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

  • 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


  • 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