Karen is an award-winning actor and director and the founder of Chaika Theatre. She has a Bachelor of Arts with Honours and First Place from the University of Melbourne, a Bachelor of Dramatic Art in Acting from NIDA, and an MA in Theatre and Film Studies from the University of New South Wales.
Karen graduated from NIDA in 1983. She has performed in all media and for a range of companies including Sydney Theatre Company, Belvoir, commercial theatre, independent theatre, ABC TV and radio, film and commercial television.
Theatrical highlights from her Sydney days include Nicholas Nickleby and All My Sons for Sydney Theatre Company, and A Streetcar Named Desire starring Martin Shaw and Angela Punch McGregor.
Screen credits include Oscar and Lucinda, Murder Call, Home & Away, Love My Way, All Saints, A Country Practice, Rafferty's Rules and Sons & Daughters.
Karen was a lecturer at NIDA from 1996- 2011, becoming Head of Performance Practices in 2006. She has translated Russian classic dramas for NIDA, WAAPA, Belvoir, Sydney Theatre Company and others, notably Summerfolk and Vassa Zheleznova by Maxim Gorky, and The Seagull and A Jubilee by Anton Chekhov. Most recently she translated Chekhov’s Three Sisters for Sport for Jove.
Since coming to Canberra, Karen has won a number of awards for acting and directing. She has appeared for Canberra Rep as M’Lynn in Steel Magnolias, Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest, Beatrice in A View from the Bridge, Anna Akhmatova in The Woman in the Window (CAT Award), Ma Joad in The Grapes of Wrath and Jaques in Lakespeare's As You Like It.
Other roles in Canberra include Violet in Free Rain’s August: Osage County for which she was winner of a CAT Award and Canberra Critics’ Circle Award. For Everyman Theatre she played Joanne in Sondheim’s Company. As co-founder of Pigeonhole Theatre with Jordan Best and Liz Bradley, Karen played Mrs Betterton in their acclaimed production of Playhouse Creatures which premiered at The Q and represented Australia at the Festivale Mondiale du Theatre in Monte Carlo. The production toured to Brisbane, and played in Victoria throughout early 2019. She recently appeared in a short film by Scott Holgate, The Comeback. She played a variety of roles in Mockingbird’s acclaimed production of The Laramie Project & The Laramie Project 10 Years Later. Karen received accolades and a Canberra Critics’ Circle Award for Pigeonhole’s sell-out season of Switzerland at the Canberra Theatre Centre.
Karen began directing whilst teaching at NIDA. Plays at NIDA include The Shifting Heart, Our Country’s Good, Playing with Fire, and Summer Shadows.
Karen was tutor in acting and audition technique at Canberra Youth Theatre and was nominated for a CAT Award for Best Director for her direction of CYT Senior Ensemble in David Ives’ All in the Timing. Karen has been Chair of Canberra Youth Theatre since 2017.
She directed The Normal Heart for Everyman Theatre and Summer of the Seventeenth Doll for Pigeonhole receiving Canberra Critics’ Circle awards for both. In 2020 she directed Brighton Beach Memoirs for Canberra Rep which also saw her receive a Canberra Critics Circle award.
The Chaika Theatre Team
Founder and Artistic Director: Karen Vickery
Associate Director: Natasha Vickery
Associate Producer: Belinda Henderson
Costumes: Anna Senior / Photography: Jane Duong
Scenic Art: Leigh Renneberg / Production Management: Sue Gore Phillips
Properties: Yanina Clifton
Liz Bradley, Carolyn Eccles, Lainie Hart,
Blue Hyslop, Alex Hoskison, Amy Kowalczuk,
Luke Rogers, Ylaria Rogers, Jarrad West