Circus Futures Forum: Presenters & Facilitators Biogs


Ivan Kralj 200x300Ivan Kralj, Director, Festival novog cirkusa (Croatia)

Ivan Kralj is a president of Mala performerska scena association, director of Croatian Festival novog cirkusa, manager of Circus Information Centre in Zagreb and organiser of various multidisciplinary projects that mix circus, body art, music, literature, movies and visual arts. Mala performerska scena is the leading organisation in South Eastern Europe focused on production, education and development in the artistic fields of circus, sideshow, burlesque and cabaret. Besides programming artists for Festival novog cirkusa, Freaky Friday and Bestiarum, Ivan is also a programming consultant for other festivals in the region. He manages the program of creative and experimental residencies for the artists, masterclasses, seminars, circus movies season etc. Ivan Kralj is an awarded journalist, writer and publisher, presenting his writings in independent media and own books (editor of “Women & Circus”, and currently working on the new title “Circus, Memories”). He also works as a representative in various international networks, as a jury member at festivals and lecturer. For more information, please head to




Subcase 2014 Foto: Petter HellmanKiki Muukkonen, Artistic Programming Director, Subtopia (Sweden)

Kiki is the artistic director of circus at the cultural centre Subtopia in Botkyrka, Sweden.
There she manages artistic development projects, national and international programming, residencies, seminars, international relations and offers advice to artist on their projects. Since 2009 she has produced Subcase, an annual showcase of Nordic contemporary circus, which gathers hundreds of Nordic and international performing arts professionals in February each year. Kiki is a Swedish representative in several European networks and collaborations projects, like FACE, Autopistes, Circus Next, Circostrada and Nordic Baltic Circus Network. Coming from an artistic background within theatre and music, the last 8 years Kiki has been committed to the development of contemporary circus arts at different levels, nationally and internationally.

For more information, please head to and




Yohann Floch - HShot 200x300Yohann Floch, Fresh Arts Coalition Europe (France)

Yohann is the Coordinator of FACE, Fresh Arts Coalition Europe, an international network of arts organisations that supports, promotes and informs on emerging, socially engaged, contemporary cross-disciplinary art forms. It covers fresh and ground-breaking practices such as creation in public space, site-specific arts, community and participatory projects, live art, physical and visual theatre, contemporary circus and puppetry.

Yohann Floch is Adviser for Unpack the Arts, European residency program for cultural journalists, aiming to make the (new) media in contemporary circus. This collaborative project brings together many festivals on the European continent , each host ten critical , international chief editors and journalists. Yohann is involved in the activities of several projects such as Autopistes – Circus Dissemination, a collaboration between Europe and Canada that aims to strengthen the distribution channels of circus works.

Yohann is also an Expert at the Fondation de France for the programme Déclics Jeunes providing individual grants to support young entrepreneurs realise a personal project, as a first step to enter a professional career. Finally, he regularly leads workshops and seminars, delivers lectures in universities or talks in professional meetings, and he writes articles for European magazines: he recently published a book titled Postcards from the Street Arts and Circus.

Yohann coordinated for nearly eight years the Circostrada Network. He led several European studies, including Street Artists in Europe for the European Parliament, and has coordinated numerous publications related to cultural policy or to the vitality of outdoor creation and contemporary circus. He was the founding President of TEAM Network, European network of cultural magazines aiming at the exchange of editorial content and good practices. In the past, he worked for the Union of the Theatres of Europe, coordinated the theatre festival La Luzège, lived in Madrid (Spain) and Montreal (Quebec, Canada)…



Andrew Bleby HeadshotAndrew Bleby, Curator of the Melbourne Festival Circus Program
Andrew Bleby is Creative Producer of the 2014 Melbourne Festival Circus program and Producer of the festival’s Nanjing Project. After 35 years in the performing arts, he now focuses on programming and producing festivals and significant arts events and consulting to governments, arts organisations, festivals, venues and others on arts management and project development. He has produced a feasibility study for ACAPTA and Arts Victoria on an international circus festival for Melbourne and produced several shows for NICA in its early days. He has produced or directed  ten different international arts festivals including the acclaimed Cultural Festival for the 2006 Commonwealth Games, Opera Australia’s Ring Festival, and was the founding Director of Melbourne’s Next Wave Festival and the founding Producer of Hobart’s now-famous MONA FOMA.

Anni HeadshotAnni Davey, Independent Circus Director
Anni’s directing practice, in development since 2006, includes a fruitful collaboration with Sarah Ward as Yana Alana. Their first two shows together won nine Green Room awards for Cabaret including Best Director (twice), and Best Diva. Yana Alana’s latest show BETWEEN THE CRACKS premiered in January 2013, enjoyed a sell out seasons at 45 Downstairs in July and has earned a Helpmann award.

Anni directed her sister Maude Davey’s retrospective MY LIFE IN THE NUDE, which enjoyed sell out seasons in 2013 at La Mama and in 2014 at 45 Downstairs. In 2012 she directed THE RAT TRAP by Polytoxic, co-produced by the Queensland Theatre Company. She has also directed THE BLUE SHOW for Circus Oz in 2010, PEEP and CAROUSEL for One Trick Pony (winner Green Room award for Innovation and Excellence in Circus, 2012), DOWN POUR for A4 Circus Ensemble, SHORT BLACK for Sosina Wogayehu, I HEART JACK for Anna Lumb, DOMESTIC BLISS for Quiche Lorraine, A PLANE WITHOUT WINGS IS A ROCKET (2006) and THE ANTECHAMBER (2007) for The Women’s Circus. In 2010 Anni was awarded one of three fellowships by the Australia Council as an Emerging Circus and Physical Theatre Director. She is Chair of the Board Of the Australian Circus and Physical Theatre Association (ACAPTA).

Alex Talamo Headshot

Alex Talamo, Independent Artist
Alex Talamo is a director and devisor who works across several performance mediums, with a particular interest in non-linear narratives and physical languages.

Alex is a founding member of physical theatre collective, The DIG Collective, genre exploitation theatre company, Heist Productions, and contemporary circus company, Trick Circus. She was a recipient of the Australia Council for the Arts ‘Cultural Leaders of the Future’ program 2011 through the Australian Circus and Physical Theatre Association (ACAPTA), a mentoree in the KAGE Coach programme 2012, and a graduate of the VCA postgraduate diploma in performance creation (Animateuring) 2012. In 2013 she was the recipient of both Ian Potter Foundation and Art Start grant programmes and was the curator for two seasons of the experimental theatre festival called ‘Unprovoked’. Recently she was artist in residence at Union House Theatre with The DIG Collective and survived performing for twelve hours during White Night Festival 2014.

David Joseph HeadshotDavid Joseph, Independent Artist
David is a professional physical performer with over 25 years’ experience. He has worked as an actor, dancer, musician, circus performer and teacher for some of this country’s most prestigious performing arts companies including West Theatre; Chamber Made – The Cars That Ate Paris; The Two Executioners and Phobia; Circus Oz – performer/trainer; Institute Of Complex Entertainment –Tower of Light, The Teratology Project, and Taxi. He is currently playing drum kit for the Melbourne Ska Orchestra, Skazz, Clari & Bari and The Streetsweepers. He is also a member of 

ThisSideUp acrobatics and has been touring the world for the last 5 years with their show Controlled Falling Project. He is also a qualified Asian cook.

Dr Fiona McKenzie Headshot

Dr Fiona McKenzie, Policy Director, Australian Futures Project
Dr Fiona McKenzie is the Policy Director for the Australian Futures Project, the objective of which is to build Australia’s capacity to make decisions for a flourishing shared future in the 2020s and 2030s. This Project is hosted by La Trobe University, where Fiona is an Honorary Associate in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Fiona’s academic background is in human geography. She is a Council member of The Geographical Society of New South Wales. In 2011, she completed a PhD on farmer-driven innovation in Australian agriculture. From 2012-2013, as a Research Associate at the University of Sydney, Fiona helped to establish and pilot a participatory model of farmer engagement – designed to encourage on-farm innovation and stronger knowledge networks – in a cocoa growing community in West Sulawesi, Indonesia. Fiona also works as an independent advisor on agricultural and environmental policy. In 2013 she led a project with EcoAgriculture Partners and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on enabling cross-sectoral collaboration in the global food system. Previously, Fiona was part of the team that established the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists (in Australia) and the Terrestrial Carbon Group (internationally). She has also worked for the New South Wales Government and as a lecturer at the University of Sydney.

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Frances Kelliher, Circability Trust
Circability Trust was set up in Auckland in 2012 following Auckland Community Circus’ show ‘Circolina’s Leap’. The show won Circability the 2013 Arts Access Aotearoa Community Partnership Award. Directors Thomas Hinz and Frances Kelliher have 30 years experience in inclusive circus programmes between them. Thomas founded Circus Fantasia in 1995 and returned to Rostock Germany to manage it in 2013. In 2003 they founded Circus Kumarani in Dargaville New Zealand and in 2009 Auckland Community Circus. They set up the research ‘Developing Community Circus in Aotearoa New Zealand’ which published eight documents available on their website .

Together with the Blingling Bro’s they are hosting the 3rd Auckland Circus Convention in October this year including a NZ Circus Futures Forum.

Circability has been given a community space in central Auckland which opened this July. Circability’s new show Tubabo premiered on Cirque du Soleil’s stage this September.

Geoff Brown HeadshotGeoff Brown
Geoff has worked as a designer and facilitator of group processes with a diverse range of clients within Australia and internationally. He has worked within and across sectors including sustainability, indigenous housing, natural resource management, public health, physical theatre and education. Geoff works collaboratively with colleagues from across the globe and has contributed to work in the USA, Canada, the UK, Netherlands and New Zealand.

Geoff is a contributor to the Art of Hosting community, the Australian Facilitator’s Network and the Applied Improvisation Network. Beyond his professional counselling and group work training, Geoff is an experienced Solutions Focus practitioner. He applies his working knowledge of complexity theory and regularly uses the Cynefin Framework to assist group decision making in times of high uncertainty. Geoff is a keen student of the connections that exist between separate fields of practice including: Living Systems Theory and Organisational Leadership; Improvisational Theatre and Teamwork; Neuroscience and Group Creativity and Innovation. Geoff brings this practical wisdom to all of his work.

By facilitating dialogue, Geoff helps groups to work together creatively to discover shared meaning and make wise decisions. He believes that good process creates the conditions for sustained collaboration, well beyond facilitated events.

Gillian Arrighi HeadshotDr Gillian Arrighi, Newcastle University.
Dr Gillian Arrighi is Senior Lecturer in Creative and Performing Arts at the University of Newcastle, Australia, where she teaches contemporary performance making and performance pedagogies. Her research into circus includes academic publications on the circus and modernity, performing animals, aspects of the historic circus in Australasia, and her latest book Shaping Nationhood (forthcoming) concerning the largest Australasian circus of the nineteenth century, the FitzGerald Brothers’ Circus. Her current research concerns Australian community circus and parallel international trends.


Hamish McCormick HeadshotHamish McCormick, Carnival Cinema
Hamish grew up in the sleepy ex-hippy town of Mullumbimby on the North Coast of NSW where he discovered circus and performing in his early teens and was actively encouraged to pursue it by his artist mother and photographer father. After spending many years as a free-lance circus/sideshow performer he picked up a video camera and started documenting the world he was in. Based in Melbourne, he has been running his independent video production house Carnival Cinema for the last ten years – shooting, editing, directing and producing. The company is centred on documenting creative people and their work, in particular the performing arts community with a focus on the circus, sideshow and new vaudeville. He has also started an online magazine/video series, ‘The Carnival Chronicles’ available at: |

James Henry HeadshotJames Henry
The multi-talented James Henry can be found involved in many fields of the music industry. From singer/songwriter to engineer to musical director. His diverse skill set has seen him perform as a guitarist on the recent Black Arm Band tour of the UK, choir member and guitarist as part of the Archie Roach Into the Bloodstream tour and as founding member of the rapidly emerging Skin Choir.

His composition skills has attracted commissions from the City of Melbourne to compose for experimental medias and as musical director of the Dreamtime at the G performances. As the Songlines Aboriginal Music resident engineer, James has recorded for the community across various genres from traditional to hip hop to rock. With a musical understanding and appreciation spanning many disciplines it is hard to categorise James into one genre. He is currently working as music director on the 2nd Tanderrum Opening Ceremony of the Melbourne Festival.

As a singer/songwriter he gets his strongest influences from 60′s pop/rock/folk melodists such as the Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel. His range of style with guitar in hand would receive his closest parallels to Paul McCartney in the way he stretches himself from big powerful ballads through quirky light hearted comical stories to high energy rock. For the most part but not solely, James is a solo acoustic performer and realising the importance of lyrics in a stripped back format, his carefully crafted songs are designed to educate, inspire and humour. With a laid back but engaging stage manner he breaks down the barrier between stage and crowd to create a personal experience with his listeners.

Simon and Jo HeadshotJo Lancaster and Simon Yates, Acrobat
Jo Lancaster and Simon Yates founded acrobat 20 years ago. Resolutely idiosyncratic, they have always stepped into unexpected territory with a steadfast refusal to comply with current trends. Early acrobat performances were intense and raw with densely packed physicality and an outright rejection of conventional theatrical protocols. Throughout it’s history the company has evolved, weathered and shrunk, but the spiritual identity is still clearly distinctive. A dry, self-derisive and irreverent take on an art-form that is now so often striving to be elevated to lofty class respectability.  At 48 and 42 respectively, Jo and Simon have maintained remarkable physical capacity, a testimony to the Spartan lifestyle they have maintained and endorse. They continue to be inspired by one another’s kooks and peculiarities, agreeing on everything and remaining distinctly out-of-step with their contemporaries. At once awesome and hopeless, evolved and archaic, forthright and confused, acrobat is full of contrast and contradiction.

Kate Fryer HeadshotKate Fryer, Artistic Director, Dislocate
Kate Fryer studied theatre at the University of South Australia and continued honing her skills at the Actors Centre, Sydney. Her circus training began at Circus Oz followed by time at the Circus Space in London and the Barcelona Circus School. In 1997 Kate formed Dislocate with Geoffrey Dunstan, creating physical theatre works that have toured worldwide.

As a performer Kate has worked with many of Australia’s renowned theatre, physical theatre and circus companies. These companies include Dislocate, Circus Oz, Rock N Roll Circus (Now Circa), Circus Entrope, The Queensland Theatre Company, The Australian Shakespeare Company, Showtech, Strut n Fret, Kite Theatre Company, Ricochet, Horned Moon and Vulcana Women’s Circus.

As a director Kate began creating and directing works for Ricochet in 1994 and Dislocate in 2002. She has directed large-scale outdoor spectaculars for The Melbourne Commonwealth Games and The Moonee Valley Festival. In 2010 Kate received a grant to further her skills in directing circus and physical theatre leading to work with Legs on the Wall, Escalata Circus (Spain) and as Sue Broadway’s assistant on The Exhibitionists, London 2012 Cultural Program. Kate has also directed works for A4 Circus Ensemble, Bambuko, This Side Up, Throw Down, Team Loco and numerous circus performers both in Australia and Spain. She was the assistant director of the Melbourne Moomba parade in 2013 and the Dance Leader in 2014. For the National Institute of Circus Arts Kate has directed two full-length works for the international student program and many individual graduation pieces.

Kim Kaos headshotKim Kaos, School of Culture & Communication, University of Melbourne
Kim Kaos (aka Kymberlyn Olsen) has had the privilege of being a part of contemporary circus since the early 1980s. After training with Lindsay Kemp and Desmond Jones she performed on the streets of Covent Garden before joining Circus Burlesque. For over 30 years Kim worked as a performer, director, teacher, and advocate for circus arts while touring the world with her two children. In 1989 she founded Ozjuggle Magazine – the sole Australian publication dedicated to contemporary circus and street performance. For ten years, before mobile phones and the Internet transformed the world, Ozjuggle was a vital networking tool for the emerging circus scene. A founding member of ACAPTA, during her decade with the organisation, Kim served as Secretary, Chairperson, and Communications Officer and established; ACAPTA’s first headquarters at the Meat Market, first web site, and implemented online newsletters. When injury cut short her performing and teaching career, Kim belatedly got her BA in Media & Communications (& History) during which she extended her writing on circus, audiences & spectatorship, and the representation of women and indigenous peoples. In early 2014 Kim joined other cultural journalists in Stockholm as part of Unpack the Arts at Subtopia. She is currently teaching in the School of Culture & Communication at the University of Melbourne, where she is known as Kymberlyn, and working as a freelance journalist and dramaturge. Her daughter Lilikoi is currently a member of Circus Oz and her son’s second album, Sawdust, has been used in over twenty circus acts.

Kirk Page headshot

Kirk Page, Independent Artist
Widely acclaimed for his physical theatre, aerial and dance work, Kirk Page trained at the National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association and began dancing for Bangarra Dance Theatre in 1995. As a dancer Kirk has performed and toured with a number of acclaimed companies including Opera Australia, Legs on the Wall, and for Martin Delamo. He was recently invited to perform at the Melbourne International Arts Festival in My Lovers Bones. In musical theatre, Kirk has appeared in Priscilla (Back Row Productions); The Sunshine Club (STC); Corrugation Road (Black Swan Theatre Company) and One Night the Moon (Malthouse Theatre).

His theatre credits include Silent Disco (Griffin Theatre Company); The Dreamers and Conversations with the Dead (Belvoir); My Girragundji (Bell Shakespeare); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (STC); and Stolen (STC and Parramatta Riverside). Screen credits include Shit Skin (Australian Finance Commission), Bloodlines (SBS Films and the Australian Film Commission), Shadow Play (Porchlight Films) and Sand, part of Tim Winton’s The Turning. He made his TV debut in ABC’s award winning drama series Redfern Now, receiving a nomination for a Silver Logie for ‘Most Outstanding Actor’.

Kirk also works as a movement director and choreographed Krush (Legs on the Wall) and My Skin, My Life as part of the Melbourne Commonwealth Games. Currently, Kirk is working with Bangarra Dance Theatre on the Rekindling Youth Dance Programme. Kirk was assistant director for Bloodland (STC) and worked as an outside eye for ‘Posts in the Paddock’s (My Darling Patricia). Most recently he was invited to be a part of Culminate (Force Majuere) as one of the emerging choreographers in 2013. Kirk has also been a director for the Bathurst Circus & Physical Theatre Festival Catapult 2012, working with emerging circus artists and directed To Whom It May Concern at the Australian Centre for Theatre &Television, 2nd year showcase 2012.

Kon HeadshotKon Karapanagiotidis OAM, ASRC CEO
Kon Karapanagiotidis OAM is the CEO and founder of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC). Kon is proudly Greek, and grew up in a working class family in a small country town in Victoria. Kon’s personal experience of racism and witnessing the exploitation of his parents in factories planted the seeds for his passion for human rights. Kon went on to become a lawyer, social worker and teacher. His work as CEO has been recognized with being a Finalist for Australian of the Year (Victoria) in 2007, invited to participate in the 2020 Summit in 2008, voted one of Australia’s 20 Unsung Heroes as part of the launch in 2008 of the new Portrait Gallery in Canberra and voted as one of Melbourne 100 most influential people in The Age Melbourne Magazine. Most recently, Kon was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2010 and an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 2011.

Linda Catalano headshotLinda Catalano, Independent Producer of The Briefs Factory
Linda Catalano is a dynamic and strategic independent Producer with Australian and international experience as a programmer, manager and performer. Most recently, Linda was employed at Arts Centre Melbourne as both Spiegeltent Manager/Programmer and a general Producer across the areas of Music, Cultural Diversity and Creative Development. She has worked on a number of high profile projects including the Sidney Myer Music Bowl 50th Anniversary celebrations, consecutive Australia Day celebrations and the reopening of Hamer Hall. Since 2011, Linda has been working with Briefs, where she has Produced and Co-Produced local and international tours for the company throughout the UK, Europe and Australia. In addition to working on Briefs, Linda is currently co-director of the Melbourne Salami Festa, an Arts Ambassador for the City of Darebin and a member of the Green Room Awards panel for Cabaret. She is also a freelance performer, director, writer, MC, facilitator and guest speaker. Prior to joining Briefs, Linda worked programming late night cabaret for The Gilded Balloon (Edinburgh Fringe) and Tony Starr’s Kitten Club (Melbourne). She was also General Manager at The Store Room Theatre (Melbourne), co-founder and director of the Jaffas down the Aisle Film Festival (Melbourne) and Director of the Westgarth Film Festival (Melbourne).

Lorna Munro HeadshotLorna Munro, Independent Artist
Lorna Munro is a multi- disciplinary artist, working with visual arts, poetry, performance, language and writing. She is also an educator and broadcaster with Koori Radio 93.7FM and an emerging playwright, and set designer. She has been an active member of her community since the age of 13. This dynamic 26 year old proud Wiradjuri/ Gamilaroi woman calls the Redfern / Waterloo area of the inner city, Sydney home, she honours her teachers and elders by passing on what she was taught and she is now currently undergoing her own decolonising process Lorna also performs as and embodies Yilinhi (War). As a descendant of warrior nations living under the illegal invasion and occupation of her homelands Yilinhi can be described as a state of mind as well as being and she uses her words as her spear to penetrate the minds of the masses.

Ludo Dumas Headshot

Ludo Dumas, Youth Development Officer & Ringmaster of Ninja Circus, Uluru
Ludovic Dumas is the creator and director of the Ninja Circus. A Youth Indigenous Circus troupe from Uluru (Ayers Rock), this project has been running since 2008, in central Australia. Ludo is developing the creation of an Indigenous Circus School at the heart of Australia. The Ninja Circus amazed crowd all over the northern territory (and interstate) they displayed their mind blowing performance in Melbourne in 2013, in front of 85000 people for the opening ceremony of “Dreamtime at the G”.



Dr Michelle Evens HeadshotDr Michelle Evans 
Dr Michelle Evans is originally from the Hunter Valley NSW and an alum of Charles Sturt University. Now based in Bathurst, she works as an academic, writer, facilitator and cultural producer. Michelle holds a Senior Lectureship in Leadership at Charles Sturt University and is a Fellow at Melbourne Business School. Michelle is Trustee of the Yvonne Cohen Award for Indigenous Creative Young People. Michelle is the Program Director for MURRA Indigenous Business Master Class program – established to skill up Indigenous entrepreneurs, and the NATIVE TITLE BUSINESS LEADERSHIP MASTER CLASSES – established to support the business acumen development of Native Title Representative bodies and Traditional Owner groups as they work to maximise value from Native Title agreements and create financially sustainable futures.

Mike Finch HeadshotMike Finch, Artistic Director of Circus Oz
Mike has worked as a shearing roustabout, pastry cook, parade designer, film-maker, street performer, associate lecturer and half-wit. He graduated from (and did some teaching at) the innovative Theatre/Media course at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst. He was one-third of the Banana Brothers busking trio, started his relationship with Circus Oz as an intern in 1992 and, as part of a company called Precarious, started Circus Monoxide in 1995. He’s been Artistic Director of Circus Oz since 1997.



Natano HeadshotNatano Fa’anana, Independent Artist
Having grown up in a Samoan family immersed in traditional song and dance, it wasn’t until the age of thirty that Natano decided to pursue a career as a performer. He is the sixth member of Polytoxic Theatre Company and a co-founder of Briefs: All Male Review and contemporary circus company, Casus.

Natanos unconventional method of learning circus from individuals rather than schools or institutions has allowed him to create a unique and stylized way of performing. Natanos fresh approach to circus draws heavily from his Samoan routes as well as the many cultures of the Pacific.

With a broad experience in circus skills, specializing mainly in aerials, he is also a trainer for Brisbane-based companies Flipside Youth Circus, Circa and numerous community outreach arts organisations. Natano has been engaged as an arts worker for Human Ventures (formerly Speak Out), teaching circus skills, dance and music to children in some of Queensland’s most remote Indigenous communities.

Paola BallaPaola Balla
Paola Balla is a Wemba-Wemba and Gunditjmara woman of Italian & Chinese heritage. She is an artist, curator, speaker, educator and cultural producer whose work includes developing Footscray Community Arts Centre first Indigenous Arts and Cultural program, was a Senior Curator of First Peoples exhibition at Melbourne Museum and has been commissioned by the City of Melbourne, organisations, universities and exhibits regularly. Most recently Paola won the Three Dimensional Award at the Victorian Indigenous Art Awards 2014. Paola’s work is driven by a commitment to social justice, addressing impacts of colonial trauma (particularly on women & children) & creating spaces for people to have ownership and voice through creative practices.


Peta tait HeadshotProfessor Peta Tait, La Trobe University
FAHA, Professor of Theatre and Drama at La Trobe University and a performance studies scholar and playwright who researches the interdisciplinary humanities fields of emotions and body based performance. Recent books include: Wild and Dangerous Performances: Animals, Emotions, Circus (Palgrave 2012); Circus Bodies: Cultural Identity in Aerial Performance (Routledge, 2005); and Performing Emotions: Gender, Bodies, Spaces, (Ashgate, 2002).



r e a headshotr e a, Gamilaraay/Wailwan
r e a is an artist | curator | activist | academic | cultural educator | creative thinker; who is engaged in an artist-led, research-based-practice. r e a is a descendant from the Gamilaraay/Wailwan nation from the central western region of New South Wales. r e a’s ongoing practice takes its development from new and critical discourses that are interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary in approach, she explores the convergence between art and technology, philosophy & history; Aboriginality & culture(s), identity, body & Queer politics. r e a is a doctoral candidate in Visual Anthropology at the College of Fine Arts, UNSW, where she is investigating the ‘body activist’.


Richard WattsRichard Watts, ArtsHub and 3RRR.
Richard Watts is the performing arts writer for the industry website ArtsHub, and hosts the weekly program SmartArts on 3RRR. He currently serves on the boards of La Mama Theatre and the journal Going Down Swinging, and is a member of the Green Room Awards Independent Theatre panel. Richard is the founder of the Emerging Writers Festival, a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was previously the Chair of the Melbourne Fringe Festival.



Rocky Stone HeadshotRockie Stone, Independent Circus Artist
Rockie Stone is a physical performer and contemporary theatre maker with a drive to create art with bodies. She has a versatility enabling her to create work in a variety of forms and settings. A graduate of NICA and VCA (PostgradDip – Performance Making), she specializes in aerial rope, Chinese Pole, cloudswing, hand to hand acrobatics, tower of chairs, and bottle-walking. Rockie has been performing professionally since 2001 across the globe with various ensembles including Circa and Circus Oz, and a maker of independent work since 2005.

Rockie is co-founder of contemporary circus theatre company 3 is a Crowd, and is currently touring the ensemble’s debut award-winning show Fright or Flight. Rockie is also currently employed as Artistic Associate at Westside Circus; one half of acrobatic duo ConcentricCircus; a fifth of jazz/circus ensemble in.form, and a director of circus & physical theatre.

Rose Stephens HeadshotRose Stephens, NICA
Rose has worked in the performing arts industry for many years as a professional musician (woodwind player in shows such as Cats, Big River, A Chorus Line etc.); as a musical director, and as a teacher across primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. Rose was instrumental in the development of Applied Music degrees at Box Hill Institute (BHI) which were amongst the first degrees written and delivered by a TAFE organisation in Victoria. Rose held various management positions at BHI including Manager for the Centre for Performing Arts. Moving to Swinburne University in 2009, Rose worked as the Director of Learning for the School of Creative and Service Industries. Recently serving as the Director of Learning for the Centre for Business, Design and ICT at Swinburne, Rose brings to the role of Program Manager for NICA a wealth of experience in business management, academic leadership and performing arts industry background.

Shien Chee HeadshotShien Chee, Mullum Circus Festival
Shien is Artistic Producer & Program Director of the Mullum Circus Festival. With a Post-Grad in Cultural Event Management, she now sits on the Board of Directors at Spaghetti Circus where she has also been a coach, consultant and long-time ‘family’ member. Shien cut her teeth performing on both stage and screen in Australia, and also tried her hand as a hula hooping street performer whilst living in Barcelona and on the European festival circuit, where she developed a healthy respect for street artists and the culture of performance in Europe. She has worked with Circus Oz, toured Australia, loved working with community circus in Thailand, Mexico, Singapore and Brazil and has many dreams in her bag regarding future travels and projects. She now works as an Executive for Quiip, Australia’s leading online community specialists, and continues her passion for festivals, working at The Falls, Mullum Music, Byron Writers and of course the National Circus Festivals. She is thrilled to be presenting and facilitating at the Futures Forum, it seems like just yesterday that she was wide-eyed and bushy-tailed at her first Circus Conference over 17 years ago.

Simon O'Brien headshotSimone O’Brien, Spaghetti Circus
Simone O’Brien (BA. Dip Ed in Drama and English) is a performance maker, writer, teacher and director of circus and physical theatre. She recently became the Creative Director of the Spaghetti Circus, one of Australia’s leading youth circuses, located in Mullumbimby in northern NSW. Simone brings a passion for social circus, community cultural development, experimental theatre for children and creating circus in the natural environment.

Simone was the Artistic Associate of Legs on the Wall from 2006 and one of the founders of seminal aerial company Club Swing. Directing credits include: Bibi Bulak (East Timor, Asialink Residency), VISA Hospitality Lounge (Beijing Olympics) Woodford Folk Festival Closing Ceremony (QLD), Balloon Spectacular, Enlighten Festival (ACT), Circus Oz, Force Majeure, Catapult Youth Circus Festival (Bathurst), the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence (Sydney), NICA and NIDA. Simone has been a proud member of ACAPTA since 2003, serving on the Management Committee 2008 – 2012 and as Deputy Chair from 2009 – 2011.

Troy HeadshotTroy-Anthony Baylis
Troy-Anthony Baylis is a descendant of the Jawoyn people from the NT and also of Irish ancestry. He is an artist, curator and writer, and currently a PhD Candidate at UniSA and Curator & Manager, Programs at Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, Adelaide. His performance and visual arts practice unsettles colonial constructions of Aboriginal sexuality by employing Queer-Aboriginal spirituality, drawing from pre-historic, pre-colonial, pre-Aboriginal, trickster traits; and media.



Yana Alana HeadshotYana Alana, MC for the Circus Futures Forum [A.K.A. Sarah Ward]
Sarah is a Helpmann award winning powerhouse chanteuse and performer. Creator of the formidable Yana Alana and Tha Parana’s, the act has received ten Green Room Awards. Sarah has toured with La Soiree, Finucane and Smiths Glory box, Circus Oz and Arena Theatre Company. She was also one half of the celebrated hip-hop cabaret act Sista She.




Yaron HeadshotYaron Lifschitz, CIRCA
Yaron Lifschitz is a graduate of the University of New South Wales, University of Queensland and National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) where he was the youngest director ever accepted into its prestigious graduate director’s course. Since graduating, Yaron has directed over 60 productions including large-scale events, opera, theatre, physical theatre and circus. His work has been seen in thirty countries, across six continents by over 500 000 people.

He was founding Artistic Director of the Australian Museum’s Theatre Unit, Head Tutor in Directing at Australian Theatre for Young People and has been a regular guest tutor in directing at NIDA since 1995. He is currently Artistic Director and CEO of Circa. With Circa, Yaron has created works such as by the light of stars that are no longer…, CIRCA, Wunderkammer, How Like an Angel, “S”, Beyond, Opus and most recently Carnival of the Animals which world premiered in 2014. His recent works have been reviewed as being “stunning”, “exquisite” and “the standard to which all other circuses can aspire”. Yaron lives in Brisbane with his son, Oscar. His passion is creating works of philosophical and poetic depth from the traditional languages of circus.

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Australian Circus & Physical Theatre Association