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Room for Dreaming - Collaborators

#1: Original Storytellers

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Shannon Ruska (Storyteller)

Shannon Ruska (Storyteller)

Shannon is a Welcome to Country and Australian Aboriginal cultural performer and creative producer. He has over 30 years experience in the arts and cultural sector. Establishing his base in Brisbane and servicing Gold Coast and surrounding regions on a daily basis, Shannon continues to give the gifts he was given (knowledge) to any who wish to learn about the most Ancient culture known to mankind.

Blaklash Creative

Blaklash Creative

Blaklash is a 100% Aboriginal owned creative agency that specialises in the development and delivery of exhibitions, events and bespoke creative projects. Blaklash curate experiences that connect people to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts, culture and stories. The core team members Troy Casey (Kamilaroi) and Amanda Hayman (Wakka Wakka, Kalkadoon) have extensive experience working in partnership with artists and creatives to develop community-celebrated projects.
Instagram: @blaklashcreative
Photo credit: Rhett Hammerton

Casey Coolwell-Fisher

Casey Coolwell-Fisher

Casey is a Quandamooka, Nunukul woman from Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) with links to Eulo and the Biri people of Bowen. Casey Coolwell is an Aboriginal artist and an established graphic designer. Casey is also the artist behind the popular home décor label CHABOO selling hand-painted designer bowls, plates and tableware.
Instagram: @chaboodesigns
Photo credit: LaVonne Bobongie

#2: First Nations Storytellers

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Blaklash Creative

Blaklash Creative

Blaklash is a 100% Aboriginal owned creative agency that specialises in the development and delivery of exhibitions, events and bespoke creative projects. Blaklash curate experiences that connect people to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts, culture and stories. The core team members Troy Casey (Kamilaroi) and Amanda Hayman (Wakka Wakka, Kalkadoon) have extensive experience working in partnership with artists and creatives to develop community-celebrated projects.
Instagram: @blaklashcreative
Photo credit: Rhett Hammerton

Aurora Liddle-Christie

Aurora Liddle-Christie

Aurora Liddle-Christie is a multidisciplinary artist with Arrernte, Jamaican, and Gaelic heritage. In 2017 Aurora graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Drama from Queensland University of Technology. Her practice draws on the experience of People of Colour and Australia’s First Nations Peoples at the intersection of community, activism, spirituality and connection to country. She explores this through theatre making, spoken word, playwriting, singing and songwriting.
Instagram: @encyclopedia_of_aurora
Photo credit: Elka Mai

Kimberly Engwicht (Video Titles)

Kimberly Engwicht (Video Titles)

Kimberly is a proud South Sea Islander and Aboriginal woman from Bundjalung country, New South Wales. Her love for bold lettering and bright colours are always evident in her work. She has a business called K-Rae Designs and sells greeting cards, prints and digital portrait illustrations. Kimberly aims to connect to audiences of all ages through icons and illustrations inspired by popular culture.
Instagram: @k.rae.designs
Photo credit: The Latest

Casey Coolwell-Fisher (Artwork)

Casey Coolwell-Fisher (Artwork)

Casey is a Quandamooka, Nunukul woman from Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) with links to Eulo and the Biri people of Bowen. Casey Coolwell is an Aboriginal artist and an established graphic designer. Casey is also the artist behind the popular home décor label CHABOO selling hand-painted designer bowls, plates and tableware.
Instagram: @chaboodesigns
Photo credit: LaVonne Bobongie

#3: Tiddas

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Anita Heiss (Writer/Playwright)

Anita Heiss (Writer/Playwright)

Dr Anita Heiss is the award-winning author of non-fiction, historical fiction, commercial women’s fiction, children’s novels and blogs. She is a proud member of the Wiradjuri Nation of central New South Wales, a board member of University of Queensland Press and Circa Contemporary Circus, and a Professor of Communications at the University of Queensland. As artist in residence at La Boite Theatre in 2020, Anita began adapting her novel Tiddas (S&S, 2014) for the stage.
Photo credit : Ruby Olive (Kate Bryan)

Nadine McDonald-Dowd (Dramaturg)

Nadine McDonald-Dowd (Dramaturg)

Nadine McDonald Dowd is a proud Yuwibara woman. She is Executive Producer at Queensland Performing Arts Centre and a Board Member of the Aboriginal Art Company.
Nadine was formerly the Artistic Director of Kooemba Jdarra Indigenous Performing Arts Company from 2001 to 2004. Previously, Nadine has been a Director on the Boards of the Queensland Theatre Company, Queensland Government’s Premier’s Indigenous Advisory Board and Q150 Advisory Committee, and the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts. Nadine was a Senior Producer with Major Brisbane Festivals in 2010, was the Manager of the kuril dhagun, State Library of Queensland from 2006 – 2015, and Creative Producer for the Commonwealth Games Arts and Cultural Festival 2018.
Photo credit : Lewis James Media

Sanja Simic & La Boite Theatre (Creative Producer)

Sanja Simic & La Boite Theatre (Creative Producer)

Sanja Simic is a non-indigenous collaborator of the festival. She is currently Creative Producer at La Boite, where she has worked across numerous projects including the programming and delivery of consecutive HWY festivals since 2017, multiple seasons of Michelle Law’s Single Asian Female (2018-19), the national tour of Future D Fidel’s Prize Fighter (2018), and multiple seasons of The Village (2017, 2018). Prior to La Boite, she held positions at Australia Council for the Arts and Performance Space. Additionally, Sanja has created work for La Boite, La Mama, Tamarama Rock Surfers, Brisbane Festival, Griffin Theatre Company, Merrigong Theatre Company, Sydney and Adelaide Fringe Festivals, and PACT Theatre. Her most recent theatre directing includes Claire Christian’s Lysa & The Freeborn Dames for La Boite and Bodysnatchers’ production of Mark Rogers’ Plastic at the Old 505 in Sydney. In 2021, Sanja will direct the world premiere of Mark Rogers' Naked & Screaming for La Boite Theatre Company.

Torn Parachute (Filmmaker)

Torn Parachute (Filmmaker)

Karl Bouro of Torn Parachute; a Brisbane-based international filmmaker. His video production company specializes in music videos, documentaries, corporate, promotional and wedding videos. Karl’s cultural background is from the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. The Torn Parachute team is made up of a group of creatives passionate about capturing inspiring stories through high quality visuals.
Instagram: @karlyville

#4: I Define

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Aidan Rowlingson (Interviewer)

Aidan Rowlingson (Interviewer)

Aidan Rowlingson is an emerging multidisciplinary artist and producer based in Brisbane. He is a proud queer Butchulla man from K'gari (Fraser Island and Wide Bay area). Aidan graduated from the University of Canberra with a Bachelor of Acting and Performance. He has worked in classical and contemporary theatre including Henry V by William Shakespeare, The Chair Plays by Edward Bond, Dislocated and ANTHRO APOLOGY by Alethea Beetson and Digi Youth Arts. He has also performed poetry as a part of IMA's First Thursdays, Queensland Museum's Black Out and Jungle Love Festival to name a few. Aidan currently produces LGBTQIA+ First Nation performances and creative developments at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre.

Kaylah Truth (Featured artist/Songwriter)

Kaylah Truth (Featured artist/Songwriter)

Kaylah Truth (Gurang & Ngugi) is certainly no stranger to the stage. Over the years, she has performed in Poetic Murriz and Impossible Odds. Her time as a solo artist has also seen her supporting and hosting International artists including TLC, Kid Ink, Nelly, Naughty By Nature, B.O.B, Lupe Fiasco, Ciara, J.Holiday and Lady Leshurr, with one of her most recent performance being at the Australian Women in Music Awards. Kaylah Truth has worked extensively in remote, rural and urban Indigenous communities teaching songwriting for Hip Hop.

Garret Lyon (Featured artist/Songwriter)

Garret Lyon (Featured artist/Songwriter)

Garret Lyon is a proud Darumbal and Wulli-Wulli man originally hailing from Rockhampton, Central Queensland. After graduating high school Garret was accepted into the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts as a dancer and graduated with an Advanced diploma in music. His theatre credentials include all seasons of Oscar production companies "Boy&Girl" where he belted out a Beyoncé medley and Christina Aguilera solo in heels, played the lead role of Aladdin in Disney’s "Aladdin: The Musical" in Jakarta, Indonesia and most recently was asked to return to ACPA to play the role of the cowardly lion in their production of "The Wiz" at QPAC. Over the years Garret has performed his original music extensively throughout Australia working closely with First Nations communities, New York and Brazil and is currently recording his Sophomore EP in Sydney which he hopes to release next year.

Sapphic Flicks (Filmmaker)

Sapphic Flicks (Filmmaker)

Sapphic Flicks is a film production company owned and operated by Merryn Trescott and Jamie Connor. Sapphic Flicks works with First Nations and LGBTQI+ communities to tell authentic stories and foster culturally and socially safe spaces and working environments.
Keep an eye out, our website is dropping soon!
Image credit: Lewis James Media

#5: Take Space, Make Space

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Aurora Liddle-Christie (Moderator)

Aurora Liddle-Christie (Moderator)

Aurora Liddle-Christie is a multidisciplinary artist with Arrernte, Jamaican, and Gaelic ancestry. In 2017 Aurora graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Drama from Queensland University of Technology. Her practice draws on the experience of People of Colour and Australia’s First Nations Peoples at the intersection of community, activism, spirituality and connection to country. She explores this through theatre making, spoken word, playwriting, singing and songwriting.
Instagram: @sol_chld
Photo credit: Elka Mai

Sue McPherson (Panelist)

Sue is a Freescribing Storyteller who lives on the Sunshine Coast. As a writer Sue enjoys making change, pushing boundaries and challenging her readers, audience and herself. Currently Sue writes for TV, Film, Scripted Podcasts and for Young Adult fiction. She loves meeting people from all walks of life, they are her inspiration.

Meleika Gesa-Fatafeh (Panelist)

Meleika Gesa-Fatafehi AKA Vika Mana, is a proud Torres Strait Islander and Tongan storyteller that takes many forms. They descend from the Zagareb and Dauareb tribes of Mer Island and the village of Fahefa in Tonga.
Meleika is a talented writer who has written for Overland, The Big Issue, the Saturday Paper and several publications both at home and internationally.

Grace Lucas-Pennington

Grace is a Bundjalung fiction and poetry editor with experience working with First Nations Australian authors including Dr Paul Collis, Claire G Coleman, Kirli Saunders and Alison Whittaker. She grew up mostly between northern NSW and the greater Logan/Brisbane area. Grace is the senior Editor at State Library of Queensland's black&write! Indigenous Writing and Editing Project. Grace was awarded the 2020 Nakata Brophy Poetry Prize for young Indigenous writers.

Sachem Parkin-Owens (Panelist)

Sachem Parkin-Owens (Panelist)

Sachém Parkin-Owens, (pronounced Say-Chem) a title given to an elected Native American chief from the Mohegan tribe in the North East of the US. Sachem is the son of an Indigenous mother, from Quandamooka Country and African American father. Raised within two strong cultures, a frontline leader, a voice for the people, Sachém is dedicated to fulfill the meaning of his name. As a spoken word poet, rapper and emerging singer, Sachém laces rhymes with personal stories, while touching on poignant social & cultural issues that have and continue to impact his life.
Photo credit: Anthony Kalajzich

Sanja - La Boite Theatre (Producer)

Sanja - La Boite Theatre (Producer)

Sanja Simic is a non-indigenous collaborator of the festival. She is currently Creative Producer at La Boite, where she has worked across numerous projects including the programming and delivery of consecutive HWY festivals since 2017, multiple seasons of Michelle Law’s Single Asian Female (2018-19), the national tour of Future D Fidel’s Prize Fighter (2018), and multiple seasons of The Village (2017, 2018). Prior to La Boite, she held positions at Australia Council for the Arts and Performance Space. Additionally, Sanja has created work for La Boite, La Mama, Tamarama Rock Surfers, Brisbane Festival, Griffin Theatre Company, Merrigong Theatre Company, Sydney and Adelaide Fringe Festivals, and PACT Theatre. Her most recent theatre directing includes Claire Christian’s Lysa & The Freeborn Dames for La Boite and Bodysnatchers’ production of Mark Rogers’ Plastic at the Old 505 in Sydney. In 2021, Sanja will direct the world premiere of Mark Rogers' Naked & Screaming for La Boite Theatre Company.

#6: Nana Magic’s The Shark Story

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Uraine Roelofs

Uraine Roelofs

Uraine Roelofs aka Mastrosavas is a proud First Nations Kokatha, Mirning, Greek Woman From The Far West Coast South Australia, Ceduna. She is a producer, writer, director and performing artist. She is the founder and creator of Nana Magic Children Show, performing many shows locally and nationally. Uraine successfully completed in 2010 a Bachelor of Dramatic Arts at the Victorian College Of The Arts & Music (VCAM) Then continued studies in 2012 completing a Post Graduate Certificate, In Indigenous Arts Management at the Willin Centre, VCAM with a newborn baby. This year in 2020 completed a First Nation’s Filmmakers Survival Kit Workshop, with AFTRS. Monica Davidson.

Sapphic Flicks

Sapphic Flicks

Sapphic Flicks is a film production company owned and operated by Merryn Trescott and Jamie Connor. Sapphic Flicks works with First Nations and LGBTQI+ communities to tell authentic stories and foster culturally and socially safe spaces and working environments.
Keep an eye out, our website is dropping soon!
Image credit: Lewis James Media

#7: Mission Child

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Melissa Stannard (Featured Artist)

Melissa Stannard (Featured Artist)

Melissa Stannard is a narrative artist, jeweller, a gatherer, and collector of the lost and found. Storytelling is an important part of her culture and heritage as a Yuwaalaraay, Kamilaroi, Kooma & Ngemba woman. Her artwork engages with themes of identity, belonging, nostalgia, memory, trauma, abuse, domestic violence and issues of survival.
Image credit: Charmaine Lyons

Sapphic Flicks (Filmmaker)

Sapphic Flicks (Filmmaker)

Sapphic Flicks is a film production company owned and operated by Merryn Trescott and Jamie Connor. Sapphic Flicks works with First Nations and LGBTQI+ communities to tell authentic stories and foster culturally and socially safe spaces and working environments.
Keep an eye out, our website is dropping soon!
Image credit: Lewis James Media

#8: Evening Lights

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Elisa Jane Carmichael (Visual Artist)

Elisa Jane Carmichael (Visual Artist)

Quandamooka woman Elisa Jane Carmichael is a multidisciplinary artist who honours her salt-water heritage by incorporating materials collected from Country, embracing traditional techniques, and expressing contemporary adaptations through painting, weaving, and textiles. She comes from a family of artists and curators, and works closely with her female kin to revive, nurture and preserve cultural knowledge and practice.
Image credit: Louis Lim and Onespace Gallery

Elizabeth Walker (Poet)

Elizabeth Walker (Poet)

Elizabeth Walker is a Nunakal (Noonuccal) Ngughi woman from Quandamooka country. Elizabeth is an artist and creative writer who is passionate about cultural preservation of knowledge and language .

Sachém

Sachém

Sachém Parkin-Owens, (pronounced Say-Chem) a title given to an elected Native American chief from the Mohegan tribe in the North East of the US. Sachem is the son of an Indigenous mother, from Quandamooka Country and African American father. Raised within two strong cultures, a frontline leader, a voice for the people, Sachém is dedicated to fulfill the meaning of his name. As a spoken word poet, rapper and emerging singer, Sachém laces rhymes with personal stories, while touching on poignant social & cultural issues that have and continue to impact his life.
Image credit: Anthony Kalajzich

#9: Room for Dreaming

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Aurora Liddle-Christie (Featured Artist)

Aurora Liddle-Christie (Featured Artist)

Aurora Liddle-Christie is a multidisciplinary artist with Arrernte, Jamaican, and Gaelic ancestry. In 2017 Aurora graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Drama from Queensland University of Technology. Her practice draws on the experience of People of Colour and Australia’s First Nations Peoples at the intersection of community, activism, spirituality and connection to country. She explores this through theatre making, spoken word, playwriting, singing and songwriting.
Photo credit: Elka Mai

Waniki Maluwapi (Dancer)

Waniki Maluwapi (Dancer)

Daughter of solwata and Jah, Waniki Maluwapi is a First Nations and Papuan multidisciplinary artist. Her people are the Malu Kiai and Kiwai peoples of the Samu and Gaidai clans. Her creativity stems from her malu Ancestors before her, and through different mediums of art Waniki continues their practice of storytelling.

Torn Parachute (Filmmaker)

Torn Parachute (Filmmaker)

Karl Bouro of Torn Parachute; a Brisbane-based international filmmaker. His video production company specializes in music videos, documentaries, corporate, promotional and wedding videos. Karl’s cultural background is from the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. The Torn Parachute team is made up of a group of creatives passionate about capturing inspiring stories through high quality visuals.
Instagram: @karlyville