Tess graduated from NIDA in 1986 and has worked in theatre, film and opera. She has designed numerous Belvoir productions including Wild Duck,The Diary of a Madman(Belvoir St and BAM productions), Namatjira(with Big hART), Toy Symphony, The Adventures of Snugglepot & Cuddlepie and Little Ragged Blossom, Ray’s Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Waiting for Godot, Cloudstreet, Suddenly Last Summer, As You Like It, The Judas Kiss, The Governor’s Family, The Seagull, Night on Bald Mountain, Hamlet, The Cockroach Opera, Knuckle Dusters, Les Enfants Du Paradis, Gertrude Stein and Companion andA Lie of the Mind.
Other theatre credits include A Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Spring Awakening, Tot Mom, A Streetcar Named Desire, Elling, The Wonderful World of Dissocia, The Convicts Opera, The Serpents Teeth, The Great, Riflemind, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Woman in Mind, Mother Courage and Her Children, Far Away, Victory, Love for Love, The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus and The Government Inspector for the Sydney Theatre Company, where she was Resident Designer from 2006 – 2009.
Tess's opera credits include Peter Grimes (Houston Grand Opera), Sweeney Todd (Lyric Opera of Chicago and The Royal Opera); The Triple Bill – The Prisoner / Berio Folk Songs / La Strada (English National Opera); and Peter Grimes, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Jenufa, Whitsunday (Opera Australia). Musicals include Shane Warne the Musicaland Chess. Her film credits include Dirty Deeds, Bootmen, Spotswood, Unfolding Florence, Radiance, Mr Reliable,Cosi, In Search of Bony andSubterano. Tess has received an Australian Film Institute Awards for the feature films Dirty Deeds, Bootmen and Spotswood and Green Room Awards for her designs for Cloudstreet and Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk.