Tony Le Nguyen

Teacher, Actor, Writer & Director

Tony Le-Nguyen, born Le Thien Toan in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam, in 1968, began his career in acting under the name Tony Lee in 1985. He later changed his name to Tony Le-Nguyen in 1995 when he transitioned to directing.

Le-Nguyen studied Television Production Techniques at RMIT in Melbourne in 1989. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Drama Arts and Community Development in 1998, followed by a Graduate Diploma of Education from Victoria University two years later.

He is the founder of The Drama Lab, a research centre for drama in education in Vietnam. Over the past three decades, he has amassed extensive experience in the arts, having acted, written plays, directed, produced, and taught. He has over ten years of experience teaching drama at Caroline Chisholm College in Melbourne, Australia, and has been teaching drama and life skills in Vietnam since 2013.

Le-Nguyen made his stage debut in Australia in 1986 with actress Maria Coustas and Handspan Theatre in the play “A Change of Face,” directed by Carmelina di Guglielmo. From 1990 to 1992, he performed with the Victoria State Opera in “Madama Butterfly” and “Titus” at TheaterWorks under directors David Pledger and Robert Draffin.

He is best known for his role as “Tiger” alongside actor Russell Crowe in the 1992 movie “Romper Stomper,” directed by Geoffrey Wright. He has also appeared in numerous Australian TV shows, including “Stingers,” “SeaChange,” “Raw FM,” “GP,” “Fast Forward,” “All Together Now,” “Embassy,” “Secrets,” “The Damnation of Harvey McHugh,” “Paradise Beach,” “English at Work,” and “Australia’s Most Wanted.”

In May 1994, Tony Le-Nguyen founded the Australian Vietnamese Youth Media (AVYM) Group at the Footscray Community Arts Centre. In 1995, the group received its first funding from Queens Trust Australia to create “Running in Circles,” a production written and directed by Le-Nguyen. The following year, he secured additional funding from the Arts Council of Australia and the Sidney Myer Foundation to present a fully professional rendition of “Running in Circles” at the Napier Street Theatre in South Melbourne. In 1998, Urban Theatre Projects commissioned Le-Nguyen to direct a new interpretation of the play in Sydney.

Following the success of “Running in Circles,” Tony Le-Nguyen continued his professional career in various community productions. These include the highly acclaimed “A Time of Our Lives” at St Martin’s Youth Theatre & Flemington Community Centre and the co-direction of the pioneering Vietnamese drama “Worlds Apart,” which aired on SBS Television in Australia. Le-Nguyen directed “Now I Lay Me Down” by Frank Ottis at La Mama Theatre, as well as “Taboo.” He co-wrote and produced the play “Aussie Bia Om,” presented at the Next Wave Festival, and directed a segment of the Maribyrnong Festival. Additionally, he produced “Children of the Dragon” at Trades Hall in 2005 and “Silence” in 2008 at La Mama Theatre in Melbourne.

In 2000, he became the first Vietnamese individual to be awarded an Arts Council of Australia Community Development Fellowship to study the Vietnamese diaspora worldwide. Since then, he has been invited to lecture and teach in the US, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, and Vietnam. Since late 2013, he has been back in Vietnam delivering talks, drama workshops, and soft skills training for various schools and organizations. These include HCM City Dance School, HCM City Theatre, Quoc Thao Theatre, Erato School of Music & Performing Arts, Koto Vietnam, FPT University, Hoa Sen University, Fulbright University, RMIT University Vietnam, Da Nang University, Can Tho Disability Association, Black Box Hanoi, 123TV, Arttown Ecopark Vietnam, TH School Hanoi, Hanoi Steiner School, Sentia Primary School Hanoi, the Institute of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam, Rong Tien Sa Da Nang, Will To Live Centre Hanoi, School on the Boat Hanoi, and SM English Centre.