Kelley Abbey is one of Australia’s most accomplished creative directors, choreographers and performers in Film, TV and Musical Theatre.
For 36 years Kelley has worked both nationally and internationally. Kelley began her career in lead musical theatre roles with Australia’s most prestigious production companies, and winning Green Room, Mo, Variety Heart and Helpmann Awards. She was renowned for her portrayal of Charity in Sweet Charity, Carmen in Fame the Musical and Rizzo in Grease the Arena Spectacular. She is also a renowned creative director and choreographer with an impressive international career encompassing television, film, stage, concert tours, and awards specials.
Kelley’s Choreographer credits include: the critically acclaimed Opera Australia’s Salome, Gale Edward’s Carmen on the Handa Harbour stage, John Bell’s Carmen on the Opera house main stage, the Helpmann Award winning Fame – The Musical in Australia, Asia and South Africa, her Helpmann nominated Footloose; and choreography for Follies, Grease the Arena Spectacular, Hedwig and The Angry Inch, Xanadu, Miracle City, Cabaret the Musical, Funny Girl with Caroline O’Connor, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Misanthrope for Bell Shakespeare and Hugh Jackman’s The Boy from Oz Arena, which earned her a Helpmann award for Best Choreography. Kelley was also the stage director on The Main Event concerts starring John Farnham, Olivia Newton-John and Anthony Warlow, and also the Two Strong Hearts tour starring John and Olivia. She was the Creative director on the 2014, 2019, 2020, 2021 series of Dancing WithThe Stars, a Helpmann nominated Director on the 2010 production of Fame the Musical, which she also choreographed, and also the Associate Director to Baz Luhrmann and resident director on Strictly Ballroom the Musical.
As Choreographer and Guest Judge for Television: So You Think You Can Dance (Australia and USA), Superstars of Dance (USA) working alongside Nigel Lythgoe, Simon Fuller and Michael Flatley, the Australian I Will Survive for Network Ten, Ultimate High School Musical, Packed to the Rafters, and Dance Academy 3, AFI Awards, MTV Awards, Aria Awards, The Voice, X Factor, The Logies.
In film Kelley’s choreographer credits include: In Her Skin with Sam Neil, Guy Pearce and Miranda Otto; Goddess with Laura Michelle Kelly, and choreographer, lead performer and creative motion capture consultant on the Golden Globe, BAFTA and Oscar winning, feature film Happy Feet, a role which earned her international accolades for best choreographer in a feature film in 2006 at the Los Angeles Choreography Media Honors.
Her latest endeavour has been co-producing a book along with Louise Telford called ‘Light The Way’– inspiring stories of Australian Dancers and Choreographers. The book has been so successful that it has inspired a 3-day dance event called ‘The Light the Way Dance Convention’ to be held annually at Sydney’s Coliseum Theatre & West HQ.