, lectured and tutored for the Theatre Arts, Film and Television and Creative Writing faculties. Most recently, Michael was the lecturer for the Film Directing course at North Metropolitan TAFE for a term, Theatre Arts at Murdoch University, and Media Ethics and Law for Notre Dame.
Michael has continued over the years to work variously as a teaching artist in theatre and film for universities (Curtin, ECU, NYU), drama academies (NIDA Open, WAAPA BA Acting & BA Musical Theatre), schools (state and independent), acting agencies (Actors Management, PACAS), training support organisations (FTI, Critical Stages), theatre companies (Bell Shakespeare, Black Swan, Barking Gecko) and community programs, from as far apart as Leonora to Sydney to New York.
In 2019, Michael contributed a chapter to the book Approaches to Acting Training, edited by Prof. John Freeman for Palgrave UK. He was also the co- author of “Acting Out Our Vanities: Why are university theatre students acting in productions, and how are we assessing them?”, also with Freeman, for the international journal Antropologica e Teatro (2021).
As a writer, Michael was commissioned in 2011 by Chris Bendall to write a play for Deckchair Theatre Company, working with young African migrants in Western Australia, utilizing the methodology of Mike Leigh. This was unfulfilled due to the closure of the company, but the script process then became the foundation for his doctorate. In 2011, Michael was briefly Director of STAGES WA, the Playwrights Consortium, and sat on their Script Development Panelist Pool. Michael was part of the final STAGES WA board, until it closed in 2016, due to cessation of funding. He continues to work regularly as a dramaturg for the theatre and script editor for screen.
Michael is a proud Equity member (since 2001), serving on the WA Equity committee (since 2002) and was Vice President of MEAA WA and WA representative on the Equity National Performers Committee (2005-06), and re-elected as a Federal Delegate to the NPC (2017-2019). He served on the inaugural National Screen Committee (2018-19) and National Wellness Committee (2017) and the inaugural National Diversity Committee (from 2014) and is a founding member of the Cross Union Climate Committee. He received and maintains his Australian Academy Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA)/Australian Film Institute (AFI) accreditation as an Actor and Director (since 2015). Michael represented MEAA on the inaugural Chairs Committee of the WA Chamber of Arts and Culture (2010-2012) and the WA Arts Federation (2006-08). He was Australian Directors Guild (ADG) WA State Representative in 2010-2011 and a member of the Australian Writers Guild (2008-2018). He served on (2002-2012) and was Honorary Vice President of the WA Equity Benevolent Guild. He has also served on the Screenwest Industry Association Committee and Courses Committee, as well as contributing to STAGES Script Development Funding Panel and continues in the pool of DLGSC Arts and Culture Peer Assessors.
Michael has sat on the board of the Film and Television Institute (FTI) of WA (2013-17), and has also served on the boards of Barking Gecko Theatre Company (2016-17) and the Revelation Perth International Film Festival (2016-19, rejoined 2023). Currently, Michael sits on the Artistic Advisory Group of Black Swan State Theatre Co. He continues to advocate for the Arts and Screen sector throughout Australia and has recently taken on the role of Electoral Officer for Hon Dr. Anne Aly, Federal Member for Cowan.