Biography

Biography

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Donna Anita Nikolaisen

Background

Of Irish-Caribbean heritage, Donna was drawn to the magic of Acting from a young age. She trained as a teenager in drama at Monfort College, Cork and her earliest performance was at The Cork Cat Club. After initially getting a degree in BIS from UCC and moving towards a career in IT, she did a u-turn. A trip around America, The Middle East and Asia rekindled her dream to become an actor.

TV & FILM

Donna’s TV break came in 2013 with the role of Zambian nurse ‘Ama Chisenga’ on the TV Soap ‘Fair City’. Playing the stoic yet fun loving Ama, an outsider who finds refuge in Carrigstown, was both a joy and a career changing role. Since leaving the show in 2017 Donna won Best Supporting Actor at the 2018 Underground Cinema Festival for her role in the powerful award-winning short film ‘QED’, directed by Amy-Joyce Hastings. Recent roles in TV and Film include ‘Lucy Doyle’ in TV Drama ‘The South Westerlies’ (2020), ‘Louisa Short’ in TV Drama ‘Blood’ (2020) and ‘Grace Ture’ in Feature Film ‘Sweetness in the Belly’ (2019).

STAGE

Her love for both acting and music meant that she first stepped on a Dublin stage in the musical ‘Evita’ with The Guinness Players and ‘South Pacific’ with the Pioneer Musical Society. Her first dramatic role in a play was that of Margaret in ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ with The Dublin Shakespeare Society. After further training with the Stanislavsky Studio at The Focus Theatre and in BelCanto Voice she went on to portray a number of challenging characters on stage.

These include the formidable Mrs Muller in John Patrick Shanleys ‘Doubt’; the embattled Silk Campbell in ‘No Irish No Blacks No Dogs’; the straight talking Lebanese journalist Rima in ‘Talking to Terrorists’; a terrorised mother in ‘Tea Chests and Dreams’; one of the warrior women in ‘The Bacchae of Baghdad’ at The Abbey; and the fragile yet feral Bertha Mason in ‘Jane Eyre’ at The Gate; Donna set up True Voice Theatre in 2010 as an independent theatre entity and has produced and performed Melfi’s off-Broadway classic ‘Birdbath’ and Chekhov’s comedy ‘The Bear’ and ‘The Proposal’.

VOICE & MUSIC

As a voice over artist she is represented by Voice Bank. She recently narrated the audio book for ‘Strange Flowers’ by Donal Ryan. She also narrated the BBC/TV3 documentary ‘Ireland’s Refugee Hotel’ and the Virgin Media documentary ‘The Story of Water’.

Donna’s love for music lead to her 2019 online release of debut album ‘LORE’, released as double EP ‘Lore Bealtaine’ and ‘Lore Samhain’ – a collection of twelve songs drifting between the eternal desire to hold on, but the eventual need to let go. The songs are available on all the usual virtual stores including Spotify, iTunes and Bandcamp.


Awards

Donna and Mark Quinn

Donna won Best Supporting Actor for her role as Ali, a young woman dealing with a tragic event in her life, in the powerful short film ‘QED’ at the 2018 Underground Cinema Film Festival. Directed by Amy-Joyce Hastings ‘QED’ was selected for the 2018 Cannes Short Film Corner and won Best Overall Short Film at the 2018 Santa Fe Film Festival and New Mexico Film Festival.


Representation

Donna is based in Dublin and is represented in Ireland and the UK by Byrons Management. As a voice over artist she is represented by Voice Bank and is the voice of numerous commercial campaigns.


Training

Acting for Camera Course, Film Venture
Stanislavsky Studio (2 years), The Focus Theatre
Chekhov Workshop, Rayla Tadjimotova
Meisner Workshop, Momentum Acting Studio
Jazz Ballet Course, Elena Degtyareva
Voice (1 year), BelCanto School of Voice
Music Theatre (1 year), Waltons School of Music
LAMDA Speech & Drama (3 years), Montfort College
Web Designer at Visual Aspects 
BSc Business Information Systems (Hon), UCC
Full Drivers Licence

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