Originally from Adelaide, Philippa began her performing in both theatre and television at an early age. In 1984, Philppa took up a position at the Victorian College of the arts studying voice with Dame Joan Hammond and graduating with distinction in 1986. In 1988 Philippa joined the Victoria state Opera performing for the next five years in the chorus, as well as minor principal roles and covers. Throughout these years, Philippa also performed as a soloist with companies in Melbourne, Adelaide, Camberra and most notably in Florence, Italy where she studied with Antonio Moretti-Pananti for a period of eight months. On returning to Australia, Philippa moved to Brisbane to continue her studies with Margaret Nickson and in 1994 was a member of the Lyric Opera Queensland's Touring School's Company and a featured artist in the 4MBS Festival of Fine Music. Philippa was a finalist in the Royal Opera House Covent Garden Scholarship. In 1995 Philippa appeared as a guestartist for the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and as Paquette in the Biennal's production of Candide. She also worked with the Lyric Opera of queensland and the State Opera of South Australia, received scholarships from the Internationale Sommerakademie Mozarteum, Salzburg and Arts Queensland, and was named as a 1995-1996 recipient of the Marten Bequest Traveling Scholarship.