Mark Coles Smith is a Nyikina actor, writer, producer and sound designer. Growing up in Broome in the far north-west of Australia, Mark did not foresee his international acting career. "I've always had a pretty fluid imagination, but by no means did I expect to be where I am today," he said. Mark yarns with 3KND. With a gift for storytelling, Mark has worked across several performing arts’ genres, first and foremost as an actor, and also as a writer, producer and sound designer.
In 2017, Mark won a Helpmann Award for Best Male Actor in a Play for his work on Leah Purcell’s acclaimed adaptation of The Drover’s Wife. He previously received a Best Supporting Actor AACTA nomination and a Best Supporting Actor win at the Film Critics’ Circle of Australia awards for his work in the feature film Last Cab to Darwin. For Pawno, he received an AACTA nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Earlier in his career, Mark was awarded the Casting Guild of Australia’s inaugural Sirius Award for New Talent of the Future. ost recently, Mark had guest roles on Channel Nine’s Halifax, ABC’s Les Norton and the hilarious Mad Kids series KGB. He regularly appears on Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell, on ABC.
Mark presented the ABC documentary Will Australia Ever Have a Black Prime Minister?, from UpFront Films, and starred in Lucy Durack’s 2019 writing debut Lift, which was nominated for several 2018 Melbourne WebFest Awards, including Best Supporting Actor for Mark. In 2018, Mark voiced the character of Crash in the gaming world’s long-awaited Call of Duty Black Ops 4, for PlayStation. He works as a sound designer under the alias Kalaji, which is a Nyikina word for ‘whirlwind’, originating from the Mardoowarra River of far north Western Australia. His 2019 show Night River was his first major experimental work and played at the Yirramboi festival in Melbourne. He has produced across an array of genres and projects, including the sound for Ilbijerri Theatre Company’s 2018 production of Which Way Home.
On stage, he recently played Jason in Bottomless, at FortyFiveDownstairs, and Joel in the Melbourne and Sydney seasons of Bliss, at Malthouse and Belvoir St theatres. Previous theatre credits include Jandamarra, under the direction of Phil Thompson, and Wulamanayuwi and Seven Pamanuas, directed by Noel Jordan for the Darwin Festival.
Previous screen credits include the short film Miro, directed by Victoria Wharfe McIntyre; Picnic at Hanging Rock; Doctor Doctor; US series Hunters, for the SyFy Network; Old School, opposite Bryan Brown and Sam Neill; The Gods of Wheat Street; a lead guest in the hit American comedy Modern Family; Hard Rock Medical, a co-production between SBS TV and Canada’s TV Ontario; and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, among others.
Mark has a certificate in Aboriginal Theatre from WAAPA and a Bachelor in Indigenous Studies. He as worked under the guidance of Gary Crew as part of the Indigenous Mentorship Program for the Australian Society of Authors. In 2007 he won the Yvonne Cohen Award from the VCA Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts. In 2008 he took out a grant from ScreenWest for the short film Layoordoo, which he wrote, co-produced and directed, while also featuring in a supporting role. Layoordoo screened at Toronto’s ImagiNATIVE Film Festival.