GORKEM ACAROGLU – Director
Gorkem Acaroglu is a theatre maker with over twenty years experience in bringing new works to the stage, including devised theatre and adaptation. She’s passionate about work that tests the borders of traditional form and content. She has directed premieres with writers in the room, such as The Devil’s Dictionary by Helen Heritage; Mr Saigon, Ms Hanoi by Dominic Golding; Haneef The Interrogation by Graham Pitts; Silence by Hoa Pham; See How the Leaf People Run and Moths by Michele Lee; The Maya Project by Amy Dobson; Silence Between the Tracks by Anna Barnes; and Yet to Ascertain the Nature of the Crime by Roanna Gonsalves, Raimondo Cortese, Damian Miller and Company. She is Creative Director of The 24 Hour Experience – a living documentary through the hidden perspectives of place, which premiered in Melbourne.
Gorkem established a youth theatre company in Sydney in the late 90s, which she ran for four years, and moved on to establish a youth theatre company for Ashfield Council. Recently she conceived and directed The Colour White, a new work for upper high school students, with Westside Circus. She has written five of her own stage plays since graduating from the NIDA Playwrights studio.
SUE JOHNSON – Composer / Musical Director
Sue Johnson has a 30-year career composing, performing and teaching outstanding Australian music for adults and children. She was Composer and Musical Director of the innovative family show Still Awake Still!, which premiered at Arts Centre Melbourne, and toured the USA and Australia in 2014. The show was devised around Sue’s songs from the book & CD I’m Still Awake, Still!, created in collaboration with author/illustrator Elizabeth Honey.
Sue co-founded the award-winning vocal & percussion ensemble, Coco’s Lunch, receiving 2 ARIA nominations for CDs Blueprint and children’s CD Rat Trap Snap. Other CDs for children: Wally Wombat Shuffle, and I Wanna Be A Mermaid. Coco’s shows include sell-out seasons for their Baby Proms children’s concerts at Sydney Opera House, and a long involvement with Musica Viva In-Schools program. Sue has composed music for children’s TV (Playhouse Disney), storybooks, events and choirs internationally. Originally trained as a pianist, Sue lectured in musical improvisation at the Victorian College of the Arts for over a decade.
ELIZABETH HONEY – Writer / Lyricist
Elizabeth is best known as a versatile writer and artist of picture books, poetry, novels and songs for young children, and plays and film scripts. Her books have won many literary awards, been published in several languages, and adapted for the stage. Her picture book That’s not a daffodil! was a Children’s Book Council of Australia Honour Book Award winner in 2012. Her play Mr Bleak and the Etryop, written for Melbourne Comedy Festival 2007, toured with Regional Arts Victoria, 2008.
Elizabeth worked closely on Jump Leads Productions’ first show, Still Awake Still!, contributing to the creative development, supporting the 2014 USA tour and IPAY presentation, and delivering workshops and talks for community engagement at many venues on the Australian national tour. Her song All the Wild Wonders, written with Sue Johnson, was nominated for a 2013 APRA music award.
KATHERINE BRANCH - Designer
Katherine Branch is a passionate and imaginative creative with a strong design aesthetic. Her hands-on, can-do attitude lends itself to delivering independently or as part of a creative team. With a masters in theatre design from the VCA, she has created set, costume and puppet designs for a wide range of theatre, festival and community projects, including The Colour Glass (La Mama), Eavesdropping Project (St Martins Theatre), 3 Dog Night (Adelaide Festival Centre), Noye’s Flood (Victorian Opera), Big West Festival 2011, Are You Lonesome Tonight (SPARC Theatre) and Kids Thrive. She has worked scenic artist and props and puppet maker for the Australian Ballet, Opera Australia, Victorian Opera, National Institute of Circus Arts. Katherine is also a painter and print-maker, and a designer of floral and fashion installations.
SHANE GRANT – Lighting Designer
Shane Grant is an accomplished lighting designer having worked extensively with companies such as Ranters Theatre, The Torch Project, Not Yet It’s Difficult, and many others. With a BA Dramatic Arts (Production) Victorian College of the Arts, Shane was previously Production Manager with Strange Fruit, and Technical Manager at Gasworks Theatre. He is currently the Audio Visual Technician for St Kevin’s College, and a core member of the team at Metanoia Theatre.
ANDI SNELLING – Performer
Andi Snelling is a Melbourne-based performer with a special talent for physical comedy. She has been on stage her entire life, having grown up as a dancer competing at national level, as well as being 3x Australian Junior Aerobics Champion. After language and theatre studies in Melbourne she did a Masters in Performance at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and trained in Meisner Technique at The Actor’s Temple, in London.
Her career highlights include playing Edith in Picnic at Hanging Rock (BBC), Svetlana in The Common Good (Roundhouse, London), Ellien in Gleisdreieck (2006 Cannes Film Festival finalist), Odysseus/maid in The Penelopiad (one of Timeout’s Top Ten Best Theatre Shows of 2013), and her critically-acclaimed, sell-out solo shows #DearDiary and Déjà Vu (And Other Forms of Knowing). Andi enjoys being a Presenter at the Royal Melbourne Zoo (where she can be seen holding lizards and sharing obscure animal facts) and as an Educator/Performer inspiring children about sustainability at Banyule City Council’s Rethink Education Centre. Her other great love is improvisation, and she’s is a proud member of The Big Hoo-Haa Melbourne comedy group.
CELAL PERK – Performer
Celal Perk is an actor, director, writer and drama teacher, recently arrived in Australia, with broad experience in children’s theatre. As a child he loved performance, and had his first role on radio at the age of 8. After professional training at the University of Istanbul National Conservatoire, he performed extensively in theatre, film and TV in Turkey, including a one-man show, Tales from Nasreddin Hodja, plays such as Kvetch by Steven Berkoff (for which he won Best Young Actor Award), and international co-productions such as Lola & Bilidikid (Turkish Cinema Critics’ Best Supporting Actor Award). In London and Istanbul he ran drama and story-telling workshops in schools and community centres, and he continues this work in Melbourne. He values children’s really pure enjoyment of playing, which is the essence of acting, and believes that children’s theatre is most important for the future of humanity.
ROSALIND PRICE – Producer
Rosalind Price is a founding director of Swingbridge Arts, and a producer for the company’s theatre unit, Jump Leads Productions. She co-produced the music theatre work Still Awake Still!, which premiered at Arts Centre Melbourne 2011 and toured the USA and Australia 2014. Swingbridge Arts is a non-profit company with DGR status, registered with the ACNC and listed on the Register of Cultural Organisations.
Rosalind is also a visual artist and publishing consultant specialising in works for young people. In her 30-year career as a Children’s Publisher with Allen & Unwin her list was acclaimed for its quality, innovation and commercial success. She is known for building a dedicated team and cultivating a dynamic, collaborative ethos. She published a broad range of classics, including Alison Lester’s much-loved picture books Imagine and Magic Beach, series such as Tashi by Anna Fienberg & Kim Gamble, Fox by Margaret Wild & Ron Brooks, Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan, many adapted for theatre. She received the 2005 Pixie O'Harris Award for 'distinguished and dedicated service to the development and reputation of Australian children's books'.