Australian Story: Sept 18

Monday’s Australian Story profiles performer Kiruna Stamell whose talent is never constrained by physical perceptions.

Born with a rare form of dwarfism, actor and dancer Kiruna Stamell has faced ridicule and discrimination all her life. But her determination to be a performer has never wavered and she has overcome every hurdle with dignity and grace.

Roles for short-statured actors tend to be one-dimensional and often demeaning but Kiruna refuses to be defined by her height. She chooses to play the kind of roles she might perform in real life – a mother, a lover, a lawyer or a nurse – and by doing so hopes to challenge perceptions of people with dwarfism.

For the past 15 years she has worked consistently on stage and screen. Her roles include the film Moulin Rouge, the soap opera EastEnders, the Ricky Gervais comedy Life’s Too Short and three plays at London’s prestigious National Theatre.

Australian Story filmed with Kiruna, her family and her husband, actor Gareth Berliner, while she was involved in an Australian production of The Rover.

8pm Monday on ABC.

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