Having grown up in small, remote mining towns across Australia, Claire Tonkin has always been passionate about telling uniquely Australian stories.
As a teenager, the power of telling these stories became apparent when Claire became very ill and was bedridden and housebound for several years with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Determined to raise awareness about the illness, Claire began speaking out about her experience, raising media and community awareness about children struggling with this debilitating disease. She became the spokeswoman for the young sufferers in WA, started a support group for young sufferers and co-founded an international fundraising effort – the ‘International Rest-a-thon’. For her efforts, Claire was awarded the WA Young Citizen of the Year award in 1999.
Determined to tell her own stories, Claire studied writing and by 2003 she was working in the script department at Channel Seven’s All Saints. Moving to Network TEN in 2005, Claire helped develop series including The Surgeon and Tripping Over and the telemovies Emerald Falls, Joanne Lee: Murder in the Outback and Society Murders.
In 2005, Claire’s short film Fingerprints was a finalist in Tropfest, while her second short film Button, received the 2007 Short Film Award at the prestigious Australian Writers’ Guild Awards. In 2009 her television script Me & Mine won an International Emmy with Claire receiving the Sir Peter Ustinov Television Scriptwriting Award in New York.
Aged 27, Claire became TEN’s Network Drama Executive, the youngest person in Australia working in this role. For the last four years, Claire has worked closely with the Network’s Executive Producer for Drama, to oversee the development and production of all Australian drama projects for TEN. These include successful prime time series such as Rush and Offspring, telemovies such as Hawke and Neighbours, Australia’s longest running prime time serial. Her passion for telling uniquely Australian stories continues.