Up Next Masterclass

Up Next Masterclasses are part of WEYA’s professional development program, providing free and open-access spaces for artists in Melbourne’s west to come together to sharpen their skills and strengthen their networks, ready to take the next step in their professional practice.  

Each year, we run a series of ten masterclasses delivered by some of Australia’s most innovative and inspiring artists. In 2021, our masterclasses are all about knowing your worth. You’ll have the opportunity to explore ways to tell your own stories safely, navigating intimacy on screen and stage, developing a wellbeing practice, cultural safety in creative settingshow to conceive, plan and pitch your project in local, national and international context, and how to navigate arts spaces while maintaining your integrity and autonomy as an artist.  

The masterclasses are free and open to anyone aged 18 to 30. Places are limited due to COVID capacity, so be sure to book your tickets here. 

Proudly supported by The Bowery Theatre and Brimbank City Council, with funding from Maribyrnong City Council, Sidney Myer Foundation and organisational funding from the Australia Council for the Arts and Creative Victoria. 

Hero Image Illustration by Nadia Lian

Past Up Next Masterclass

  • 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


  • Culture and Comedy | Shiralee Hood

    Our 2019 masterclass series begins with an opportunity to learn about the oldest traditions of our First Nations storytellers through the contemporary comedic practices of indigenous artist, Shiralee Hood. Shiralee will take us through the rich and vibrant history of Original Australia and show us how humour has not only been a form of self-expression but also a survival mechanism for many years. 

    The workshop is an invitation to know first-hand where we are living and working, acknowledge the ground breaking work of our First Nations artists past and present, and be inspired to continue telling our own stories on the land we all now call home.

    Shiralee Hood is Australia’s premiere indigenous female comedian, writer, director and cultural education practitioner. Shiralee has blown away audiences throughout Australia with hilarious stories and an outrageously funny take on life. Her recent awards include: Melbourne International Comedy Festival “Deadly Funny” 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2014, Deadly Awards (Sydney Opera House) – 2013, Canberra Comedy Festival Gala – 2013, Canberra Comedy Festival “All Fired Up” (solo show) – 2013.

    When: Monday, 8 April 2019

    Time: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

    Venue: Film Studio, Kindred Studios, 3 Harris St, Yarraville

  • Cultural Responses to Environmental Violence | Angharad Wynne-Jones

    The workshop will include an overview of cultural responses to climate violence that Angharad has been involved with over the last decade, followed by a sharing of experiences of cultural responses you have been involved with. Then we will collaborate in a planning session on what cultural projects we might do next to move closer to creating a just and sustainable future. And take the first step.

    Angharad Wynne-Jones is currently Head of Creative Engagement at Arts Centre Melbourne and is founder director of Tipping Point Australia – a voluntary network energising the cultural responses to climate change.

    When: Monday,8 April 2019

    Time: 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

    Venue: Film Studio, Kindred Studios, 3 Harris Street, Yarraville


  • Self Love as Cultural Revolution | Tariro Mavondo

    Tariro will be using an interdisciplinary approach working with sound, text and movement and will also share different theatre techniques and exercises from a diverse range of forms that activate and engage the body and voice.

    This is a somatic inquiry exploring how to be a dynamic performer through investigating the relationship with words, body and one’s own essence in a safe and playful space. Tariro sees art and creativity as an act of self love and self love as a culturally revolutionary act. In a world that doesn’t seem to prioritise or value self interrogation and investigation to deepen one’s understanding of the interconnectedness of all living things that make up the world and our place in it, Tariro is interested in creating and facilitating spaces that allow people to explore these themes artistically.

    Bring along a couple written poems or monologues that speak to something alive in you and try to be familiar with the piece(s). During the masterclass you will be working in groups and solos which will culminate into a showing to one another towards the end of the workshop.

    Tariro is a multi-disciplinary artist and performer, currently in Dance Nation (Red Stitch). She has worked as a voice over artist and is also an awarding winning spoken word artist. Her piece ‘The Dangers of a Single Story’ will be part of an anthology ‘Growing Up African in Australia’. Tariro is also the founder of Africa’s Got Talent Australia and a Co-Founder of Centre of Poetics and Justice.

    When: Tuesday, 9 April 2019

    Time: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

    Venue: Film Studio, Kindred Studios, 3 Harris St, Yarraville

  • Queer Perspectives in Performance | Emma Valente

    What makes a performance work queer? What are queer aesthetics? How can performance engage with gender and sexuality? What are some queer methodologies and processes for making work? In this workshop participants will be introduced to queer theories, dramaturgy and perspectives through practical examples and workshop techniques.

    Emma is a theatre polymath, Co Artistic Director of THE RABBLE and occasional trouble maker. She has worked as a director, dramaturg, sound designer, lighting designer and video designer for many companies across Australia.

    When: Tuesday, 9 April 2019

    Time: 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

    Venue: Film Studio, Kindred Studios, 3 Harris St, Yarraville


  • Speak your Dance: Gurri Wanggadja Nhinggu | Jacob Boehme

    Our bodies carry ancestral experiences and stories deep in our DNA, influencing how we navigate the world around us. Gurri Wanggadja Nhinggu is a movement workshop which explores the use of memory, language and story in the creation of choreography and dance.

    Jacob Boehme will guide participants through a series of choreographic and composition techniques,  and equip them with the practical skills and tools needed for the creation of movement and choreography.

    Founding Director of Yirramboi Festival, Jacob Boehme has a 20-year history working in the Cultural Maintenance, Research and Revival of traditional dance with Elders and youth from urban to remote communities. Jacob combines dance, puppetry and playwriting to create multi-disciplinary theatre, dance and ceremony for stage, screen, large-scale public events and festivals.

    When: 10 April 2019

    Time: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

    Venue: Film Studio, Kindred Studios, 3 Harris St, Yarraville

  • Technology in Live Performance | Jolyon James

    Technology has cemented itself in our culture as a fundamental way in which we communicate with each other. It is so pervasive, that at times we may not even be aware of its effects. For me, primarily working in the theatre for young people sector, understanding the use of this technology has become a large part of my practice.

    In this workshop I plan to use the new ADOBE Character Animator application to create a live 2D animation that can be performed by the group. I would also like to explore the use of smart phones to create drama and tension in a scene and what happens when a conversation that is intended only to be intimate and private becomes projected large and publicly into a theatrical space.

    Jolyon James is a visual artist, theatre maker, writer and photographer. He has written directed and designed numerous live shows that have toured both nationally and internationally, most recently, Robot Song [currently on national tour]; Cautionary Tales for Children starring Virginia Gay [Sydney Opera House 2017]  and Trapper which he co-created with Christian Leavesley [Sydney opera house and Arts Centre Melbourne 2017/2018]. He has also created music video clips for artists such as Kate Ceberano and was a finalist in the National Photographic Portrait Prize.

    When: Wednesday, 10 April 2019

    Time: 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

    Venue: Film Studio, Kindred Studios, 3 Harris St, Yarraville


  • Song and Story | Sarah Ward

    In this 3 hour intensive workshop you will write your own song and a group song. 
    We will investigate the power of story-telling through song; whether that be rap, soul, folk, pop, rock, electronic or performance art. 
    We will look at how the words of a song can disrupt, activate and inspire change and be a powerful tool for activism, self-healing and connection. 

    Sarah Ward is an experienced songwriter, teacher, actor and cabaret artist. She has received the Helpmann Award, nine Green Room Awards and three Fringe Awards for Best Cabaret Artist and Production. She is currently touring nationally and Internationally with her cabaret creations Yana Alana and Queen Kong. She teaches singing part-time at Footscray City Primary School and runs songwriting workshops with ECHO Collective, Polyglot Theatre and Womens Circus. She is passionate about the power of songwriting for healing, development and self-confidence.

    When: Thursday, 11 April 2019

    Time: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

    Venue: Film Studio, Kindred Studios, 3 Harris St, Yarraville


  • Practical Inclusive Theatre Practice | Ingrid Voorendt and Tom Middleditch

    This practical workshop will reflect Tom and Ingrid’s different perspectives on inclusive practice. Working in different ways and bringing different skills, together they will demonstrate how they collaborate through conversational, experimental and fun techniques to create a safe, creative and inspiring room to play in

    Ingrid is a performance maker and director with a background in dance and community engagement. She is currently an Artistic Associate at Back to Back Theatre.

    Tom is a writer, director, philosopher, neurodiversity advocate and relaxed performance consultant. He is the Artistic Director of A_tistic, and the Inclusion Coordinator at St Martins Youth Arts Centre.

    When: Thursday, 11 April 2019

    Time: 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

    Venue: Film Studio, Kindred Studios, 3 Harris St, Yarraville

  • Pragmatic Approaches to Living as an Artist | 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: Friday, 12 April 2019

    Time: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

    Venue: Deluxe Room, Kindred Studios, 3 Harris St, Yarraville