In 2008 Deborra-lee Furness founded About Change, a not-for-profit organisation which supports and educates families and communities in caring for displaced children – an abiding passion which she will bring to directing episodes of Neighbours.
The actress, who was a regular in Neighbours in 1985, will spend three weeks on the Fremantle show directing scenes in which same-sex couple Aaron (Matt Wilson) and David (Takaya Honda) decide to become permanent carers.
The serial’s executive producer Jason Herbison, who has an adopted daughter with his partner Pete, is familiar with the bureaucracy involved in the adoption process.
Impressed with her work through Adopt Change, Herbison invited her to direct the block with Kate Kendall. The adoption story arc plays out over three months, for which Deborra-lee will serve as a consultant. The episodes will go to air on 10 Peach in June.
“I am thrilled to be collaborating with the team at Neighbours to direct these episodes and tell a story that is not often represented in mainstream media,” says Furness, who adopted two children with her husband Hugh Jackman after suffering two miscarriages.
“There are almost 50,000 Australian children in temporary out-of-home care. We only get glimpses into their reality, and unfortunately that is usually when there are catastrophic outcomes.”
Herbison added: “To have a director who is so personally committed and emotionally invested in telling such an important story, lifts the bar for all us and we’re just thrilled to have Deborra-lee join us on Ramsay Street.”