Our People

  • Collective in Training

    • Elijah Logo

      Elijah Logo

    • Milana Markovic-Matovic

      Milana Markovic-Matovic

      Milana has performed at the Melbourne Theatre Company’s Southbank Theatre in The Master and MargaritaAlmost Maine, and Fess up! These performances happened throughout her full-time studies in Theatre Arts (Acting) at Victorian College Of The Arts Secondary School, graduating in 2021. In 2022, Milana was a part of the touring Edge Ensembles show Distortion as the evil witch rogue Monica Thorne. Milana has been in short films and ongoing screen work; she is also interested in and has been involved in making films. She has completed courses for screen and stage at NIDA, acting classes at the National Theatre Melbourne, and has been in several other shows throughout her youth (Coriolanus, After Kafka, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe).

    • An Dang

      An Dang

      An is an actor, dancer and singer with a background in circus, where she trained with the National Circus of Vietnam as a contortionist. An has a passion for both theatre and film and is currently training at Melbourne Actor’s Lab and Melbourne Teen Actors, while also studying languages at university. Her recent credits include a sold out season of The Mermaid at La Mama Theatre and an originating role in Under the Influence the Musical.

    • Ioane Ale Brown

      Ioane Ale Brown

      Ioane is a Samoan actor based in Melbourne. Ioane has been working with Western Edge since 2018, joining Edge Ensembles as a participant and performer for the production of Lele, Butterfly. In 2022, Ioane played the role of Jeanjay in the 2022 Edge Ensembles production of Distortion and Ismene in Lele as part of the 2022 Neighbourhood Festival. Ioane has been interested in acting and performing since he was young, and is excited to learn more about the industry through the Level Up program.

    • Chala Mohamed

      Chala Mohamed

      Chala hails from the Oromo tribe in Ethiopia. Chala played the role of Prince Henry in the 2022 Edge Ensembles production of Distortion. Currently working towards becoming a professional actor, Chala has a passion for acting and physical theatre. He is interested in developing his acting, writing and screenwriting practice through the Level Up program.

    • Fay Abdul

      Fay Abdul

      Fay is an actor from Melbourne. She joined Western Edge in 2019, playing Princess Helena in the Edge Ensembles production of The Watching, and has been with the company ever since. While acting is her artistic passion, she is also interested in developing her skills in screenwriting. Fay is eager to grow as an artist and work on her craft through the Level Up program.

    • Sina Ale Brown

      Sina Ale Brown

      Sina Ale Brown

      Sina Ale Brown

      Sina is a Samoan actor based in Melbourne. Sina has worked closely with Western Edge for five years as a participant and performer in various programs and productions. Her credits include Lele, Butterfly (Western Edge, 2018), The Watching (Western Edge, 2019) and Security, written by Michele Lee, in 2022. Sina is passionate about bringing stories to life and bringing joy to people through the use of acting and art. She hopes to reach her full potential with the Level Up program, learning and gaining more knowledge and skills within the industry.

    • Kiril Stamenkov

      Kiril Stamenkov

      Kiril is a dedicated performer, writer and aspiring director who was born and raised in Macedonia. He moved to Australia in 2010 and found his passion for acting after performing in high school plays. Kiril attended acting classes at Mooregrace Acting Studio in Geelong and later attained a diploma in Film and TV Production at JMC Academy in 2017. In 2018, Kiril joined Western Edge’s Geelong Edge ensemble. He played Haemon in Antigone and co-wrote and performed in North Geelong Edge’s original comedy piece Share House to a full house at Courthouse Youth Arts. As a Western Edge Support Artist in 2022, Kiril helped to facilitate the Edge Ensembles program and the original production of Distortion.

       

  • Sub 30 Collective

    • Amarachi Okorom

      Artistic Associate

      Amarachi Okorom

      Artistic Associate

      Amarachi Okorom is an Igbo Nigerian-born actor, spoken word poet and playwright, who grew up in Auckland and is now based in Naarm/Melbourne. Amarachi joined Western Edge in 2017, performing in Caliban as part of the Edge Ensemble. Recent acting credits include This (RISING), Burning Love (Playlist Live), The Human Voice, A Disorganised Zoom Reading of Contagion, the audio play Watching (Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre), Seers (Playlist Live), The Watching with Western Edge, and Future Echoes: Edge Ensemble at Arts Centre Melbourne. She also appeared on ABC Melbourne as part of the Homespun storytelling gala. As a critically acclaimed emerging playwright, Amarachi was shortlisted for the 2021 Griffin Award. In 2021, she was selected for Melbourne Theatre Company’s First Stage program, Australian Theatre for Young People’s National Studio program, and Malthouse Theatre’s Besen Writers Group. She is currently a participating writer in Theatre Works’ She Writes Collective.

    • Betiel Beyin

      Betiel Beyin

      Betiel Beyin is an Eritrean creative based in Melbourne, who works on digital and theatre spaces, from being a runner on set to performer, writer, and filmmaker. She joined Western Edge’s Wyndham Edge in 2018 and has since co-written and performed in three Western Edge productions, The Retreat, The Watching, and Tig, earning her a residency with Phoenix Youth Centre and mentorship with Candy Bowers. Her creative practice has previously received support through SIGNAL Arts and Cinespace’s Writers’ Room workshop facilitated by Jane Allen. Betiel is a recent film graduate from RMIT University, where she created two short films: Triangle of Opportunities and The Rise and Fall of Bobby Maz, which was screened at the Swamp Cinema Festival. Betiel is the co-creator and co-writer of IGTV comedy mini-series, Lil CEEBS, which is currently being developed into a web series CEEBS with support from SBS Digital Originals and ABC iView’s Pitch-O-Rama.

    • Leigh Lule

      Leigh Lule

      Leigh Lule is a Ugandan-Australian actress, writer, and aspiring director based in Naarm/Melbourne. She is currently studying journalism at Deakin University, where she filmed and produced Don’t Call Me Cynthia, a documentary exploring Eurocentric assimilation. She joined Western Edge in 2018, writing and performing theatre works as a member of the Sub30 Collective, including The Retreat, The Watching, and Tig. As a Western Edge Support Artist, she also assists in the devising and delivery of drama programs to high schools throughout Melbourne’s western suburbs. Leigh is the co-creator and co-writer of IGTV mini-series, Lil CEEBS, a prequel to upcoming web series, CEEBS, which received developmental support from SBS Digital Originals and ABC iView’s Pitch-O-Rama. After assistant-directing Liv Satchell’s let bleeding girls lie, which is representing Australia at the 12th Women Playwrights International conference, she will continue working with Satchell on The Grief Trilogy at La Mama Theatre in 2023.

    • Michael Logo

      Michael Logo

      Michael Logo is a proud Samoan actor working across stage and screen. He was born in Auckland and raised in Victoria. Michael trained at Verve Studios and John Bolton Theatre School. He became involved with Western Edge as an actor and Support Artist. He has performed in Western Edge’s productions The Retreat, The Watching, Lele, Butterfly, and worked on the script for Hamlet, translating sections into Samoan language. He was a key creative working on the expanded Lele, Butterfly creative development. Michael has performed in Playlist Live (Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre), First Stage (Melbourne Theatre Company), and David Wood’s production of This (RISING). He was featured in short film Eli the Invincible (SBS). Michael’s recent screen credits include Paper Champions (Netflix), Why Are You Like This, Love Me, and Colin from Accounts (Binge).

    • Yaw Dadzie

      Yaw Dadzie

      Inspired by his heritage and an intrinsic love for creativity, Yaw Dadzie’s passion for artistic expression spans theatre, music, film, and beyond. As an actor, Yaw has been involved in professional and community theatre projects since 2009, with notable performances Iago and Caliban at The Malthouse and AMKA at Arts Centre Melbourne. Yaw is currently immersing himself in the world of film production and working on multiple film projects. Performing under the moniker Yaw Faso, his career in music has seen him receive honorary nominations for Best Reggae and Dancehall Act at the Music Victoria Awards 2018 and 2019, and collaborate with an array of local and international artists and producers, namely Djay W, MC IG., and Machinedrum. As an active local performer, Yaw has also appeared at festivals and events across Australia, and supported artists such as Kranium, Nasty C, Konshens, Jose Chameleone, and Baker Boy.

    • Ras-Samuel Welda’abzgi

      Ras-Samuel Welda’abzgi

      Ras-Samuel Welda’abzgi is an actor, writer, and producer, who was given a traditional ceremony in his homeland Ethiopia giving him responsibility to be a vessel for telling stories that are gifted to him from above. Ras-Samuel’s stage credits include Because The Night (Malthouse Theatre), Happy End (Victorian Opera), Twelfth Night (Melbourne Shakespeare Company), The Importance of Being Earnest (Sonnet 66), and Huckleberry Finn (Chapel Off Chapel). Recent screen works include Woody Woodpecker (Universal Studios), The Abandoned (Panorama), The Last Supper, BLVCK GOLD, and Jebena Genie which he wrote, produced, and starred in. He has also worked as a consultant for an upcoming Netflix series.

  • Lead Artists

    • Ricardo Magno

      Ricardo Magno

      Originally from Manila, Ricardo received his theatre training from the Cultural Centre of the Philippines. He is a performer, choreographer, and director currently finishing his Master of Theatre (Directing) degree at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne.
      His most notable production credits include direction and choreography for PAMANA: Philippine History in Movement (nominated for Best Dance Production at the 2020 Philippine LEAF Awards); movement design for Anna in the Tropics (recipient of the Special Citation for Outstanding Movement Design, 2020 PhilStage Awards); movement design for Alpha Kappa Omega (cited for Outstanding Movement Design, Philippine Daily Inquirer Best of Theater 2019); direction and choreography for Panta Rhei: All in Flux (winner of the 2018 Call for Competitive Grants program of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts); and performance for Mukhannathun (recipient of the Best Actor in a Leading Role Award at the 2017 CinePeyu Film Festival).
      Productions he has been part of as an actor or choreographer have been showcased at the International Theater Institute Festival (Spain, 2018), APB Drama Festival (Taiwan, 2012; Shanghai, 2017; Indonesia, 2018); Asian Performing Arts Forum (Japan, 2016 and 2017), Indiana University of Pennsylvania (USA, 2017), and Low Fat Art Fest (Bangkok, 2015).
    • Brenna Ternus

      Brenna Ternus

      Brenna Ternus is an educator, artist and theatremaker who has lived and worked all over the world. Their practice is all about collaborating with young people and the community on programs or performances that foreground underrepresented voices.
      While studying theatre and interdisciplinary arts at Yale University, they co-wrote an interactive children’s musical called The Dinosaur Hunters about the dawn of American paleontology, and produced/performed in a touring production across 10 US states. Their other musicals Doc Patterson’s Dragonbone Storyshow and Bunkerville were both produced at Yale, with the latter chosen for the Yale Dramatic Association’s Commencement Musical – the first student-written show to be produced on that scale in three decades. After graduating, they taught photography and creative writing to young people in New Orleans and then moved to Beijing to build an experimental arts-integrated learning centre called Armada.
      Brenna relocated to Melbourne in 2017 and spent a year orchestrating immersive wellbeing programs at the Reach Foundation before taking over the Early Harvest youth publishing project at 100 Story Building in Footscray. Since then, they have supported ensembles of young people to create four professionally-published short story anthologies, with a fifth in the works for 2023.
      Their other recent projects include: Imagination Gamespaces (ArtPlay New Ideas Lab), a program empowering young people to design and build their own story-based escape rooms; Years of Our Lives (City of Melbourne/Victorian Seniors Festival), a lockdown-era community timeline project for older adults; The Museum of Moving Memories, an interactive bicycle-based theatre experience; and How Long is a Piece of String (MPavilion/100 Story Building), a string-based interactive storytelling installation.
      Brenna is currently the Senior Producer for Creative Learning at 100 Story Building, and they also oversee arts enrichment programming at Carlton Primary School. They have been an eager supporter and volunteer at Western Edge since being wowed by The Watching in 2019, and they’re thrilled to have joined the team in developing new programs.
    • Dax Carnay

      Dax Carnay

      Have you met Dax? They’re a super talented artist who’s non-binary and identifies as Transfeminine/gender non-conforming. Originally from Manila, Philippines, they now call Melbourne their home. Dax has been in the artistic game for over 20 years and knows their stuff. Oh, and fun fact: they’re a big fan of Jollibee!

    • Clarisse Bonello

      Clarisse Bonello

      Clarisse Bonello is a Melbourne-based actor, theatre-maker and voice artist.  

      Clarisse is a graduate of La Trobe University with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Drama and Media Screen and Sound; and a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts; with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Practice.  

      While at VCA, Clarisse appeared in productions of AntigoneThree SistersFalling PetalsCaucasian Chalk Circle and she appeared in Dancing with Death for the AsiaTOPA festival. During this time Clarisse was the recipient of the 2016 Pratt Bursaries Scholarship for Excellence in Acting.  

      Clarisse co-created and performed in Speak of the Devil as a part of Melbourne and Adelaide Fringe Festivals and has performed at La Boite Theatre in A Clockwork Orange and The Government Inspector 

      More recently Clarisse has appeared in Periscope Productions Disparate Scenes for Millennial Dreams and in ATOMIC for Malthouse Theatres award winning Suitcase Series Program. 

    • One Sixth

      One Sixth

      Australian born, Namibian raised rapper, vocalist, producer, songwriter, workshop facilitator, curator, director, actor, model and performing artist Aaron Stephanus aka 1/6 has been honing his craft since 2005. As a well established member of the local music scene, he has travelled extensively around Australia with numerous groups and bands, including The Public Opinion Afro OrchestraBlack Jesus Experience (BJX), the now defunct hip hop band Illzilla and The Four Aces (Mata and Must, Flu) amongst others, while also performing solo material at various festivals and venues countrywide. He was the first recipient of the Hilltop Hoods grant initiative when it went national in 2010 and has been releasing solo material since that same year. His debut album Electronic Mail was released in 2012 with local Hip Hop label Pang Productions and was warmly received, leading to support slots on national tours with Urthboy and Jimblah (Elefant Traks) and the Alliance Tour alongside Nelson Dialect, Maundz, Social Change and more. In 2016 he released an EP produced by Phil Gektor (Crate Cartel) titled Hemicrania, a conceptual piece addressing mental health issues, and Outbox, a 6 track E.P recorded over 7 days featuring interludes that were literally recorded by phone through each featured producer’s voicemail. Stay Nice, 2nd Thought, Royalz, Sensible J (REMI), RBD and ⅙ served as producers. His efforts extend past his own endeavours, as he has been working with community organisations such as Multicultural Arts Victoria, running the “Heard Instinct” hip hop program in conjunction with Shingo’s Cafe in Shepparton in 2019 and the “All Pasts Lead To Now” festival in 2020 (partly disrupted by COVID), “The Learn” Hip Hop literacy program run through the Fitzroy Library with Fitzroy Learning Network in 2017Yarra Youth Services and various schools around Victoria facilitating writing and performing workshops with youth eager to develop their own practice in the field of music composition and song-writing. 2021 saw a return to releasing solo music alongside producer The Silent Titan for a two track E.P Nunc Est Bibendum/Dreams which was released digitally via Low Key Source. The single Nunc Est Bibendum was launched as an immersive video launch and live performance, curated by One Sixth and featuring the video work of Raphael Recht and photographer and movement director Deepasheni Thirumoothy and exhibited at B-SIDE Gallery, Melbourne in between lockdowns that halted all live events.

    • Rashidi Edward

      Rashidi Edward

      Rashidi Edward is a Congolese born actor based in Melbourne. He graduated from Adelaide College of the Arts in 2016, and made his professional theatre debut in 2017 with The State Theatre Company of South Australia. As a member of their Ensemble, he appeared in four of the company’s productions including A Doll’s House and Macbeth in 2017 and Sense & Sensibility and In The Club in 2018. Other theatre credits includes Lines (Theatre Republic) Allope (Adelaide Festival) Season at Sarsaparilla, Mother Courage & Her Childrens, Richard II, and Earthquake In London. Physical theatre credits include: Hamlet Machine and Best To Go Unseen (Ac Arts). He’s also appeared in several films and television including RABBIT (film/Netflix) ABC iview series ‘F**king Adelaide’, ‘Akoni’, ‘Displaced’, ‘Speed’, ‘Run Away Moon’, ‘My Life is Murder’ and Stan’s ‘PREACHER’ and upcoming projects including feature film 2067. 

    • Rexson Pelman

      Rexson Pelman

      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 Western Edge 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.

    • Natalie Lucic

      Natalie Lucic

      Natalie is an actress and an education facilitator who hails from Werribee, Victoria. Natalie has always always enjoyed performing and being in the spotlight from a young age. She started acting professionally at age 15 with Moving Theatre, where she performed in various shows including a season at La Mama Courthouse Theatre.

      In 2013, she attended film acting school at ITM studios. In 2014, Natalie joined the Western Edge Youth Arts’ Edge Ensemble, where she co-created and performed in Iago (2015), Caliban (2016) and Caliban Tour (2018). As a Support Artist with WEYA, she has worked at seven schools and at Phoenix Edge, North Geelong Edge, Geelong Edge and Wyndham Edge. In 2019, she will continue as a Support Artists at Wyndham Edge while she works full-time.

       

    • Joana Pires

      Joana Pires

      Joana Pires has worked extensively as an actor across film, television and stage. She starred in a main cast role in the Emmy and BAFTA award winning miniseries Mrs Biggs for the Seven Network and UKITV. In 2014, Joana played Mrs. Yousef in the majestic Australian feature film Healing alongside Hugo Weaving and Don Hany. In 2015 Joana made her Melbourne Theatre Company mainstage stage debut in I Call My Brothers. A winner of the 2009 Malthouse Theatre Development Award for her performance of Truth Machine for Malthouse Theatre her other stage credits include Love Boy directed by Susie Dee, Fate directed by Tariro Mavondo both for the Arts Centre Melbourne and Tenderness for the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Sydney directed by Nadja Kostich. As a creator Joana that has lead vibrant and diverse performance work with companies such as St Martins Youth Arts, Arts Access Victoria, Melton City Council, Western Edge and Platform Youth Theatre. She is a lead artist for NBNW, Playback West and AAWE Collective which received the 2014 MIRA award for best inclusive arts group. Joana’s training includes a Post Graduate Certificate in Arts and Social Engagement (VCA), BA Drama & Theatre (La Trobe), extensive acting training with Robert Draffin and Mary Sitarenos (Liminal Theatre Company), Leonid Verzub (Moscow Art Theatre) and writing mentorships with acclaimed writers Christos Tsiolkas (The Slap) and Jenny Kemp (Still Angela). Joana is a published author and in 2008 worked under mentor Christos Tsiolkas to write and perform in the stage production of Waking In Angola (La Mama).

  • Support Artists

    • Rex Letoa Paget

      Rex Letoa Paget

      Rex Letoa Paget is a Sāmoan/Danish crafter of words born in Aotearoa, now living on the unceded lands of the Wurundjeri people. A keen observer of the world around him as well as the world inside of him, his poetry and storytelling are his compass through space and time as he journeys through themes of loss, grief, and shame that have been learned growing up in a colonial society as part of the Pasifika diaspora. His works are giftings from his ancestors and have been published in Tupuranga Journal Issue 1 and 2, Stasis journal Issue 2, Te Tangi A Te Ruru, Aunties Magazine, Overcomm Zine, and No Other Place to Stand – A Climate Change Anthology. His first collection of poetry titled Manuali’i is set to be published by Saufo’i publishing press in late 2023. His offerings are lessons, learnings, and acknowledgments for the timelines and traditions of yesterday, today and tomorrow. When he’s not weaving words you can find him on the freethrow line, making a mess in the kitchen, and admiring your dog.

    • Elijah Logo

      Elijah Logo

    • Saga Fesolai

      Saga Fesolai

      Saga lives in Melbourne. Her journey with Western Edge began in 2018, when she played the lead role in the school production of King Lear, as part of Western Edge’s In-School Residency programme. Since then, she has been part of a number of productions in the West, including The Watching (2019). Saga has yet to work out where she’s headed in the future, but she enjoys spending time with her “Western Edge family”, and is excited for the experience (and fun!) of being a Support Artist.

    • Milana Markovic-Matovic

      Milana Markovic-Matovic

      Milana has performed at the Melbourne Theatre Company’s Southbank Theatre in The Master and MargaritaAlmost Maine, and Fess up! These performances happened throughout her full-time studies in Theatre Arts (Acting) at Victorian College Of The Arts Secondary School, graduating in 2021. In 2022, Milana was a part of the touring Edge Ensembles show Distortion as the evil witch rogue Monica Thorne. Milana has been in short films and ongoing screen work; she is also interested in and has been involved in making films. She has completed courses for screen and stage at NIDA, acting classes at the National Theatre Melbourne, and has been in several other shows throughout her youth (Coriolanus, After Kafka, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe).

    • An Dang

      An Dang

      An is an actor, dancer and singer with a background in circus, where she trained with the National Circus of Vietnam as a contortionist. An has a passion for both theatre and film and is currently training at Melbourne Actor’s Lab and Melbourne Teen Actors, while also studying languages at university. Her recent credits include a sold out season of The Mermaid at La Mama Theatre and an originating role in Under the Influence the Musical.

    • Kuda Mapeza

      Kuda Mapeza

      Multi-disciplinary artist Kuda Mapeza has been sharpening her craft for the past several years. With a deep verve for the cultural necessity of storytelling, the limit does not exist for an actor, vocalist, performer and musician of her curiosity.  

      Through her work acquiring the John Bell Scholarship, acting in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and creating musical accompaniment for shake n stir’s Macbeth, gaining mentorship through Darebin Arts, along with other projects, Kuda Mapeza’s artistic skill is rich in both range and depth. 

    • Patience Pyne

      Patience Pyne

    • Sarah Iman

      Sarah Iman

      Sarah is a writer, woman and lover of people. She is a believer in the transformative powers of art and its ability to deeply connect us all. Her work is inspired by stories that capture the human experience, particularly with a social and political undertone. School is where she discovered and fell in love with literature and drama. From a young age, writing was an instrument for Sarah to transmute her experiences growing up into self-healing. The young writer has always found a deep connection to the arts and people, and hopes to continue championing others in their own journeys to sharing their stories

    • Betiel Beyin

      Betiel Beyin

      Betiel Beyin is an Eritrean creative based in Melbourne, who works on digital and theatre spaces, from being a runner on set to performer, writer, and filmmaker. She joined Western Edge’s Wyndham Edge in 2018 and has since co-written and performed in three Western Edge productions, The Retreat, The Watching, and Tig, earning her a residency with Phoenix Youth Centre and mentorship with Candy Bowers. Her creative practice has previously received support through SIGNAL Arts and Cinespace’s Writers’ Room workshop facilitated by Jane Allen. Betiel is a recent film graduate from RMIT University, where she created two short films: Triangle of Opportunities and The Rise and Fall of Bobby Maz, which was screened at the Swamp Cinema Festival. Betiel is the co-creator and co-writer of IGTV comedy mini-series, Lil CEEBS, which is currently being developed into a web series CEEBS with support from SBS Digital Originals and ABC iView’s Pitch-O-Rama.

    • Kiril Stamenkov

      Kiril Stamenkov

      Kiril is a dedicated performer, writer and aspiring director who was born and raised in Macedonia. He moved to Australia in 2010 and found his passion for acting after performing in high school plays. Kiril attended acting classes at Mooregrace Acting Studio in Geelong and later attained a diploma in Film and TV Production at JMC Academy in 2017. In 2018, Kiril joined Western Edge’s Geelong Edge ensemble. He played Haemon in Antigone and co-wrote and performed in North Geelong Edge’s original comedy piece Share House to a full house at Courthouse Youth Arts. As a Western Edge Support Artist in 2022, Kiril helped to facilitate the Edge Ensembles program and the original production of Distortion.

       

    • Leigh Lule

      Leigh Lule

      Leigh Lule is a Ugandan-Australian actress, writer, and aspiring director based in Naarm/Melbourne. She is currently studying journalism at Deakin University, where she filmed and produced Don’t Call Me Cynthia, a documentary exploring Eurocentric assimilation. She joined Western Edge in 2018, writing and performing theatre works as a member of the Sub30 Collective, including The Retreat, The Watching, and Tig. As a Western Edge Support Artist, she also assists in the devising and delivery of drama programs to high schools throughout Melbourne’s western suburbs. Leigh is the co-creator and co-writer of IGTV mini-series, Lil CEEBS, a prequel to upcoming web series, CEEBS, which received developmental support from SBS Digital Originals and ABC iView’s Pitch-O-Rama. After assistant-directing Liv Satchell’s let bleeding girls lie, which is representing Australia at the 12th Women Playwrights International conference, she will continue working with Satchell on The Grief Trilogy at La Mama Theatre in 2023.

    • Michael Logo

      Michael Logo

      Michael Logo is a proud Samoan actor working across stage and screen. He was born in Auckland and raised in Victoria. Michael trained at Verve Studios and John Bolton Theatre School. He became involved with Western Edge as an actor and Support Artist. He has performed in Western Edge’s productions The Retreat, The Watching, Lele, Butterfly, and worked on the script for Hamlet, translating sections into Samoan language. He was a key creative working on the expanded Lele, Butterfly creative development. Michael has performed in Playlist Live (Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre), First Stage (Melbourne Theatre Company), and David Wood’s production of This (RISING). He was featured in short film Eli the Invincible (SBS). Michael’s recent screen credits include Paper Champions (Netflix), Why Are You Like This, Love Me, and Colin from Accounts (Binge).

    • Yaw Dadzie

      Yaw Dadzie

      Inspired by his heritage and an intrinsic love for creativity, Yaw Dadzie’s passion for artistic expression spans theatre, music, film, and beyond. As an actor, Yaw has been involved in professional and community theatre projects since 2009, with notable performances Iago and Caliban at The Malthouse and AMKA at Arts Centre Melbourne. Yaw is currently immersing himself in the world of film production and working on multiple film projects. Performing under the moniker Yaw Faso, his career in music has seen him receive honorary nominations for Best Reggae and Dancehall Act at the Music Victoria Awards 2018 and 2019, and collaborate with an array of local and international artists and producers, namely Djay W, MC IG., and Machinedrum. As an active local performer, Yaw has also appeared at festivals and events across Australia, and supported artists such as Kranium, Nasty C, Konshens, Jose Chameleone, and Baker Boy.

  • Core Team

    • Georgina Naidu

      Executive Director and Co-CEO

      Georgina Naidu

      Executive Director and Co-CEO

      Georgina Naidu has worked in the arts for over 25 years. She is a passionate advocate for a just, inclusive, safe, collaborative, and joyful arts industry. Georgina has worked across theatre and screen as an actor, devisor, writer, script editor, researcher, dramaturg, and cultural consultant. Georgina is also a musician and acting lecturer at the VCA. The focus of Georgina’s work has been culture, belonging, social justice and giving a voice to the marginalised. Georgina has been committed to changing the culture of the arts industry, through her arts practice, her teaching, as a spokesperson, consultant, and activist. She is passionate about supporting and empowering young people, particularly those from marginalised communities. She has sought opportunities to work with young people since entering the industry in the mid 90’s.

    • Aïsha Trambas

      CREATIVE PRODUCER

      Aïsha Trambas

      CREATIVE PRODUCER

      Aïsha Trambas is a poet, facilitator and arts worker based on sovereign Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung lands. Her passion is to create and be part of experiences that nurture understanding of self and others through honest, creative expression, and mutual learning.

      As an independent creative, Aïsha has worked on a range of projects across zine-making, spoken word performance, exhibition curation and event production with Wyndham Art Gallery, Community Reading Room, Next in Colour, Dancehouse, Melbourne Writers’ Festival, FCAC, Yirramboi Festival, Brimbank Council and more. In 2022, her poetry was published by Freemantle and Djed Press in Unlimited Futures, an anthology of Bla(c)k speculative fiction.

      As a programmer and producer, Aïsha is especially passionate about working with young and emerging artists. She has served as Program Coordinator of the 2019 Emerging Writers’ Festival, Co-Producer of Picture This! Weekend by the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, and Creative Producer at SIGNAL youth arts studio.

    • Joanna Lee

      MARKETING MANAGER

      Joanna Lee

      MARKETING MANAGER

      Joanna (she/they) is a Taiwanese-Australian writer, translator and arts worker. Before Western Edge, Joanna was based in her hometown of Taipei, where she freelanced as a journalist, copywriter, teacher and Chinese-to-English translator, specialising in exhibition texts and art publications. In 2022, she translated the book “Tropical Reading: Photobook and Self-Publishing” by Fotobook DUMMIES Day. As a marketer in the arts sector, they previously worked at Melbourne Writers Festival and the Museum of Chinese Australian History. In their spare time, Joanna hoards second-hand clothing, writes essays about Asia and makes/finds/eats really good sandwiches.

    • Reis Low, Operations Coordinator

      Reis Low

      Operations Coordinator
      Reis Low, Operations Coordinator

      Reis Low

      Operations Coordinator

      Reis Low (they/them) is an arts manager and maker with a background in theatre and dance. Previous credits include producing Infinite Affection by Luke Macaronas, stage managing Hydra by Double Water Sign, choreographing for Low Frequency by Sodi Murphy-Shrives, and interning at La Mama. When not at Western Edge, they can be found production managing Wit Incorporated’s Dear Mama, There’s Something Maybe I Should Tell You…, being a Union House Theatre (UHT) Peer Mentor, developing new work with Dirty Laundry Collective, or catching up with loved ones and art in Singapore and Malaysia. Come chat with Reis about your quietest ideas and wildest dreams over a cup of tea.

    • Kim Williamson

      Development Manager

      Kim Williamson

      Development Manager

      Kim Suree Williamson is a Thai-Australian arts worker and grant writer, with a varied background in the music industry, business, marketing, international development and disaster management.

      Kim is passionate about working with artists from diverse backgrounds. She has an extensive track record of supporting creatives to excel at their practice, through grant writing, creative strategy, sustainable business practice and artist development.

      She runs the Digikillaz record label, is an alumni of the Seed Fund artist management workshops and participated in the inaugural AIR Women In Music Program. She is the co-founder of Melbourne independent creative agency Melbourne Minute, which champions local independent musicians and collectives

    • Amarachi Okorom

      Artistic Associate

      Amarachi Okorom

      Artistic Associate

      Amarachi Okorom is an Igbo Nigerian-born actor, spoken word poet and playwright, who grew up in Auckland and is now based in Naarm/Melbourne. Amarachi joined Western Edge in 2017, performing in Caliban as part of the Edge Ensemble. Recent acting credits include This (RISING), Burning Love (Playlist Live), The Human Voice, A Disorganised Zoom Reading of Contagion, the audio play Watching (Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre), Seers (Playlist Live), The Watching with Western Edge, and Future Echoes: Edge Ensemble at Arts Centre Melbourne. She also appeared on ABC Melbourne as part of the Homespun storytelling gala. As a critically acclaimed emerging playwright, Amarachi was shortlisted for the 2021 Griffin Award. In 2021, she was selected for Melbourne Theatre Company’s First Stage program, Australian Theatre for Young People’s National Studio program, and Malthouse Theatre’s Besen Writers Group. She is currently a participating writer in Theatre Works’ She Writes Collective.

    • Tennessee Lavelle

      Artistic Associate

      Tennessee Lavelle

      Artistic Associate

      Tennessee is a theatre maker and artistic leader whose practice is rooted in decolonial and intersectional ways of working. By using co-design, consultation, collaboration and deep listening, they work to build and support community through process-driven rather than outcome-driven ways of working.

      Their career has especially centred young people as creative leaders and they passionately facilitate intergenerational conversations and creative projects that carve out spaces where children and teens can speak openly and shape their own futures. This idea that young people should be afforded the opportunity to lead and make decisions impacting them and their peers is a core tenet of Tennessee’s work.

      They have a breadth of experience carrying out this work across different facets of the arts industry, as a freelancer on The Mermaid (La Mama 2021) and We All Know What’s Happening (Vitalstatistix, 2019) and with companies including Melbourne Fringe, The Village Festival, Footscray Community Arts Centre, St. Martins Youth Arts, and These Are The Projects We Do Together.

      When they’re not facilitating theatre projects you can often find Tennessee in the kitchen rolling out pasta dough or baking bread.

    • Chanella Macri

      Co-Artistic Director and Co-CEO

      Chanella Macri

      Co-Artistic Director and Co-CEO

      Chanella is aactor, writer and theatre-maker from the Blue Mountains, Sydney. She is a second-generation Samoan-Italian immigrant whose practice centers on body, family, loss and the intersection of cultural identity and gender. 

      Graduating from the VCA in 2017 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Practice, the Patricia Kennedy Award and as Valedictorian of the University of Melbourne VCA and MCM. In 2019 she received two Green Room Award nominations for Performer and Ensemble in Independent Theatre (Moral Panic). 

      Theatre credits include; Still Haven’t Found What I’m Cooking For (dir. Hannah Fallowfield), Australian Realness (dir. Janice Muller) for Malthouse Theatre, Whale (dir. Katrina Cornwell) for Darebin Speakeasy, Truly Madly Britney (dir. Hannah Fallowfield) for Theatre Works, Moral Panic (dir. Bridget Balodis), Red Stitch’s Suddenly Last Summer (dir. Stephen Nicolazzo), La Mama’s Crazy Brave (dir. Melanie Beddie), Speak of the Devil (self-devised) for Melbourne Fringe 2017 and Adelaide Fringe 2018, La Mama’s Woman with a Tomahawk (dir. Iris Gaillard). 

       In 2019 she co-directed Western Edge’s The Watching and wrote, You May Not Rest Now There Are Monsters Nearby (She is Vigilante, dir. Bridget Balodis and Krystalla Pearce) which won a 2020 Green Room Award for Independent Theatre Performer (Lucy Ansell). 

       Chanella is a member of New Working Group and Red Stitch Actors’ Ensemble. 

    • John Marc Desengano, co-Artistic Director

      John Marc Desengano

      Co-Artistic Director and Co-CEO
      John Marc Desengano, co-Artistic Director

      John Marc Desengano

      Co-Artistic Director and Co-CEO

      John Marc Desengano is a Filipino-Australian actor, theatre-maker and educator based in Melbourne’s western suburbs.

      Upon graduating from The University of Ballarat, Arts Academy acting course in 2008, John Marc performed for a Theatre in Education Company called Brainstorm Productions taking thought provoking shows to primary and high schools all over Australia.

      His five years with Brainstorm Productions fostered a respect and appreciation for young people which spurred him to enrol in the Masters of Primary Teaching course at the University of Melbourne. Graduating in 2015, John Marc works as a Casual Relief Teacher in various primary schools all over Melbourne.

      John Marc’s passion for working with young people has led him to working with leading Youth Theatre companies Western Edge and St. Martin’s Youth Theatre as a teaching and lead artist. John Marc is also a happy member of Polyglot Theatre, performing in installations such as Paper Planet and Boats. His experience as an educator has seen him develop and lead education and drama workshops for the Malthouse and various Secondary schools around Melbourne. In 2022, he will also teach for the VCA and Federation University.

      As an actor, John Marc’s stage credits include; The Yellow Wave, Love Bird, The Bachelor S17 E05, Survival, Enlightenment, Just A Boy Standing in Front of a Girl, A Midnight Visit, and many more. He also performed in The Dead Twin, written by Chi Vu, at the Georgetown Festival in Malaysia. His television credits include; Rush, Back in Very Small Business, Playing for Keeps, Lie With Me, and others.

      John Marc is a proud company member of Impro Melbourne and Soothplayers: Completely Improvised Shakespeare.

  • Board

    • Liss Gabb headshot

      Liss Gabb

      Board member
      Liss Gabb headshot

      Liss Gabb

      Board member

      Liss Gabb has worked as a specialist community development practitioner, arts manager, creative producer and educator in the fields of community development, social connection and mental wellbeing, participatory arts and social justice. Liss has worked in Naarm (Melbourne) for the past 25 years and has developed a socially engaged practice that is focused on anti-oppressive models of partnership with communities that experience structural discrimination.  

      Liss currently holds the position of Manager Social Connection and Mental Wellbeing at VicHealth. The key focus of Liss’s work in the Future Healthy Group at VicHealth is on equity focused models of youth engagement in the arts. Prior to joining VicHealth Liss has worked in local government, community health, and a range of arts organisations. Liss has extensive experience in the design and delivery of social connection and mental wellbeing programs in partnership with young people. She holds qualifications in Early Childhood Education, Drama in Education and has a Master of Arts – Art in Public Space from RMIT University. Liss’s Masters research focused on the ways that art made by and with communities, can tell stories that can shift perceptions to build empathy in public spaces.   

      Liss has extensive experience in supporting and mentoring young creative leaders and holds a strong commitment to creating pipelines for young people with diverse lived experience, to become decision makers in the arts and health sectors 

    • Veronica Pardo

      Chair

      Veronica Pardo

      Chair

      Veronica Pardo has been leading the work on cultural equity in Australia for more than 15 years, heading peak organisations such as Arts Access Victoria and Multicultural Arts Victoria. Veronica has worked with more than 150 cultural organisations, focusing on issues such as racial equity and justice, cultural safety, diversity and inclusion

    • Anushka Wijendra

      Deputy Chair

      Anushka Wijendra

      Deputy Chair

      Anushka is a digital leader, with a focus on building high performing teams. She has worked in the technology industry for over 15 years and managed teams across the globe.  

      Anushka is currently the Chief Operating Officer for MessageMedia. She has previously held a number of leadership roles across REA Group, Microsoft and Optus across a breadth of functions: product, pricing, business model strategy, marketing, commercial management, governance and operations. 

      Anushka was born in Sri Lanka during a civil war. Having migrated to Australia with her family when she was four, it instilled in her a desire to use the advantages afforded to her to help tackle inequality for other young people. She is now a Board Director for Social Venture Partners in Melbourne which is an organisation which helps NFP’s focused on creating fulfilling work and lives for young people who have experienced disadvantage.  

      Anushka earned a Bachelor of Laws / Bachelor of Commerce (Hons) degree from Deakin University and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. 

    • Mario Agostinoni

      Treasurer

      Mario Agostinoni

      Treasurer

      Mario was the Finance Manager at Malthouse Theatre for 20 years, starting when the company was the Playbox. Mario was a theatre maker in Italy before arriving in Melbourne. He brings a wealth of experience as a board member, having also sat on the Board at Arena Theatre Company and Polyglot.

    • Kiera Moloney headshot

      Kiera Moloney

      secretary
      Kiera Moloney headshot

      Kiera Moloney

      secretary

      Kiera is a specialised philanthropy consultant with a strong focus on governance, strategy and compliance. She has experience in supporting family foundations, not-for-profits, and corporate philanthropy. Kiera previously held positions at The Myer Family Company and Mutual Trust, providing strategic philanthropy advisory to high net worth families. Kiera is currently the Australian programs grant manager at Gandel Foundation.  Most importantly, Kiera is passionate about how structured giving can provide benefit to our community and address the structural disadvantages experienced by our young people.