We’re delighted to announce the six talented artists with disability accessing professional mentorships through our 2023 NEXT LEVEL Creative Mentorship program:
Christopher Bryant, Sarah Carroll, Jennifer Hankin, Zac Misfud, Dr Laura (Amara) Osweiler and Grace Valerie-Lynette will each receive a mentorship within a leading performing arts organisation and $3000 in project funding to develop an innovative new project.
Each of the selected artists will receive up to 20 hours of one-to-one support through our partnering organisations. This exciting program will involve assessing their ideas, developing concept briefs, drafting a detailed project outlines and assistance with securing pitch meetings with relevant companies, venues, artistic directors and/or producers.
“We’re so excited about this new program and the valuable opportunities it provides for artists with disability,” says Accessible Arts CEO Liz Martin. “We’re delighted to be partnering with leading performing arts organisations to facilitate these mentorships and can’t wait to see how each of these talented artists takes their projects to the Next Level!”
The Next Level Creative Mentorship Program will be undertaken and completed between May and August 2023.
NEXT LEVEL Creative Mentorship Participants
Christopher Bryant – Merrigong Theatre Company
Christopher Bryant is an award winning playwright, performer, and academic. He has worked with a range of companies including fortyfivedownstairs, Malthouse Theatre, the State Library of Victoria, Wheeler Centre, ATYP, La Mama, and the Emerging Writer’s Festival. Recent work includes his “brilliantly engrossing” show ‘New Balance’ (Suzy Wrong 2023) and the “coup of pop culture [and] social satire” ‘Home Invasion’ in 2018 (The Buzz from Sydney). He has taught with tertiary institutions around the country and completed his Ph.D. in playwriting and disability at Monash University, under the supervision of Jane Montgomery Griffiths.
Sarah Carroll – Penrith Performing & Visual Arts
Sarah Carroll (she/they) is an award winning Pasifika queer and neurodiverse writer, performer and producer working on Dharug Land. Sarah has two successful one woman shows under her belt, ‘Cherry’ (Sydney Fringe Award Winners) and ‘Unkissed’ (Developed with Shopfront – ArtsLab). They also run their own production company Sour Cherry Productions and have participated in the AFTRS Talent Camp and Midsumma Pathways. Sarah’s writing work has been published with ACON (Stories Out West) and The Writing Zone as part of the Western Sydney University Writing and Society Research Centre. Sarah strives to champion for underrepresented voices to be heard and create works that uplift and engage audiences in new and exciting ways – usually with lots of sparkle and sass.
Jennifer Hankin (The Emerald Ruby) – Musica Viva
Soulful vocals caress a gentle ukulele, stitched together with a lilting flute, to create the sonic palette of the multidisciplinary artist The Emerald Ruby. From her home base in Mulubinba NSW (Newcastle), she propagates an eclectic and prolific practice encompassing sound, visual, camera, fashion and literary arts. The Emerald Ruby’s artistic exploits often explore her experiences moving through the world as a late-diagnosed autistic human.
A kaleidoscope of influences nourishes every performance from this multi-genre powerhouse. The hazy virtuosity of 18th-century French flute music, the chaotic abstractions of a moonlit jazz jam, and trading traditional jigs and reels at a folk session interweave with a decade of recording and journeying with music across the east coast of Australia. Most recently, she was commissioned by the ABC to write a collection of flute duets about finding beauty amongst the red tape that governs her life as a disabled artist.
Zac Mifsud – Northern Rivers Performing Arts
Zac Mifsud is a multi-disciplinary artist. He is a performer, dancer and musician. Zac’s dance projects include ‘Things Impossible’ and ‘Dwell: A Triple Bill’. As a member of Tralala Blip, a mixed ensemble electronic band, he has performed nationally and internationally, including the Unsound Music Festival in Poland and a residency at ZKM in Karlsruhe Germany. Other performances include ‘My Radio Heart’ and ‘The French Cafe’. He is a member of the Sprung! Integrated Dance Ensemble and has participated in residencies and workshops with Bundanon Trust, Back to Back Theatre, NOPRPA and Placemakers.
Dr Laura (Amara) Osweiler – Sydney Dance Company
Dr. Laura (Amara) Osweiler is a dancer, choreographer, teacher, producer and scholar from the USA now in Sydney, Cammeraygal country. In her Contemporary Middle Eastern dance, Laura interweaves dance, movement, film, music, audio description and health and employs communication technologies to support access and engage with audiences in different locations. As a Classic American belly dancer and MENAHT folk dancer, she has performed internationally as a soloist and with her dance company Ya Helewa! Laura has taught accredited university courses, regularly teaches workshops and online and produces dance concerts and festivals. Laura holds a PhD in Dance History and Theory from UC Riverside and a BA in Music History and Literature and a certificate in Ethnomusicology from The Florida State University and worked on an MA in Dance Ethnography and MFA in Dance Performance at UCLA.
Grace Valerie-Lynette – Sydney Opera House
Grace Valerie-Lynette is a queer contemporary writer who specialises in musicals and uses experimental formats to portray heightened emotional worlds. Her most recent musical podcast ‘Twinemies’ debuted in 2021, was an Apple official New and Noteworthy podcast, and won ‘Excellence in Creative Audio’ at the CBAA awards. Her latest work is a 10-minute musical short film titled ‘Girl Coded’ produced by Bus Stop Films, and features Heartbreak High star, Chloe Hayden. Some of Grace’s other accolades include being nominated for the Rising Star Award at the Australian Podcast Awards, and a fellowship at Varuna House through their Young Writers Studio Program.
Image description: Headshots of the 6 participants including Grace Valerie-Lynette, Christopher Bryant, Dr. Laura (Amara) Osweiler, Zac Mifsud, Sarah Carroll and Jennifer Hankin. Photo credits: Chris Laudermilk, Mansoor Noor and The Emerald Ruby.