Ming-Zhu Hii has been working in film, television and theatre for over fifteen years. Her professional debut as an actor was in her final year of her BDrA at VCA School of Drama, as one of four actors selected to co-create and perform experimental German theatre maker, Uwe Mengel’s Lifeline in the 2002 Melbourne International Arts Festival.
From there, Ming-Zhu went on to work regularly in television and film, and on Australia’s independent and main stages. She’s performed with Melbourne Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre, Sydney Theatre Company, Playbox Theatre, and the State Theatre Company of South Australia.
Ming-Zhu began making her own work in 2006, and premiered her first piece for theatre, Y. (on the life and work of Yoko Ono) at Melbourne’s Next Wave Festival. Her work for live performance has continued to explore the fault lines between theatre, live art, multimedia and video art and installation.
Significant explorations in these kinds of hybrid productions include 2009’s critically acclaimed Attract/Repel, and 2013’s Until Then, Then and This Is Beautiful. In 2017, she created an expanded cinematic installation at Mailbox Art Space called Dead Drop, as a contemplative coda to her first short, Close Observations of a Single Subject.
Following a busy 2009 where she made two new works for theatre, sat on two Green Room panels, performed on the main stage and spent a great deal of time speaking and writing on the subject of diversity and representation in the performing arts, 2010-2012 saw Ming-Zhu take a hiatus from theatre making and acting. She undertook a business qualification and opened a curated art and design gift store called Orlando and Ivy, through which she began to work as a small business coach for local makers and creatives. She leapt from there over to a six-month stint as the founding head of events and special projects for Dumbo Feather magazine; but in late 2012 Ming-Zhu realised home was calling, and returned to making theatre and working as a performer, and started exploring screen-based practice more formally, and with great hunger.
She undertook an AdDip in Screen & Media (with a focus on screenwriting and producing), and in 2015 formed the tiny independent production company, Find & Replace Films with producers Alexandra Curtis and Nicholas Coghlan (also her husband). She has since gone on to make two narrative shorts — including 2018’s award-winning Intrusion (Best Experimental, LA Shorts; Narrative Finalist, Heartland’s Indy Shorts), and is currently working on a feature-length experimental-narrative work for cinema on the violence of looking as it relates to physical violence in contemporary society.
She is the current 2018/19 Director in Residence at Malthouse Theatre, and she continues to work as an actor and has a significant practice as a sought-after commercial voiceover artist, represented by EM Voices. Her recent acting work for screen has included feature films Upgrade, Peter Rabbit and That’s Not Me, and for television, Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell and The Ex-PM, Get Krack!n, Newton’s Law and Sisters. (Fun fact: for someone whose own artistic practice is genuinely quite serious, she tends to get cast in comedy roles a lot.)
As an artist Ming-Zhu is influenced by curious, contemplative and reflexive filmmakers including Michael Haneke, Angela Schanelec and Chris Marker; fine and multidisciplinary artists, Sophie Calle, Eve Sussman, Bill Viola, John Cage, Philippe Parreno and Tacita Dean; and theatre makers Romeo Castellucci and Jerôme Bel.
Ming-Zhu refers to the core philosophical approach of her work as ‘Memory Practice’.
Selected Directing Work & Art Projects
2017 Short Film: INTRUSION (winner: Best Experimental, LA Shorts; Finalist: Best Narrative, Indy Shorts)
2017 Installation: DEAD DROP, Mailbox Art Space
2016 Short Film: CLOSE OBSERVATIONS OF A SINGLE SUBJECT (distrib: Gonella Films)
2013 Video Art / Theatre: THIS IS BEAUTIFUL, Malthouse Theatre, Helium Season
2013 Multimedia / Theatre: UNTIL THEN, THEN, La Mama Theatre
2009 Theatre / Installation / Video: ATTRACT/REPEL, The Store Room / Melbourne Fringe Festival
2009 Theatre / Installation: SANDWICHES, The Melbourne Town Players, site-specific installation
2008 Theatre / Installation / Video: TWO (site-specific residential installation)
2006 Theatre: Y. (on the life & work of Yoko Ono), Next Wave Festival, Arts House Meat Market
Selected Acting Credits
2019 TV Elizabeth Jane GET KRACK!N / Get Krack!n/ABC, Hayden Guppy
2018 TV Various SHAUN MICALLEF’S MAD AS HELL ITV/ABC, Jon Olb
2018 FF Dr. Diana Gordon UPGRADE Goalpost/Blumhouse, Leigh Whannell
2018 FF Sarabeth PETER RABBIT Animal Logic/Sony Pictures, Will Gluck
2017 TV Angela SISTERS Endemol Shine, Emma Freeman
2017 WS Max THE CIRCLE Felix Williamson, Felix Williamson
2017 TV Rita THE EX-PM (Season 2) CJZ / ABC, Shaun Wilson
2017 TV Elizabeth Jane GET KRACK!N Get Krack!n/ABC, Hayden Guppy
2017 FF Corrie THAT'S NOT ME Storey Kids, Gregory Erdstein
2017 ST Woman REVOLT. SHE SAID. REVOLT AGAIN. Malthouse Theatre, Janice Muller
2017 TV Claire NEWTON'S LAW Every Cloud / ABC, Jennifer Leacey
2016 TV Grace THE FUTURE IS EXPENSIVE ABC Comedy Showroom, Matthew Saville
2016 TV Catherine THE LET DOWN ABC Comedy Showroom, Trent O'Donnell
2016 SF Marion EDIT Find & Replace Films, Ming-Zhu Hii
2015 TV Rita THE EX-PM CJZ / ABC, Sian Davies
2014 TV Natasha PARTY TRICKS Endemol, Kate Dennis / Emma Freeman
2014 TV Georgie OFFSPRING Southern Star, Emma Freeman
2013 ST The Actor WHITE RABBIT, RED RABBIT Malthouse Theatre, Janice Muller
2009 ST Yakanova REALISM Melbourne Theatre Co., Peter Evans
2008 ST Adele LOVERS & HATERS Adelaide Festival, Aarne Neeme
2007 ST Regina GHOSTS Branch Theatre Company, Melanie Beddie
2006 TV Tam SECRETARY - Pilot Network Ten/Southern Star, Kate Dennis
2006 ST Y. Y. Next Wave, Ming-Zhu Hii/Gerard Williams
2006 ST Doris Quiverton THE TIME IS NOT YET RIPE Here Theatre, Jane Wollard
2005 ST Various METAMORPHOSIS STC/Malthouse, Ben Winspear
2004 ST Sian DINNER Melbourne Theatre Co., Julian Meyrick
2004 ST Ekaterina TRAITORS Branch/La Mama, Melaine Beddie
2003 TV Barnet NEWTOWN Joel Silver & Craig Silverson, Leslie Linka Glatter
2003 ST Marguerite MYTH, PROPAGANDA AND DISASTER STCSA / Playbox, Aubrey Mellor
2002 ST Li Ling Baines LIFELINE Melbourne International Festival, Uwe Mengel
Actor’s Equity (Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance)
Including Equity Voiceover Committe & Equity Diversity Committee
2018/19 Female Director in Residence, Malthouse Theatre
Bachelor of Dramatic Art, Victorian College of the Arts, School of Drama (2002)
Advanced Diploma Screen and Media (Film & TV Project Development), Open Channel (2014)
Certificate IV in Small Business Management, Holmesglen TAFE (2010)