Up Next Masterclass

Each year, Western Edge Youth Arts proudly presents a series of free masterclasses for the next generation of emerging artists in Melbourne’s west.

Up Next: Skill Seekers is series of skills-based training workshops delivered by some of the city’s most innovative and inspiring artists who will help you develop key skills in performance, design, and building a sustainable career as an artist.

Workshops are free and open to anyone from the West aged 16 to 30. Come and develop essential tools for your artist toolkit. The cultural leaders of tomorrow start here.

Masterclasses will be back in early 2021. We can't wait to work and learn with you all next year!

Proudly supported by The Bowery Theatre and Brimbank City Council, with funding from Australia Council for the Arts.



Past Up Next Masterclass

  • Taking the performance out of performing: a master class for stage and screen with Sancia Robinson

    One of the first things we often take out of our acting is ourselves. We are concentrating so hard on the emotions and “playing our actions” we stop being who we really are and doing what people really do. In my work Acting is always about being real, about discovering out how to be US- under different circumstances trying to get someone to understand us, do something or feel something. This workshop takes you back to the core of you simply trying to affect someone. It helps you brings back the superpower of what makes your work unique – YOU. And also makes it FUN. 

    This workshop will involve performing monologues, please download and learn the text before the workshop. 

    Sancia is a NIDA trained actor, television casting producer, writer and acting teacher. ​Her credits include lead roles for STC, Belvoir, MTC, and Malthouse along with guest appearances on TV. Sancia has also cowritten a critically acclaimed play” What is the Matter with Mary Jane?” which STC internationally to outstanding reviews. “Five Stars out of Five- Kill to get a ticket”. Sancia is also an experienced talent producer and her credits include ‘Spicks and Specks’, ‘Filthy Rich and Homeless’, ‘First Contact II”, ‘Everyone’s a Critic’, ‘Thank God You’re Here’ and ‘The Panel’ among many others. More recently Sancia has taught at 16th Street, AP Studios and NIDA Open and The National Theatre and privately teaches “The Practice”.

    When: Thursday 20 February 2020

    Time: 6.00pm – 9.00pm

    Venue: Flexi Room, The Bowery Theatre, 33 Princess Street St Albans

    Register now

  • Foundation Ensemble Training with Robert (Draf) Draffin

    “There is no such thing as a small part”.  Theatre is a collaboration and connection between bodies, space, and objects.  Every moment and element, no matter how small is integral to creating Theatre’s magic.  This will be explored in this workshop.

    Draf trained Secondary school physical education teacher and footballer and found his way into Community Theatre and has since a created body of artistic work spanning 47 years. He has directed 74 theatre productions nationally and internationally, has taught acting in Australia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan.  Currently teaches sessionally at Victorian College of Arts and is co-artistic director of Liminal Theatre..  His work is defined by the corporeal and kinaesthetic state of liminality: the embodied creative energy held in thresholds and moments of flux.

    When: Thursday 27 February 2020

    Time: 6.00pm – 9.00pm

    Venue: Flexi Room, The Bowery Theatre, 33 Princess Street St Albans

    Register now

  • Living as an Artist with Rani Pramesti

    During Pragmatic Approaches to Living as an Artist, we will do three things: dream up the big vision for a life built on your core values, share strategies on how to use your time wisely and identify tools to have a healthy relationship with money.The aim of all three elements is to build the scaffolding you need to do to more than survive as an artist, we want you to thrive as an artist!

    Rani P Collaborations inspires conversations, self-reflection and intercultural exchange through transformative storytelling experiences. As Founder of Rani P Collaborations Pty Ltd, Rani leads culturally diverse teams across Indonesia and Australia, working at the intersection of storytelling, technology and cultural exchange.

    When: Thursday 5 March 2020

    Time: 6.00pm – 9.00pm

    Venue: Flexi Room, The Bowery Theatre, 33 Princess Street St Albans

    Register now

  • Free Your Voice with Matt Furlani

    An in-depth, guided exploration and refinement of all fundamental components required for dynamic, truthful speech: relaxation, breathing freedom and power, resonance, responsive and limber tongue, soft palette and jaw, open channel, pitch range, articulation and imaginative connection to text and language. The Voice and the Self are intertwined; blocks in one area will affect the other. We can experience increased freedom in both through mindful exploration and practise. Free your VOICE = free YOURSELF!

    Matt Furlani is a Voice/Dialect coach and Actor, holding a Post Grad Diploma in Voice Studies and Bachelor of Dramatic Art (VCA). Matt has worked with theatre companies including OpticNerve, North of Eight, the Artisan Collective as well as the Australian E-Sports Federation and Epic Tampa Entertainment, US. In 2016 he was a recipient of The Mike Walsh Fellowship, enabling him to travel to Scotland and work with renowned voice teacher – and author of Freeing the Natural Voice – Kristin Linklater. He regularly teaches dialect workshops at TAFTA, Melbourne Actor’s Lab and Associated Studios Aus, as well as ongoing private tuition.  He has taught Voice & Dialect at 16th St since 2017. Most recently, Matt was Dialect Coach for Red Stitch’s productions of Pomona and Ulster American and was invited to work alongside Geraldine Cook on Golden Shield and Home, I’m Darling for MTC.

    When: Thursday 12 March 2020

    Time: 6.00pm – 9.00pm

    Venue: Flexi Room, The Bowery Theatre, 33 Princess Street St Albans

    Register now

  • Prompting Growth with Abdul Hammoud

    After using prompts and directions to help thousands overcome writer’s block, Abdulrahman knows a thing or two about capturing creativity by thinking outside the box. Join him to discover new thinking methods that will aid in everything from novel writing to rap sessions.

    Abdulrahman Hammoud is a spoken word artist based in Melbourne by way of Lebanon. He teaches writing workshops for organizations looking to explore new avenues of expression around the world. In 2013, he became founder of The Dirty Thirty online writing platform, a growing group for writers to challenge themselves every April. He is now also editor and compiler of The Dirty Thirty Anthology, a collection of poetry from the page he coordinates. He is also an avid purveyor of starting books but never finishing them.

    When: Thursday 30 April 2020

    Time: 6.00pm – 9.00pm

    Venue: Online! Register to be emailed the login details.

    Register now

  • DIY Lighting Design with Katie Sfetkidis

    Learn the basics of lighting design using everyday objects. This workshop will focus on how light can be used as a dynamic element in your next performance without needing fancy equipment. From lighting the action to setting the mood, this workshop will include practical exercises using readily accessible light sources that can be used to great effect. 

    What to bring:

    1/ a picture with lighting you like (something digital that we can share with the group)

    2/ a light source (this could be desk lamp, mobile phone, computer, torch, light switch, toy etc)

    3/ pencil / pen and some paper

    Katie Sfetkidis is a Melbourne based lighting designer and contemporary artist and a key creative of Queer theatre company Little Ones Theatre. She has worked extensively in theatre and contemporary experimental performance for almost 15 years across Australia. Katie has worked across the mainstage and Independent sectors for companies including: Malthouse Theatre, MTC, Belvoir, Sydney Theatre Company, La Boite, Little Ones Theatre, APHIDS, Red Stitch,  Sisters Grimm, Fraught Outfit and Field Theory. She has received one Green Room Award and several nominations. Katie currently sits as a Green Room Award panel member of both Contemporary Experimental Performance and Theatre Companies Panels.

    When: Thursday 7 May 2020

    Time: 6.00pm – 9.00pm

    Venue: Online! Register to be emailed the login details.

    Register now

  • Movement with Carly Sheppard

    Carly Sheppard is a cross-disciplinary performance artist whose work negotiates across dance and theatre performance, sculpture, drawing, voice and installation. Often these forms feature interchangeably within a single work, housed within the foundation of the body moving.

    Carly’s work predominantly explores the experience of being a part of the Indigenous diaspora of Australia; intersecting identities and the navigation of trans-generational inheritances, exploring the borders of ownership and autonomy, and the mapping of these shifting spaces and their interaction with changing social and cultural environments.

    Some of Carly’s own work thus far include ‘White Face’ for Next Wave Festival 2014; ‘Moving House’ for Brown Cabs Scratch Series at Footscray Community Arts Centre 2015 and Womenjeka Festival at Footscray Community Arts Centre 2016; ‘Nah Nuthin’ for Pieces For Small Spaces at Lucy Guerin Inc, Crackers And Dip With Chase And Toey, Arts House 2018.

    Carly has performed as ensemble dancer and performer in various works including ‘Pulse’ 2013 and Articulating Landscapes 2014, for Ochre Contemporary Dance Company; Aeon by Lz Dunn 2017 and 2018, Same But Different by Mariaa Randall Dubai Kungka Miyalk for Dance Massive Festival Melbourne 2019; Sand Song for Insite Arts, story developed by Walbira Murray, Choreographed by Deon Hasty and Directed by Elena Vereker, Shanghai 2016, Sydney 2017 and Gold Coast 2018.

    Carly has performed in Educational, Independent and main-stage theatre works, including; ‘Northwest Of Nowhere’, Ilbijerri Theatre Company, Written by Kamarra Bell-Wykes and Directed by Rachael Maza, 2015; ‘Love’, playing the role of Annie, written and directed by Cornelius and Dee, at 45 Downstairs, Melbourne 2019, and the Arsonale in Venice 2019; ‘Anthem’, playing the role of Joella and chorus member, written by Christos Tsiolkas, Andrew Bovell, Patricia Cornelius, Melissa Reeves and Irine Vela, and directed by Susie Dee, Arts Centre Melbourne 2019, Roslyn Packer Theatre, Sydney, 2020, State Theatre WA, 2020 .

    Carly has been nominated for Best Performer for her work in Love and Anthem for the 2020 Green Room Awards. In the 2019 Green Room Awards, Carly and Josh Twee received nominations for Best Performance, and were awarded Best Production in the category for Experimental Performance, for their work Crackers and Dip With Chase and Toey. 

    Carly studied Bachelor of Dance at the Victorian College of the Arts, VIC, Diploma of Careers In Dance at National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association, NSW, and Bachelor of Creative Arts at The University of Melbourne, VIC.  Carly is an Alumni of the British Council’s Accelerate Program, 2015. 


    When: Thursday 14 May 2020

    Time: 6 – 9 pm

    Location: Online! Register to be emailed the login details.

    Register now

  • Decolonising through Imagery with Eugyeene Teh

    As the next generation of artists, we are making work that decolonises the existing structures that plague our communities. Together, we will investigate ways to deconstruct and challenge the status quo through image making in the fields of visual and performing arts.
    There will be a model making component of this masterclass, so it would be great if you could have some model-making materials on hand. We know it’s quite tricky to source materials at the moment, so here are some specific examples for options of items to bring:
    1/ Model making materials: cardboard from boxes, etc, coloured paper/card, other forms of used packaging that could be interesting in a model, fabric off-cuts, maybe some glitter!
    2/ Cutting tools like scissors or a box cutter.
    3/ Paint, markers, adhesive (glue, tape, etc), with paintbrushes if available or sponges, etc.
    4/ A small box, maybe a shoe box or equivalent, to use as the ‘stage’
    5/ … or anything else you think could be useful from around the house. A cupful of soil, small twigs from the garden, fabric from an old sock, empty toilet paper rolls — use your imagination!!


    Eugyeene Teh is a theatre maker, and designer across theatre, dance and opera. He has worked extensively on shows throughout Australia and internationally including Melbourne Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre, Back to Back Theatre, Bell Shakespeare, Little Ones Theatre, Fraught Outfit and Sydney Chamber Opera.

    His works, in collaboration with some of Australia’s most exciting artists, dismantle the patriarchy through decolonisation and advocate for underrepresented minority identities.

    Eugyeene is a recipient of a Green Room Award and has been nominated for three Sydney Theatre Awards. He is also the recipient of the prestigious Keith and Elisabeth Murdoch Fellowship and the Besen Family Artist Program.


    When: Thursday 21 May 2020

    Time: 6.00pm – 9.00pm

    Venue: Online! Register to be emailed the login details.

    Register now

  • Sounds Allowed/Are Loud with Rex Pelman

    Learn to enhance your craft with the basics of sound.

    “Actions speak louder than words unless words are packed with action.”

    Listening to long lectures can be boring. Chuck some cartoon like sound effects alongside a superhero theme song and now you have the most entertaining lecture imagined. Come and learn in a fun, hands on workshop on how to deepen the depth of your piece with the basics of  sound. “Sounds Allowed” will make sure that your “Sounds Are Loud” and proud.

    Rexson Pelman is a performer, sound designer, facilitator, rapper, music producer and wrestler, as well as a full-time labourer and father of five. He is a Lead Artist and Sound Designer for WEYA where his work has been incredibly diverse.  In 2012 he worked on the Chronicles project, culminating in travelling to the remote Beagle Bay Aboriginal Community in Western Australia to create performance with young people. As a member of the Edge Ensemble, Rexson has performed in Fate (FCAC, 2013), Fate 2.0 (Arts Centre, 2014), Scheherazade (FCAC, 2014), Iago (Malthouse 2015) and Caliban (Malthouse 2016). He has performed in countless productions for WEYA since first joining as a participant at fourteen years of age, worked as a Support Artist with WEYA for St Albans Edge, Geelong Edge and Footscray Edge and is now a Sound Designer, Composer and Lead Artist for the company.

    Rexson has worked as a sound designer, engineer and performer for a number of other arts organisations and events, including Backbone Youth Arts QLD, Uprising Theatre, Playback West, Platform Youth Theatre and Metonnoia Theatre.

    When: Thursday 28 May 2020

    Time: 6.00pm – 9.00pm

    Venue: Online! Register to be emailed the login details.

    Register now

  • Forging your own path: a discussion with Catherine Văn-Davies, Mark Coles Smith and Zahra Newman about working in the Australian arts industry

    So, you’ve done the masterclasses, you’ve explored movement and screen acting and how to decolonise through imagery, now what? What’s the next step? How do you use the skills that you’ve developed to build a sustainable career as an artist?  

    In our final masterclass session, you’ll have the opportunity to ask three absolute legends of the Australian stage about how they made the journey from emerging to established artist. Catherine Văn-Davies, Mark Coles Smith and Zahra Newman are ready to answer your questions, and pass on the lessons they learned as they built their prolific careers.  

    Bring your questions, bring your curiosity, and let’s start forging those pathways! 

    Zahra Newman: Film: Long Story Short, I Met A Girl, Truth. TV: ‘Rosehaven’, ‘Diary of an Uber Driver’, ‘Sisters’, ‘Childhood’s End’, ‘Wentworth’, ‘Rush’. Theatre includes working extensively with Australia’s major theatre producers – Sydney Opera House, STC, MTC, Belvoir, Bell Shakespeare, Malthouse, Sydney Symphony. Highlights: The Book of Mormon, Wake in Fright, Cat on A Hot Tin Roof, Random, Funny Girl, The Blind Giant Is Dancing, Ivanov, Private Lives, Love and Information, The Government Inspector, Miss Julie, The Effect, The Mountaintop, The Cherry Orchard, Clybourne Park, Richard III. Awards: AACTA for Best New Talent, Sydney Theatre Award, Green Room Award. Training: VCA

    Mark Coles Smith is a multi-disciplinary Nyikina artist working across several performing arts’ genres, first and foremost as an actor, but also as a writer, producer and sound designer. In 2017, Mark won a Helpmann Award for Best Male Actor in a Play for his work on Leah Purcell’s acclaimed adaptation of The Drover’s Wife. He previously received a Best Supporting Actor win at the Film Critics’ Circle of Australia awards for his work in the feature film Last Cab to Darwin and was awarded the Casting Guild of Australia’s inaugural Sirius Award for New Talent of the Future.

    Catherine Văn-Davies (previously Catherine Davies) is a Vietnamese-Australian actor and theatre maker, who has worked both nationally and internationally. Born in Canberra, spending her early childhood in Bogor, Indonesia and her schooling years in Brisbane, she is now based in Sydney. Catherine has performed at major art establishments such as the Sydney Opera House, Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA ArtBar), the National Gallery of Australia, as well as both independent and main stage theatres. She feels passionately about diverse and inclusive representation throughout the arts on all aspects of the creation process and works towards a future where marginalised voices will be incorporated and acknowledged throughout our Australian storytelling landscape, across all mediums. Catherine graduated from QUT with a BFA (Acting) in 2006 and trained at HB Studio, New York in 2010. She’s a recipient of the Ashley Wilkie Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Performing Arts. She has been nominated for numerous Green Room Awards for various works over her career as well as creating multi-award winning work that has toured nationally. In 2019 she won Best Female Support for Angels in America and Best Ensemble for White Pearl at the Sydney Theatre Awards. She was nominated for Best Lead Performer for The Happy Prince.


    When: Thursday 4 June 2020

    Time: 6.00pm – 9.00pm

    Venue: Online! Register to be emailed the login details.

    Register now