British-born with Sri Lankan heritage, singer-actor-writer Melissa Western was raised in Brisbane and is happily at home in the worlds of jazz, cabaret, improv and theatre. Over the past twenty years she has performed to audience and critical acclaim locally in Brisbane, nationally throughout Australia and internationally in the UK and France. Her self-penned one-woman musical Ella, Marilyn, Marlene and Me was an official sell-out two consecutive years at the Edinburgh Festival, garnering five star reviews from ThreeWeeks “absolutely brilliant… enthralling vocal talents wowed the audience” and four stars from The Scotsman “Melissa Western is on fire… it’s mainly about the eyes, the face and the voice.” Her original comedy-cabaret with partner Tnee Dyer, Sweet, Sour and Saucy received critical and audience acclaim, Western being touted as a “force of nature” (Broadway Baby, 5 stars). The show went on to be nominated for three Matilda Awards: Best Musical/Cabaret, Best Female Actor in a Leading Role and Best Set Design as well as Western being named Favourite Leading Female Performance in the Del Arte Charts, it has since toured Queensland, Western Australia and the UK.
Melissa is an Edinburgh veteran having toured seven times to the Festival, other career highlights include performances for the Prime Minister, Queensland Premier, multiple Women in Voice seasons, Brisbane Festival, Brisbane Powerhouse, Brisbane Cabaret Festival, Brisbane Jazz Club, Qld Music Festival, Woodford Folk Festival, Valley Jazz Festival, Brisbane City Hall, Adelaide Fringe Festival, The Tivoli, Bleach Festival, Out of the Box festival, Gold Coast Jazz and Blues Festival, Gold Coast Arts Centre, L’église – Avaux (France), Derry Jazz Festival (Ireland), La Boite Theatre, Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre.
She has recorded her own original CD Stepping Stone as well as releasing a live jazz CD, Live & Intimate and featuring on High Tide vol II (Brisbane Jazz Club), Tailspin: Brisbane Big Band tribute to Paul Gibens and Singin’ and Swingin’ with her Dad, Alan Western.
Melissa is a Churchill Fellow , was Valedictorian of her graduating Bachelor of Arts at UQ, holds a University Medal from the University of Queensland, first class Honours degree and was awarded her Masters of Philosophy in the field of Drama. She won a prestigious Churchill Fellowship to study improvised musical theatre in the UK and continues to teach and perform in the ground breaking genre.