Oonagh has been creating music and sound works for radio, theatre, film, dance, live performance, public art, installation and with the community for over 25 years. In 1996 she received a Postgraduate Diploma In Composition from Sydney University, studying with Peter Sculthorpe, Ann Boyd and Ross Edwards and in 1991 a BA in Literature, Law and Australian Aboriginal History from Macquarie University. In 2002 through ‘Women In Film and Television’ she was under the mentorship of composer and musician David Bridie.
As composer and sound designer Oonagh has been commissioned to produce soundtracks for over thirty productions, including a live cello score for Monkey Baa Theatre Co’s adaptation of Jackie French’s Diary of a Wombat 2017, a soundtrack for Circa circus: When One Door Closes 2016, a live cello score for UTP’s site-specific adaptation of Michael Mohammed Ahmad’s The Tribe Sydney Festival 2015, Belvoir 2016, Victoria 2017 and music for the ABCRN, ABC online, UNSW/Museum of Victoria icinema multi-platform documentary Retrospect 2015. For the Dictionary of Sydney she created music for their online walking tour of Old Irish Sydney 2014.
As writer and producer she has been commissioned to make five music-driven feature documentaries for ABC RN, including Yarramundi and the People of Dyarubbin 2021 for the History Listen, Ashok Roy…from India with Love for Into the Music 2015, for Poetica: An ear on my heart 2008 and The Earthbound Spirit 2004 and for Radio Eye Heart of Conflict 2005. In 2015 she was commissioned to make a short film for PARRAMASALA Ashok Roy: Surmani.
Oonagh is deeply inspired by the music of nature and the stories of place, particularly waterways. In 2012 she created the installation River for Portland Regional Gallery, in 2017 with funding from Penrith City Council devised South Creek Wianamatta Turning a festival of nature, stories and sound and in 2019, 2020 & 2021 received funding from CREATE NSW, the Australia Council for the Arts, the Australian government’s Arts funding and advisory body, and Museums and Galleries NSW to develop and produce 11 Stories From the River Dyarubbin, 11 location based audio-walks on Dyarubbin the Hawkesbury river featuring an original music work and Dharug, historic and environmental stories and images. Launched in 2022 with an accompanying exhibition at the Museum launched in 2023
Oonagh studied cello with Phillipa Jackson learninhg to play Hindustani music on the cello, studying with Sarod Master Ashok Roy. Oonagh worked at the Sydney Opera House as a sound engineer from 2000 – 2006. Oonagh works with children, teaching and conducting music ensembles at several schools in Western Sydney
videographer – Bangadyi Nawi – (2023) creation of a short video documenting the process of makng a traditional Nawi / bark canoe with Aboriginal students on Dharug Country for Hawkesbury Regional Museum
producer, composer, co-curator – 11 Stories from the River Dyarubbin – (2019-2023) 11 site specific audio walks along Dyarubbin the Hawkesbury River, featuring original music, sound, historic, cultural and ecological stories shared by over 80 participants, with assistance from Create NSW, the Australia Council for the Arts, Museums and Galleries NSW
sound and video artist – The Rainbow Passes Through – Ngara Badu – Hawkesbury Regional Gallery 2022 – an installaton commissioned by Haweksbury Regional Gallery for the Dyarubbin Exhibition
producer, composer – ABC RN feature for The History Listen (2021) Yarramundi and the people of Dyarubbin Darug knowledge holders share their long and enduring relationship with this country, and the river they know as Dyarubbin (The Hawkesbury River) with Emeritus Professor of history at UNSW Grace Karskens
composer, sound designer – Where the Streets Had a Name Monkey Baa Theatre Company (2017) director Eva Di Cesare, adapted by Eva Di Cesare from the book by Randa Abdel-Fattah
producer, sound artist – South Creek Wianamatta Turning…A Festival of Nature, Stories and Sound A Community Arts Place making project on the banks of South Creek St Mary’s, where community members and school students from St Mary’s Public School joined in sound sculpture making, a clean up event, guided walks, native plantings and sharing in stories of environment, pollution, history and culture, including a social media presence and culminating in a documentary
composer – Diary of a Wombat Monkey Baa Theatre Company (2017) director Eva Di Cesare, adapted by Eva Di Cesare from the book by Jackie French
sound designer – The Cartographer’s Curse National Theatre of Parramatta with Third Space Productions (2016) director: Paula Abood
composer, sound designer – When One Door Closes Circa Circus with La Boite Theatre Co. (2016) directors: Yaron Lifschitz and Libby McDonell
composer, cellist – The Tribe produced by Urban Theatre Projects in Bankstown Live, Sydney Festival (2015) and Belvoir St Theatre (2016) Castlemaine State Festival and Substation (2017) director Janice Muller, writer: Mohammed Ahmad
composer – multiplatform documentary Retrospect for UNSW iCinema, ABC online and ABC RN (2015) producers: Denis Del Favero, Tony Macgregor, Jo Upham, Megan Lawrence, Michelle Rayner
writer, producer – short film Pandit Ashok Roy, SURMANI…Pearl of Melody commissioned by and premiered at Parramasala (2014)
writer, producer – radio feature Ashok Roy …from India with love for ABC RNs Into the Music (2014)
composer – gps enabled app Old Irish Sydney Walking Tour (2014) produced by Dictionary of Sydney
composer – ABC RN radio play Cloud Cover (2013) dir/prod: Anna Messariti, writer: Noelle Janaczewska
sound artist – River sound installation for the exhibition ’12:12:2012 an environmental response’ at Portland Regional Gallery (2012),
composer – ABC RN radio play the Fox (2011) dir/prod: Anna Messariti, writer: Catherine Zimdahl
composer – short films “A perfect statistic” and “Will be done”(2009) – for the RAA and online social network Journey Beyond Road Trauma, dir: Sandra Cook
composer – feature film The Dinner Party (2008), writer/dir: Scott Murden
composer – Tales from the Arabian Nights (2004) writer: Donna Abela, dir: Patrick Nolan and “Go Pinocchio!”(2005) writer: Scott Rankin dir: Kim Carpenter with Kim Carpenter’s Theatre of Image.
composer – “Below”(2000) for Griffin Theatre Co, dir: Patrick Nolan, writer: Ian Wilding and “Krapp’s Last Tape”(1998) by Samuel Beckett dir: Lois Norman with Sydney Theatre Co.
composer and co-writer – children’s theatre show “I Trust My Brain”(1994) dir: Nadine Helmi written with Phil Joseph prod: Wry Grin Productions – also adapted for ABC TV’s playschool.