We could not be more pleased to introduce the exceptional mentors and guest observers attending the BREC Artist Retreat at Donnelly River next weekend.
These accomplished individuals will generously share a wealth of experience and expertise in the performing arts with the 19 South West artists participating this year, greatly enriching their creative journeys.
Roslyn Oades | Mentor
Roslyn Oades is an award-winning Naarm-based theatremaker. She harbours an ongoing fascination with innovative forms of creative-nonfiction storytelling and received the 2019 Green Room Award for Technical Achievement in acknowledgement of pioneering body of documentary-theatre works. Roslyn’s productions have been commissioned by RISING, Malthouse, Sydney Festival, Belvoir, Utp, Windmill, Vitalstatistix, Hothouse and 2018 Commonwealth Games. Her original works for stage include: Hello, Goodbye & Happy Birthday, I’m Your Man, Creation Creation, Stories of Love & Hate, Fast Cars & Tractor Engines, Cutaway–A Portrait and the immersive work for children, In a Deep Dark Forest. Her site-responsive audio installations include: Cell 26, an audio work for a prison bed, Sea Stories, an audio work for sunrise and The Nightline (co-created with Bob Scott) an underground club for insomniacs commissioned by RISING 2021 and presented at Sydney Festival, Adelaide Festival and Bleach Festival in 2022. Her productions have toured widely and I’m Your Man was adapted into an online interactive documentary by SBS. A trilogy of Roslyn’s headphone-verbatim plays, titled Acts of Courage, is published through Currency Press.
She is the producer and host of Audiosketch Podcast (‘art dates with pioneering female/non-binary sound artists’) for Chamber Made and recently directed her first commercial audio-fiction podcast You Don’t Know Me for LiSTNR. Roslyn is a sought-after dramaturg, industry mentor and guest speaker in the field of contemporary documentary performance – and moonlights as a gun-for-hire voice artist on the side.
James Berlyn | Mentor
James Berlyn is a performing artist/maker of more than thirty-five years’ experience. Trained in dance at VCA in the 80s, he has worked in dance, dance-theatre, theatre and community art across the country as a performer, creator, director, curator and educator. As a performer, some of his more recent collaborations have been with Sue Healey and Company, Hydra Poesis, Matt Lutton & WA Opera and Maybe Together.
His award-winning one-on-one theatre work & installation Tawdry Heartburn’s Manic Cures (2009) has been seen at major festivals across the country including Perth International Arts Festival, Sydney Festival, Brisbane Festival, Ten Days On The Island, WOMAD, Enlighten and the Adelaide Cabaret Festival and internationally in North America, and South Africa. His latest one-man show I Know You’re There had a sold-out world premiere season at the 2016 Perth International Arts Festival. He has made numerous children’s work for WA’s Awesome Festival and PICA’s SparkLab program, which have also toured nationally. He was the recipient of a WA Department of the Arts & Culture’s Senior Arts Fellowship in 2014.
He is the instigator and co-founder of Proximity Festival, Australia’s first festival of one-on-one performance. He was a co-founding director of Tracksuit, WA’s adult disability performance group. James has been a guest lecturer at WAAPA in movement and devised performance since 1990, directing Memory Bones for the 2nd Year BPA students at His Majesty’s Theatre in 2016 and choreographing and directing Adaptitude for LINK Dance Company at WAAPA in 2021.
He was the Artistic Director of WA Youth Theatre Company, from 2017 until 2023, for whom he created and directed multi-award-winning works, including yourseven at the 2018 FRINGE WORLD festival, and REST in 2019 which was the “stand out hit of the Fringe” and also the most awarded production in FRINGEWORLD’s history, snagging five awards including best Theatre Award and the Martin Sims award and a national award at the Australian Museums and Galleries Awards 2019. He made the highly regarded sold-out commission BESIDE for Perth FESTIVAL in 2021, and co-wrote and directed ARCO, WAYTCo’s solo show featuring Australia Council Arts and Disability Mentorship recipient Adam Kelly to wide acclaim picking up local awards in Western Australia and an award at London’s FUSE Festival in 2023. James co-created Seven Sisters at Perth Festival 2023.
James was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award for 2021.
Kate Sulan | Mentor
Kate Sulan is a performance maker, director, dramaturge and facilitator. Kate was the founding Artistic Director of Rawcus, an award winning Theatre Company of performers with diverse minds, bodies and imaginations and led the company for 22 years (2000-2022). Her work has been described as “a moving assertion of humanity with a wicked sense of humour.” Kate is also a long-term collaborator with Back to Back. She has worked with the company as a co-devisor, dramaturge and director. Kate was one of the team of artists working on the multiyear Refuge project at Arts House between 2016 and 2021.
Refuge explored the role of artists and cultural institutions in times of climate catastrophe, bringing together emergency management, artists, the community and local, regional and international partners. In 2018, Kate completed an Advanced Diploma in Group Facilitation and has been helping to hold space and facilitate complex and challenging conversations with care and creativity. Kate’s work embraces complexity and diversity and is underpinned by the desire to amplify connection, fuel dreams, accumulate questions, slow down time, invite reflection, challenge what is possible and celebrate humanity.
Will O’Mahony | Mentor
Will O’Mahony is an award-winning actor, writer and director based in Perth, Western Australia. Acting credits for Black Swan include: Things I know to Be True; Oil; The Tempest; Assassins; Hir; Angels in America, Part One; Glengarry Glen Ross; Flood; Twelfth Night; Pool (no water); and The Dark Room. He has written six plays, with both Tonsils+Tweezers (2016) and Coma Land( 2017) receiving mainstage presentation at the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia.
Will led ATYP’s Fresh Ink program as a mentor to emerging WA playwrights for five years, and teaches acting, playwriting and directing at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. He leads a text based narrative practice that explores the timeless through the now, forever aiming to disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed.
Awards: 2018 PAWA Best Supporting Actor for Assassins; 2017 PAWA Best New Work for Coma Land; 2015 Black Swan Emerging Writer’s Award for Tonsils+Tweezers; 2014 PAWA Best New Script and Member’s Choice Blue Room Theatre Award for Great White; 2012 Equity Award Best Supporting Actor for Red. Plays: Great White (2013); The Mars Project (2015); Tonsils + Tweezers (2016); Coma Land (2017); Minneapolis (2021); 816 Celsius (tbc).
Doctor Lynette Narkle | Mentor
Doctor Lynette Narkle is a respected Elder, and professional actor and director of Indigenous theatre, film and television. She has been a pivotal force in theatre since the late 70s, starring in Jack Davis’ plays Kullark, The Dreamers, No Sugar, Our Town, and The Honey Spot. In 2004, she forged the role of Indigenous programs officer at Screenwest to increase the engagement of emerging Indigenous filmmakers and was the Associate Director at Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company from 2002-2006. Lynette was a Board Member of the Australia Council’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board from 2008-2010. She was also a Board Member of the Yirra Yaakin Aboriginal Corporation from 2003-2007 and a WA representative of the Australia Council’s Community Cultural Development Fund from 1996-1999. Her lifetime of work was recognised in 2017 when she received the Australia Council’s prestigious Red Ochre Award.
Her goal has been and still is, to empower up and coming Australian practitioners in all genres and use contemporary theatre, film and television to tell The True Australian Story. ‘Song lines and stories for over 60,000 years have held Australia’s history, now we can bring them from the past, in to the present and on to the future.’
Rachael Whitworth | Guest Observer
Rachael Whitworth joined the Perth Festival team as Head of Programming in August 2021. Trained at Victorian College of the Arts, Rachael began her professional career in 1992 as a classical dancer with West Australian Ballet before working as a contemporary dancer, teacher and choreographer with Buzz Dance Theatre and many independent choreographers. She then diversified her practice, performing and creating work with Spare Parts Puppet Theatre. In 2007, Rachael was Associate Producer for the 20th UNIMA Congress and World Puppetry Festival. She was an International Society of Performing Arts (ISPA) Fellow with the Australia Council Legacy program, attending four consecutive congresses in New York 2014-2017.
Rachael joined Performing Lines WA as a producer in 2011 and became senior producer in 2018. Rachael spearheaded Performing Lines WA’s Kolyang Creative hub initiative in 2020 and 2021 to support independent and culturally diverse artists. She also led her team to premiere four new WA works in the 2021 Festival. Black Brass, Children of the Sea, Galup and Slow Burn, Together were central to the success of the homegrown 2021 Festival program.
Jen Leys | Guest Observer
Jen commenced as Producer at Performing Lines in 2018. She works on projects with West Australian artists, including Mararo Wangai (Black Brass), Laura Boynes (Equations of a Falling Body), Emma Fishwick (Slow Burn, Together) and Katt Osborne & Tarryn Gill (UNHEIMLICH). She has led emerging producers’ initiatives for Performing Lines; Singapore Producers Platform (2018/19), Producer Lab (2020) and the Local Giants Regional Producers Platform (2022). Jen has worked for Shaun Parker & Company, FORM Dance Projects, Strut Dance, Black Swan State Theatre, PAC Australia and touring agency Askonas Holt Ltd (UK) representing Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, Companhia de Dança Deborah Colker and Bangarra Dance Theatre.
Jen seconded with Tokyo International Arts Festival, and LIFT Festival (UK) whilst completing an MA in Performance & Culture, Goldsmiths College. She specialised as an independent producer in creative development to presentation, touring and artist management services after receiving an Australia Council Independent Producers Grant (2012/13), enabling her to represent Australian contemporary performance makers including Narelle Benjamin, Rhiannon Newton, Alex Desebrock, Aimee Smith and Bianca Martin.
Project Partners & Acknowledgements
The BREC Artist Retreat is supported by the State Government of Western Australia through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.
The BREC Artist Retreat is supported by our First Nations Audience Development Partner Alcoa