Since 2005, the Besen Family Artist Program (BFAP) at Malthouse Theatre has provided workplace learning experiences for Australian theatre-makers. In 2017, the program continues with opportunities offered to early to mid-career artists who seek value in observing specific professional Malthouse Theatre productions and the ongoing artistic work of Malthouse Theatre, as well as being mentored by a company artist. Through the Besen Family Artist Program, Malthouse Theatre partners with the Besen Family Foundation to grow the next generation of innovative theatre-makers and cultural practitioners. The artists for the 2017 Besen Family Artist Program production placements have been selected as the result of an extensive open application process.
INTRODUCING OUR 2017 BESEN FAMILY ARTIST PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS
Directing Placement – The Homosexuals, Or ‘Faggots’ (Lee Lewis)
Charles O’Grady is a 22-year-old Sydney-based playwright, director, poet, and journalist, and a passionate queer activist. Charles’ focus is on representation of trans and gender-non-conforming identities in stage and screen, and engaging in work that challenges conventional representation of queerness and normalises intersectional queer experiences.
In late 2016 Charles took part in ATYP’s National Studio for emerging writers at Bundanon Trust, and his writing was included in the 2017 production of Intersection at ATYP. In 2017, his short work Are We Awake?, about the relationship between queerness and disability, was staged by Red Line Productions as part of the 2017 New Fitz Program. Charles is currently working with students at the Australian Institute of the Performing Arts (AIPA) on a play about trans youth.
Creative Producing & Theatre Making Placement – Professional Development (Toby Sullivan & Mark Pritchard)
Ian is a proud Noongar man from Western Australia.
A graduate from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Ian’s theatre credits include HART (She Said Theatre/Melbourne Fringe/New Zealand Fringe/Basement Theatre/Adelaide Fringe/Blue Room Theatre/Brisbane Festival); Yellamundie Festival (Mooghalin Performing Arts/Sydney Festival), The Kid (MTC), Blak Cabaret (Malthouse Theatre); Laika and Wills (She Said Theatre/Melbourne Fringe); Flashblacks, Northwest of Nowhere, Black Writers Lab (Ilbijerri Theatre Company); The New Black (The Arts Centre); Jandamarra (Bunuba Films); Waltzing the Wilarra, Muttacar-Sorry Business (Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company).
In 2013, Ian was awarded the Most Outstanding Indigenous Artist for his role as William in Laika and Wills at the Melbourne Fringe. In 2015, HART was awarded three Melbourne Fringe 2015 awards, including Best Emerging Indigenous Artist. In 2016, he received the Best Emerging Artist award at Adelaide Fringe for HART, following a Weekly Award-winning season at Tandanya, and was nominated for a Green Room Award for Best Independent Production.
Directing Placement – The Real and Imagined History of the Elephant Man (Matthew Lutton)
Kate Hood had a full career as an able-bodied actor, writer and director, which lasted for over twenty years. She performed for major theatres (Melbourne Theatre Company, State Theatre Company of South Australia, Hit Productions) and commercial production companies (Gordon Frost, Everyday Productions).
A decade ago, she became a wheelchair user, and began a new career as a disabled actor. Kate has recently formed the disability-led company, Raspberry Ripple Productions, as a way of dissolving the divide between the mainstream and disability arts sectors, and as a response to her passionate belief that new theatre needs to be made which articulates the relationships between disabled and non-disabled people. She now collaborates with others as director, mentor, and dramaturg and advocates strongly for performers with a disability, sitting on the board of Arts Access Victoria and Actors Equity's Diversity Committee as Deputy Chair.
Sound Design Placement – The Real and Imagined History of the Elephant Man (Jethro Woodward)
Tom is a Melbourne based composer and sound designer. He studied as a sound engineer at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music before moving to Melbourne in 2013. Since then Tom has garnered a formidable portfolio of work including Anti-Hamlet (New Working Group) and Penelope (Red Stitch). In 2016 Tom had the pleasure of collaborating with veteran sound designer Russell Goldsmith on The Mill on the Floss (OpticNerve Performance Group), Angus Cameron’s Bucks or Bag of D*cks (Bad Ducks Co.) and The Removalists (Baker’s Dozen Theatre Co.). Most recently Tom has taken on the role of sound designer and associate producer of the award-winning comedy CULL (The Very Good Looking Initiative).
Costume Design Placement – The Black Rider: Casting of the Magic Bullets (Zoe Atkinson)
Since graduating from VCA in 2007 as a Postgraduate Designer, Emily has worked as a freelance designer in Melbourne with Red Stitch Actors Theatre, Melbourne Opera, Complete Works Theatre Company, Melbourne Writers’ Theatre and on new works at La Mama, The Courthouse, Northcote Town Hall and Theatre Works including regional and national tours.
In 2016 Emily was selected as the first set and costume design candidate for Melbourne Theatre Company’s Women in Theatre program. Emily is currently undertaking a PhD focusing on costume for performance as a marker of Australia’s evolving national identity.