ADAM DEUSIEN is a director and physical theatre maker with over 10 years’ experience in creating original narrative driven performance, vibrant adaptations of canonical texts and innovative contemporary physical performance, in Bathurst, regional NSW.
Graduating from Theatre/Media, Charles Sturt University, he spent two years with Zen Zen Zo Physical theatre touring and training in Queensland, Hong Kong and Los Angeles. He returned to Bathurst to study a Master of Arts Practice – Directing for the Stage graduating with Distinction in 2011.
Adam is Artistic Director of Lingua Franca Physical Theatre, working extensively with Local Stages, Bathurst’s Performing Arts Development Program, as a director, producer and dramaturge, presenting work thorough out regional Australia, nationally and internationally. He has directed numerous works with the company including Right Behind You, Unsustainable Behaviour and Mighty. As a freelance artist, Adam has adapted and directed Lysistrata, The Bacchae, The Trojan Women and The Fox (CYCLE Productions) as well as working as assistant/rehearsal director for companies Griffin Theatre, Stalker Theatre and Siren Theatre Co.
In recognition of his work in regional Australia, in 2015 Adam was awarded the Arts NSW Regional Arts Fellowship, and in 2017 continues this work as Artistic Associate with the Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre. He is currently part of the inaugural cohort of NIDA’s new innovate MFA – Cultural Leadership, graduating in 2018.
AHMARNYA PRICE is a visual artist and performance maker. She draws, paints, animates, writes, directs and occasionally performs. She is an average cook, enjoys Fleetwood Mac and burns easily in the sun. Despite all of the above she is a pretty decent person.
Driven by key interests in performance theory, neuroscience, history and sociology her work explores the relationship between image and narrative while playfully interpreting the human experience. Through the crafting of small to large scale exhibitions and performances Ahmarnya casts us all as co-conspirators in the telling and re-telling of stories which are capable of challenging and celebrating the complexities of who we are, where we’ve been, what we are becoming and the variety of ways in which we live.
A 2017/18 Culture Lab/ Arts House recipient Ahmarnya is currently developing her next show ‘The Splendid Anomaly’: an interdisciplinary performance investigating the brilliant and innovative ways that humans, animals and plant species adapt to ‘perceived’ limitations. At present she is also collaborating on Rawcus’s ‘Songs For A Weary Throat’ as well as leading CONGRESS: a weekly experimental think tank at St Martins Youth Arts working with young people as cultural delegates to generate political and creative discussions, performances and actions.
ANNETTE LOBER is a screenwriter, actor and director based in Berlin.
After her A-Levels, she received a scholarship for Robert Wilson’ s Watermill Center in New York where she worked alongside La Comédie Francaise and the Netherlands Dance Theater and where she developed her first performance.
After returning to Germany she gained experience in dramaturgy and as assistant director for various productions at the Thalia Theater Hamburg.
Her performance in a Haruki Murakami adaption at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg convinced her to accept an invitation from the Zurich University of Arts, where she completed her BA and Masters of Performing Arts.
Besides her studies she continued to play the Murakami show in Hamburg and played the female lead at the Junges Schauspielhaus Zürich in „Preparadise Sorry Now“ by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. With her experimental short film „Godot/Schmalach“ she was invited to the Berlinale Talent Campus in 2007 which put the film medium in her repertoire for the first time. In 2008 she finished her Bachelor Degree with a semester abroad at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and returned to Switzerland to realize her stage adaptation of „Orlando“ by Virginia Woolf.
The production was followed by a residency program at Ariane Mnouchkines Théâtre du Soleil in Paris.
In 2011 she continued to work in art performance for the Julia Stoschek Collection and the ZERO Foundation in Düsseldorf, which premiered under the title, “The Chymic Wedding- Verheyen meets Jarman“.
It was followed by a second performance for Gallery Interpol in Hamburg in 2013 and a subsequent performance at Theaster Gates Installation for the White Cube Gallery at Art Basel 2013.
Gore Verbinski took her on board for his Mystery-Thriller „A Cure for Wellness“ (New Regency), which was released in March 2017 by 20th Century Fox.
Since 2015 she professionally writes screenplays and consults on scripts thoughout Europe.
Her first screenplay „Homeless Hearts“ was funded by Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg und invited to the Co-Production Market in Toronto.
With her second screenplay she was a selected participant of Drehbuchwerkstatt Munich and is currently in negotiation for realization.
CARISSA LICCIARDELLO graduated from NIDA’s MFA Directing Course in 2017.
Directing credits include: for KXTeethcutting, The Cold Child (reading); for Redline Productions/The Old Fitz, The Telescope; for New Theatre, The Chapel Perilous; for The Old 505, A Period Piece (Glitterbomb), Femme Fatale; for NIDA, All That Glitters (in association with Glitterbomb, Graduate Production), Huis Clos (No Exit) (with Actors Centre Australia), Reflect (with the Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts); for RockSurfers, Reindeer Games (Bondi Feast 24-Hour Party Playwright). Assistant directing credits include: for Belvoir, Ghosts (dir. Eamon Flack) for NIDA, #KillAllMen (dir. Anthea Williams); for Critical Stages, Stones in His Pockets (dir. Chris Bendall, 2016).
Professional development activities she has been selected for include Playwriting Australia’s inaugural Director’s Studio, ATYP’s National Studio, and the PACT Collective.
Carissa is currently a Resident Director at The Old Fitz and Artistic Director of Glitterbomb.
CHARLES SANDERS In 2010 Charles established ‘Early Worx’, where he served as Artistic Director for four years.
During his time there the company created 10 works, 4 return seasons, and toured to the Edinburgh Fringe. Their numerous awards included Charles’ 2011 Adelaide Critics Circle Emerging Artist of the Year.
Charles has worked extensively as a freelance director; for Opera Australia (Cosi Fan Tutte, 2nd AD) STCSA (Maggie Stone, assistant director) ActNow (Zero Feet Away) Paul Lucas Productions (Trans Scripts) and as a teaching director at AC Arts.
In 2014, with dancer/choreographer Eliza Sanders, Charles established a new company: ‘House Of Sand’ creates work through and across art-forms including dance, theatre, cabaret and visual art. The company has created three critically and popularly acclaimed works – Knitting While Sleeping, Pedal and Castles – which have toured extensively throughout Australia and New Zealand, and has received a suite of awards and nominations including Most Promising Emerging Company (Winner) and Best In Fringe (Nominee) at the 2016 NZ Fringe.
in 2018 Charles will direct a new production of Stephen Sewell’s lost classic Welcome The Bright World for House of Sand and STCSA.
Training: NIDA (MFA, Directing) ACArts (Adv. Dip. Arts, Acting) and SITI Company.
DAGMARA GIEYSZTOR I am a Polish born and Melbourne based multidisciplinary artist, practicing for over 25 years . I started with writing but found English as a second language a limitation so I began to teach myself and explore other forms of storytelling, which led me to experiment in visual languages. The projects I developed use film, theatre, puppetry and installations, with photography as a constant companion. This culminated in the pioneering of my practice based theory of visual dramaturgy – becoming the first Australian graduate of a Theatre design Masters under this banner. My recent projects in theatre and contemporary
dance have mostly been design led , site specific or immersive , shown locally and internationally. The themes of my work are often confrontational, questioning not only society but also myself. The current one being; WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE ARTIST IN AUSTRALIAN SOCIETY ?
I have two creative homes – one is in my Polish city of Lodz, where I run an artist residency and the other is The Theatre Research Institute (TRI),our untamed Melbourne warehouse where
together with Tomek Koman we are propagating the ideas and practice sustainable set design and where we invite extreme artists to collaborate.
CHI VU is an award-winning writer and director whose works span genres such as the postcolonial gothic, horror, magic-realism and comedy. Chi’s most recent play ‘Coloured Aliens’ (dir. Beng Oh) premiered at La Mama theatre as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2017. Her other plays include ‘The Dead Twin’, ‘A Story of Soil’, ‘Banh Chung’ and ‘Vietnam: a Psychic Guide’. Chi’s novella ‘Anguli Ma: a Gothic Tale’ was short listed in a NSW Premier’s prize; her short stories are published in ‘Joyful Strains’, ‘Growing up Asian in Australia’ and ‘The Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature’. She is currently based in Geelong. www.chi-vu.com
ELIZABETH MILLINGTON is a Russian born director, writer and designer. Before arriving in Australia, Elizabeth worked at the Moscow National Theatre Institute, The Moscow School of the Modern Play and trained at the Moscow Conservatorium and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
With Le Poulet Terrible, Elizabeth performed and co-produced a revival of Stephen Sewell’s ‘Nil, Cat & Buried’ at The Dog Theatre in 2011 and more recently Bernard-Marie Koltès’ ‘Roberto Zucco’ staged at Alliance Française de Melbourne in 2016.
A particular interest in new Australian narrative works, Elizabeth performed in Tom Davis’ early plays ‘Last Tango in Brunswick’ and ‘After the War’; both directed by long-time collaborator Alice Bishop. In 2014 Elizabeth performed in the second incarnation of Robert Reid’s MTC commissioned ‘The Joy of Text’ and is passionate about seeing new works have a life beyond their initial season.
In 2017 Elizabeth co-produced the 24-hour theatre project ‘One Day’ for Mudlark in association with Ten Days on the Island.
Elizabeth’s association with Gilgamesh Connections enables her to provide support and opportunities for arts practitioners and also saw her facilitate the inaugural Port Phillip Mussel & Jazz Festival with an attendance of 15,000 people as well as two Bastille Day events at the South Melbourne Market.
ELLA CALDWELL is an actor, director and dramaturg based in Melbourne. Ella is a founding Ensemble member of Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre, and Artistic Director of the company since July 2013. During this time Ella has evolved the company’s new writing program, INK, providing significant opportunities for the development and production of new writing, including commissioning new Australian work.
For Red Stitch, Ella has directed Incognito by Nick Payne (co-directed with Brett Cousins) and the world premiere season of The Honey Bees by Caleb Lewis. Recent onstage appearances include The Realistic Joneses by Will Eno, Sunshine by Tom Holloway, The Village Bike by Penelope Skinner, Love Love Love by Mike Bartlett & Midsummer: A Play With Songs by David Greig. Ella is currently in rehearsals for the world premiere season of Morgan Rose’s Desert, 6:29pm. Ella studied Creative Arts at the University of Melbourne.
ERIN TAYLOR is a Dramaturg, Director and Theatremaker and currently a mentee in Melbourne Theatre Company’s Women In Theatre Program. Her recent directing credits include a sell out return season of SLUT by Patricia Cornelius at The Old Fitz (nominated for a Sydney Theatre Award 2016) and BU21 by Stuart Slade at Old 505 Theatre. In 2016 Erin was Assistant Director on Darlinghurst Theatre Company’s production of Patricia Cornelius’ Savages. A Graduate of the University of Wollongong Faculty of Creative Arts, Erin established the arts Collective Rue de Rocket (RDR) with fellow graduates. RDR’s work includes This Is My Box, which toured to New York, Edinburgh Fringe and regional NSW. As a Dramaturg Erin works regularly with Playwriting Australia (PWA) as a Script Assessor and Dramaturg for the National Script Workshops. Erin has just been appointed at the Australian Regional Editor of The Theatre Times (thetheatretimes.com) an online global theatre resource.
GITA BEZARD is a playwright, devisor, director and performer. In 2016 she had her playwriting debut at Black Swan State Theatre Company with GIRL SHUT YOUR MOUTH which was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. She has twice won the Black Swan State Theatre Company’s Emerging Writer Awards. In 2010 she received a DCA Young People and the Arts Fellowship to do professional development in the UK and USA.
Commissions: REMARKABLE, (as part of PETITS FOURS) for WAAPA (2017); IN A BONY EMBRACE for Curtin University (2015); Adaptations of Ionesco’s FRENZY FOR TWO and THE LESSON for Perth Theatre Company.
As a writer/director: THE ADVISORS (State Theatre Centre of WA, 2017), YOSHI’S CASTLE (Writer/Director, Fringeworld 2015), ALL THAT GLITTERS ( Blue Room Theatre, 2015)
As a performer/devisor: PRICE TAG (Fringeworld 2017), MINNIE & MONA PLAY DEAD (Fringe World 2013 Martin Sims Award for Best New WA Work; Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Brisbane International Festival) and ELEPHENTS (The Blue Room Theatre, 2014)
JAMES BEACH has directed several independent productions in his hometown of Sydney since graduating from NIDA in 2007. Some highlights include the Australian premieres of Neil LaBute’s Reasons to Be Pretty (Darlinghurst Theatre Company 2012) and Douglas Carter Beane’s As Bees in Honey Drown (DTC, 2009), a revival of Michael Gow’s Europe (Reginald, 2014) and the world premieres of Van Badham’s Poster Girl (Tamarama Rock Surfers, 2008), Ben Ellis’ Horrific Acts for Charity (New Directions, 2009) and Bradley Vincent’s Memento Mori (Red Rattler, 2010). He directed Marika Aubrey’s debut cabaret Caution: Aggressive Birds (Raval, 2009) and co-directed (with Brendon McDonall) Deborah Thomson’s autobiographical cabaret My Private Parts (Reginald, 2012). A re-staged reading of Erin Thomas’ 5 Ways for Playwriting Australia in 2012 launched the memorial fund for regional playwrights in her name.
Prior to his studies, directorial projects included Planet News Update (a montage of Ginsberg poems and contemporary writing on the Iraq War – Theatre Nepean, 2005) and Body English (Elizabethan and Jacobean scenes with an obsession for flesh – University of Wollongong, 2006).
JAMES PRATT graduated from the John Bolton Theatre School in 1996. He then cofoundered the comedy physical theatre troupe “The 4 Noels”. The company devised and performed narrative musical comedy shows which were performed in festivals around Australia, New Zealand and Edinburgh during which time they were twice nominated for the Melbourne Comedy Festival’s Barry Award. He is a solo theatre maker and has written and performed 5 solo shows gaining a Green Room award nomination In 2007. His most recent so show, ‘The Blueform’ premiered at La Mama theatre in 2015. Co-founding the devised theatre ensemble ‘Company 13’ in 2005, James is the company’s director and producer. The Company premiered their new work Macdeth and adaptation of Macbeth for 8-12 yr olds at the Arts Centre Melbourne in 2017. James has worked with Back to Back Theatre since 2007 as a guest director and workshop facilitator. James teaches performance at Federation University in Ballarat.
JEREMY STANFORD has had long and varied career as a performer, which was kicked off with his portrayal of Buddy in The Buddy Holly Story. He went on to play many lead roles in other plays, TV shows, and musicals most notably recreating Hugo Weaving’s role of Tick in Priscilla Queen of the Desert – the Musical. Jeremy then retrained as a film maker at The VCA School of Film and Television and set up his own media company for which he developed content for TV and Film. In 2013, he directed and co-wrote his first feature film, The Sunset Six. Since then he’s split his time as a writer, actor, and director. Most recently he has directed Into The Woods and Rent for Arts Academy and 2 one act operas, First the Words, Then The Music, and Dr Miracle for Gertrude Opera Company.
JUHA VANHAKARTANO is an Adelaide based director, choreographer and filmmaker. He collaborates across multidisciplinary art forms to create site specific performance installations and stage productions. Juha currently works as a Performing Arts and Film & New Media coordinator at Tutti Arts, a disability arts organisation in Adelaide, and runs a video production and lighting design company under the name Valo Productions. Born in Finland, Juha graduated at the Finnish National Ballet School followed by engagements with prestigious European dance companies including Finnish National Ballet, Deutsche Oper Am Rhein Ballet, Basler Ballet and Reinhild Hoffmann dance theatre. His professional career spans across forty years of performing, directing and choreographing dance, theatre and opera productions throughout Europe and in Australia. He has performed in over 100 professional productions and has choreographed/directed over 40 productions for companies including: Finnish National Ballet and Opera, Mannheim National Theatre Ballet, Stuttgart State Theatre, Hannover World Expo 2000 German Culture Program, State Opera of South Australia for the Adelaide Festival of Arts 2004, IHOS Opera for the Adelaide Festival Centre, OzAsia Festival Adelaide 2015, OzAsia Festival Adelaide & Georgetown Festival Penang 2016, DreamBIG Festival Adelaide 2017.
JUSTIN NOTT is an independent, Melbourne-based director, theatre maker and performance artist. A self-described visual director, Justin explores experientialism, subversion and formal play in his work, creating pieces that are queer, political, and that strive to rattle the status quo. His work is often challenging, occasionally enjoyable, and always pretty.
Through his work and around it, Justin is always on the hunt for knowledge and understanding. He seeks to create work – particularly new work – that leaves the audience questioning the world outside, and somehow changed. Justin is constantly interrogating form, language, style and space in his work, while exploring modes of complicity for the audience as a way to generate empathy in a dark world .
Most recent credits include Human Error (Baker’s Dozen Theatre Co., 2017) Can’t Be Tamed (Adelaide Fringe & Melbourne Fringe Festival, 2017 & 2016), Life On Repeat (Melbourne Fringe Festival, 2016), 4.48 Psychosis, Devoted: A New Musical (Midsumma Festival, 2014) and Blindness(Melbourne Fringe, 2013).
Since 2015, Justin has co-run Engage!, a drama program for new migrants and refugees through La Mama Theatre at AMES Australia. In 2011, Justin was also Festival Director of Mudfest, Australia’s largest student arts and culture festival.
KITAN PETKOVSKI is a director, international producer and co-founder of theatre company Bullet Heart Club (Australia/ New Zealand). Kitan and his company’s work are best known for integrating storytelling with indie and electronic art-pop music. Kitan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Auckland (film, TV, media and management) and trained as an assistant director with Massive Company (NZ). Since 2015, he has been the creative director for the Scotsman Fringe First Award winning gig-theatre work Daffodils, which is currently being adapted into a feature film. In 2017, Kitan assisted on a new multilingual opera (English, Chinese and Te Reo Maori) The Bone Feeder (dir. Sara Brodie), which premiered as part of Auckland Arts Festival. Most recently, Kitan directed Elizabeth, a new gig-theatre work by singer/songwriter Lisa Crawley and Rochelle Bright for the Melbourne Fringe. He is currently developing new projects with international collaborators in New Zealand, Scotland and Sweden.
LAURA HARTNELL is a writer, director and academic with an interest in feminist theatre and performance practice. Originally from Gippsland, Laura’s practice has its foundations in community arts engagement and development. She has created, directed and written projects for and with community artists, and has directed multiple Australian plays, as well as a production of Waiting for Godot that toured regionally. She was the Artistic Director of The Ribcage Collective, which presented a three-part promenade performance at La Mama Theatre in 2016. Laura’s plays have been developed by Australian Theatre for Young People and Arena Theatre, and produced at La Mama Theatre. She has completed internships with Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne Theatre Company, and Bell Shakespeare Company. Laura reviews theatre for Theatrepeople, writes for ABC News Online, and is currently pursuing a practice-based research project at Monash University exploring feminist theatre and performance.
MARCUS MCKENZIE Marcus is a multidisciplinary artist based in Melbourne, working across theatre, live art, and contemporary performance. His practice moves between solitary experimentation and collaboration combining theatrical, choreographic and aural forms.
His recent work HYPERSPIRIT was nominated for Best Performance in the 2016 Melbourne Fringe and Best Sound Design in the Melbourne Greenroom Awards. In 2017 he undertook a Mike Walsh Fellowship to assist Tim Crouch on a new project in London; performed in Hermann Nitsch’s 150.Action for Dark Mofo; and collaborated on two new works with Malthouse Theatre.
Recent work as performer includes The Great Fire (Belvoir St Theatre); Anti-Hamlet (New Working Group / Theatreworks); and Temporary Title 2015 (Xavier Le Roy / Kaldor Public Art Projects / Carriageworks). Marcus has performed with an array of independent companies and artists across Australia including: Red Stitch; Stuck Pigs Squealing; MKA; One Step at a Time Like This; Arthur; GRIT Theatre; Elbow Room; Artisan Collective; Shian Law; Geoffry Watson and MTC NEON. Marcus graduated from VCA IN 2010.
MATTHEW SLEETH is a visual artist and filmmaker living in Melbourne. He maintains a conceptually driven practice across a range of media including photography, video, sculpture and performance. Matthew’s work often focuses on the aesthetic and conceptual concerns of new media, and more recently on modes of performance within a visual art context.
Recent projects include: A Drone Opera, a live multimedia performance commissioned by Experimenta Media Arts and presented in September 2015 at the Meat Market in Melbourne; Rules To Live By in October 2016 at Claire Oliver Gallery (New York); in 2008 Pattern Recognition was installed across 32 billboards, screens, public spaces and galleries as part of the Melbourne International Arts Festival. He has participated in a number of exhibitions at the National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne) including Melbourne Now (2013), Negotiating This World (2012), Contemporary Encounters (2010), Long Distance Vision (2009), Light Sensitive (2006) and the Felix H. Mann Memorial Prize (1993).
Matthew’s feature film ‘Guilty’ will premiere at the Adelaide Film Festival in October 2017. The film is set in the last days of artist and convicted drug smuggler Myuran Sukumaran before his execution by firing squad in Indonesia in April 2015.
MEGAN JOLLY Megan chairs the Theatre Committee of Mudlark Theatre, a professional company based in Launceston, Tasmania. The company produces one funded show per year and stages one or two One Day Projects per year. The One Day Project, which Megan produces, provides an opportunity for local playwrights, directors, actors, producers and technicians to write, rehearse, produce and perform somewhere between four and ten one act plays in a 24 hour period. Megan has been actively involved in community theatre as an actor, director and producer since 2009. Recent projects include: Some Girl(s) (CentrStage), An Act of Twisting (UTAS Student Directed Festival), The Skriker (2009 graduation show), 27 Wagons Full of Cotton (UTAS Student Directed Festival and CentrStage), Terminus(CentrStage), God of Carnage (Three River Theatre), Sovereign (Launceston Players), One Day Redux: Australian Moments (Mudlark), One Day Project 2010-2017 (Mudlark), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Launceston Players) and ULG (Mudlark Theatre). She has a Master of Contemporary Arts in theatre from the University of Tasmania.
OGEMDI UDE is a Nigerian-American choreographer, director, and performer. Her work is interdisciplinary, intertwining movement, text, visual art, and music to investigate themes of race, culture, and memory. Her practice is grounded in her academic work in Afrofuturism and black performance theory. This extends to exploring performance as a liberatory and healing practice for marginalized communities. Her current work, SOMA, is a collaboration with musician Jack Palmer and will premiere during La Mama Explorations followed by Off the Grid Festival in November and December 2017. She has worked and trained in New York, Oxford, Vienna, and Berlin with choreographers including Raja Kelly, Rebecca Lazier, Susan Marshall, Melanie Lane, and Prue Lang and directors Lear deBessonet, Laurie Woolery, and Phylicia Rashad. She is currently based in Melbourne on a Sachs Global Fellowship for which she is developing a movement based practice investigating means of processing intergenerational and personal trauma. She graduated with a BA in English, Theater, and Dance from Princeton University in 2016.
NIKKI KENNEDY is a director, performer and interdisciplinary theatre maker with an interest in resilient systems, psychology, communication and collaborative creative process. She is a co-founder of Sydney based performance collective Applespiel and with them has presented Applespiel Make a Band (Malthouse, Performance Space), At the Request of Carl Sagan (Next Wave), Sexy New Urban Design Team (Sydney Festival, You Are Here). Nikki is an Associate Artist with science-in-theatre company Boho Interactive (ACT) and with them has developed and performed Best Festival Ever: How to Manage a Disaster (Battersea Arts Centre, London Science Museum) and Democratic Nature (Milijoverkstan, Stockholm). Nikki frequently collaborates with Sipat Lawin Ensemble (Manila) and Coney (UK) and a development showing of her work, Not in the History Books in collaboration with Filipino dancer Ea Torrado, was performed as part of Karnabal Festival 2016. Nikki’s own independent works – Writing in White Ink, Beaches Love Power and Tragics have been performed at Crack Theatre Festival. Her latest work, Apocalypse Fatigue, was performed as part of Bondi Feast in July 2017. Nikki is a current Co-Artistic Director of Crack Theatre Festival with Kate McDowell.
PENNY BARON has been working passionately and extensively for the past 25 years as a performer, director, devisor and teacher, winning a total of ten awards for her productions.
Penny is Co-Artistic Director of Born in a Taxi, one of Melbourne’s most highly regarded physical theatre ensembles, producing numerous unique, successful works in theatres, streets, arts festivals, galleries, stadiums, and all manner of public events nationally and internationally.
The main pulse behind her work is a physically driven inquiry into the body’s intelligence in performance making, both in process and performance. With Born A Taxi she has developed a comprehensive methodology in ensemble movement improvisation over the past 2 decades. As result she is particularly draw to the alchemic relationship between performer and audience unique to real time co-creation and improvisation.
Penny is also a founding member of award winning The Business theatre company and has worked independently with Bell Shakespeare, Polyglot, Rawcus, Weave, Dislocate, The Four Noels, The Dream Masons, Shaken and Suspicious, CreatAbilty and Company 13 as director, dramaturge, performer.
ROMANIE HARPER is a Melbourne based theatre maker and Designer. Design credits include Little Emperors (Malthouse, 2017) Anti-Hamlet (MarkWilson/Theatreworks, 2016), Resident Alien (Fortyfive Downstairs, 2016), Conviction (ZLMD Shakespeare, Greenroom Award winner for Best Design, 2016), Triumph (Fortyfivedownstairs, 2016), Bright World (Arthur Productions, 2016), Jurassica (Red Stitch, 2015), META (Malthouse Helium 2014), Madonna Arms (Next Wave 2014), M+M (Daniel Schlusser Ensemble 2013, Greenroom Nomination Design) and The Sovereign Wife (Sisters Grimm, NEON 2013, Greenroom nomination design). She has also co-directed and designed The Collected Works of Victor Bergman (The Family, 2014) and Calamity (NEON/ZLMD Shakespeare2015).
STEPHANIE GHAJAR Melbourne-based theatre and filmmaker, mainly as a dramaturge, who delves into the human condition to explore the individual in deeply personal situations where the familiar motions of the everyday darken and veer towards the tragic, whilst maintaining a ritualistic performance in space and time.
Her undergraduate studies in media and communications have helped her form structure around her work, moving away from the rhetoric and investigating how experiences can be created around an audience. While completing her studies, she became a theatremaker and performer in Beirut, Lebanon, undergoing Grotowski’s method of training.
While working as a dramaturge, Stephanie also directed plays by Melbourne-based playwright Kat Moritz, (in)tent (2016) and Disgust (2017). In major theatre companies, she has completed a Visual Dramaturgy training with Paul Jackson on Malthouse’s Edward II (2016) and assisted directed Anne-Louise Sarks on MTC’s Minnie and Liraz (2017). Her work has recently diverged more into film with JP O’Brien’s Incubator (2017) where she had the chance to work with a young talent; Darcy Tuppen’s The Land Will Eat You (2017) working with a Ni-Vanuatan community in Paunangisu, Vanuatu; and Robert Frantzeskos’ Whitesands (2017) dealing with voyeurism, fetishism, and loneliness, set in Victorian suburbia.
Ghajar’s focus for future projects revolves around and emerges from sociopolitical issues and are influenced by religious feminism.
TANYA GERSTLE is a theatre director, performance maker and teaching artist. She has worked in many performance, training and research contexts in Australia, USA and Europe over the past 35 years. Tanya is the founding Artistic Director of OpticNerve Performance Group, nominated for six Green Room Awards, a performance and training company focusing on the reinvigoration of performance text through a physical rehearsal process. Her body of work includes directing texts for the stage by Barker, Barton, Churchill, Kushner, Wertenbaker, Brecht, Chekhov, Lorca, Shakespeare and adaptations from contemporary and classic writings for radio, film and literature. Tanya was a Senior Lecturer in Theatre, Head of Acting (2007-2012) and Head of Theatre (2010-2012) at the VCA, University of Melbourne and is currently an Honorary Senior Fellow. She received an award for Teaching Excellence in 2002, has a Masters Degree in Directing (Research) and is co-authoring a book about her process called “Physical Acting” to be published by Bloomsbury. Tanya has been a Visiting Teaching Artist at Penn State University, USA, the University of York, UK, the University of Caen, France as well as the international consultant on a Knowledge Exchange Project (UK) 2011-13, investigating global teaching processes in both Conservatoire and University actor trainings.
VIDYA RAJAN is a writer, performer, director and maker. She works across a number of forms including playwriting, participatory art, comedy, devised performance, and writing for the screen. Recent works include: Aunty (ASIATOPA 2017 commission), Solidity (VCA play readings 2016), Asian Ghost-ery Store (Melbourne Fringe Award winner 2015) and Friendquest (Fringe World Best theatre nominee 2015). She has trained extensively in comedic and improvisational performance, clowning, and sensory and visual performance- making with companies and artists like iO Chicago (USA), Teatro De Los Sentidos (Barcelona) and Deanne Fleysher (USA). She was recently awarded a 2016 Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowship, and has a Masters in Writing for Performance from the VCA. She loves work that approaches ethical questions with playfulness, working with artists from diverse artistic and cultural backgrounds, and utilises improvisation in much of her practice.