A sharp sense of loss and sadness comes with the news that Sydney actor Bardiya McKinnon has died.
One of the most emotionally nimble actors you could hope to observe and a rising star in the Sydney theatre scene, McKinnon sustained grave injuries in a hit and run incident near Sydney Tunnel while riding his motor bike on Saturday November 21. The event left Bardiya in a critical condition and on November 23, he died in hospital, watched over by his loved ones.
McKinnon got his start in the SBS police drama East West 101 and the Disney channel’s As the Bell Rings, which he starred in for 4 years.
McKinnon came to our attention as a member of the talented ensemble of ATYP’s 2016 production of Spring Awakening directed by Mitchell Butel. In 2017 he featured in Outback Theatre Company’s Australian premiere of British writer Stuart Slade’s BU21, a play set in the aftermath of the deliberate downing of a passenger jet over a city. He was pitch perfect in the role of a haunted young Englishman who lost a parent on that flight.
He played the nerdy Lewis in US writer Qui Nguyen’s irony-drenched horror-comedy Alice in Slasherland at the Old Fitzroy Theatre. He also featured in Apocalypse Theatre Company’s multi-award-winning 2018 production Metamorphoses, directed by Dino Dimitriadis, and in Dennis Kelly’s DNA, directed by Claudia Barrie at the Kings Cross Theatre – the latter a production by Last One Standing Theatre Company, which McKinnon co-founded.
Two shows in particular stand out in a too-brief career: his quicksilver playing of the unnamed male role in Mike Bartlett’s An Intervention (Old 505 Theatre), which, in cahoots with Jessica-Belle Keogh, McKinnon made riveting; and his mainstage debut in Griffin Theatre Company’s complex and delightful staging of Rita Kalnejais’ First Love is the Revolution. Playing a 14-year-old-boy in love with a fox, McKinnon perched himself on the watershed of manhood perfectly. His stage rapport with Sarah Meacham was scintillating.
McKinnon would have gone on to do much more excellent work on our stages, that’s for certain. The theatre community is the poorer for his loss.