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© 2019 VICTORIAN ACTORS’ BENEVOLENT TRUST.
An Actor’s Equity member since 1973, Don’s theatre work includes productions with Playbox, HIT (Cosi and The One Day of the Year), Nimrod, La Mama, Australian Shakespeare Co, Essential Theatre, Unicorn (London), Columbia University (New York), Fiddler on the Roof with Topol, and over twenty-five productions for Melbourne Theatre Company.
Don plays Cohen the Barbarian in Terry Pratchett’s Troll Bridge, and his other film work includes Romper Stomper, Evil Angels, Quigley Down Under, Malcolm, Road to Nhill, Charlotte’s Web, and over a hundred short films.
Regular roles on TV include Blue Heelers, Man from Snowy River, Neighbours, Sullivans, Stingers, Jack Irish and The Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries.
Don is currently organising bucket rattles to raise funds. He is proud to be part of this wonderful committee.
Sioban has been a Melbourne based actor, director and casting director for twenty-five years. Sioban is developing a number of concepts for television dramas as a writer director.
Sioban is a graduate of Victoria College of the Arts, ECU, WA Screen Academy and Open Channel’s 2014 ‘Scriptshop’ course for screen writers.
Mark is a solicitor in private practice who claims to have known everyone in Melbourne’s intrepid and courageous theatre community before they were famous. He has advised just about every professional theatre company and many venues in Victoria over nearly thirty years of legal practice. Familiar with wills, trusts and administrations for creative people, he has admired the work of VABT for many years and its significant contribution to the vibrant and supportive theatre scene in Melbourne.
Mark earned half a living as an actor in his twenties and early thirties on the fringe, comedy and corporate circuits. He has served on the boards of many arts organisations, including Chandrabhanu’s Bharatam Dance Company Inc, Arts Access Inc., Currency House Inc, Viscopy Limited and, currently, Polyglot Theatre. In addition to specific qualifications in intellectual property law, he holds a D.Phil. from Oxford University on the dramaturgy of Thomas Middleton and is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Art at RMIT (probably the only lawyer in the country to hold such a post). He is a Life Member of the Green Room Awards Association and was President for six years 2005-10. Appointed to VABT in late 2016, he is looking forward to rolling up his sleeves to support VABT’s vital work where other formal and informal systems don’t reach. When not in the theatre or the office he keeps bees and cattle in north-eastern Victoria.
Matthew has worked extensively in policy development in the creative and cultural sectors in Australia. He has lead the design and implementation of creative and cultural strategy, and provided high-level strategic advice on key challenges and opportunities facing the creative sector. He has built key sector and government stakeholder relationships and gained an extensive knowledge of the economic development across international cultural and creative practice. Former Arts Adviser to Mark Dreyfus QC MP Shadow Minister for the Arts, Head of Theatre Arts GRADA (GOTAFE Regional Academy of Dramatic Arts) and Associate Course Director, Actors Centre Australia. He has worked with Sydney Theatre Company, Melbourne Theatre Company, Belvoir Street Theatre and Malthouse Theatre.
Matthew’s studies include a Graduate Diploma in Dramatic Art (Direction), Victorian College of the Arts and Executive Master of Arts, University of Melbourne. He currently sits on the board for the Golden Dragon Museum in Bendigo and considers it a privilege to be a committee member for VABT.
Chris Connelly has been acting for three decades with extensive work in theatre, film, and television. His many shows with the Melbourne Theatre Company include; Aftershocks, Pax Americana, The Caretaker, Happy Ending. Among other productions; David Williamson’s The Club and Face to Face, Hotel Sorrento, Kitten, West Side Story, Barassi and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Also solo shows; The Dream of a Ridiculous Man and The Meeting. TV credits include Deadline Gallipoli, Bed of Roses, Stingers, Blue Heelers, Neighbours and The Adventures of Lano and Woodley. Films: John Doe, Michael Rymer’s Angel Baby, Queen of the Damned and Face to Face, Chris was the co founder of the Maya Shakti Drama school in Sri Lanka.
“In my experience, actors and performers are some of the most generous, resilient and positive group of people you could find. Perhaps this is because the work of the performer is to do with the humanity of a story, what lies at the heart of the character in the story or performance. Actors and people in the entertainment industry in general, are constantly supporting causes, helping people, and on any issue will almost invariably take the compassionate position. I think our industry is full of good people who go beyond themselves not only for their art, but also for the greater good of the community. Because of the precarious nature of this business, there are many times when people in this industry need help, this usually coincides with a time of being forgotten in the community, I believe the VABT exists to make sure we’re not forgotten.”
Kevin Harrington has been honoured to serve on the committee of the VABT for more then ten years.
As an actor he is recognisable for his roles in Sea Change, the Dish, Neighbours, Underbelly, Cliffy and The Wrong Girl. He has also done many productions in theatre for MTC and in every state and territory of Australia.
In the last three years, he has begun to reapply his skills to hotel management. And with his wife Ann, a former treasurer of the VABT, are franchisees of Quest Apartment Hotel in Werribee.
He therefore brings an actor’s acumen as well as business acumen to his role as Vice President.
The inspiring archive of the VABT, from 1958 to the present, says it all. The financial wellbeing of those who work in the performing arts has always been precarious, and the generosity and support of audiences and patrons and colleagues has never wavered. That generosity is an expression of how much the community values its arts practitioners. Whenever the VABT provides assistance to those in crisis, it is really a gesture of care and support from the community to an artist in need.
I have worked in performing arts including theatre in education, musical comedy, cabaret and theatre. In the mid 1980’s with Women’s Community Theatre and the early days of Melbourne Fringe in the collaboratively produced Women’s Season, I wrote and presented a variety of group and solo performance projects.
These shows were usually comedy and musical, Cooking with Marg, Marg and the Beast and The Whole Shebang. Expanding later into Environmental Education with Vox Bandicoot, and street musical theatre with The Teabags Marching Band, and cabaret with The Romanoffs. In 2011 I was hostess for Finucane & Smith in The Burlesque Hour and The Carnival of Mysteries at fortyfivedownstairs Melbourne. In March 2014 at Footscray Community Arts I played the lead role in the reading of Peta Murray’s play, Things That Fall Over, a production in development over two years.
Since living in Ballarat I have worked with Lynden Nicholls on Voices as a performer and directed the life models in the Art Gallery of Ballarat for the 24 Hour Experience Ballarat. In Backspace Gallery I wrote and performed a recording of an artist response to Dora Meeson’s painting Leaving for the Front. In 2016 I narrated Peter and the Wolf and the Carnival of the Animals at Her Majesty’s Theatre for the Winderlude Festival with the Ballarat Symphony Orchestra and four dance schools.
Currently I am working on The Women of the Goldfields, a new play, using historical source material to explore the true stories of women during the Eureka Stockade. I have presented two development performances in Ballarat, at the Main Bar in November in 2014 and the Mechanics Institute in 2016.
Everybody wants to be able to give to others in need. Sometimes they just need a vehicle and the VABT is a just the ticket. Through the generous theatre audiences chucking in notes and coins at a bucket rattle, others responding to requests for donations via a letter in the mail, and the people organising to ask for the money, the VABT can give to others in need. The power of giving is enormous and the community of the theatre world is powerful.
My creative bow is well strung! I started singing on the ship out from England at the age of seven. I left school to become a RN Division 2 nurse and I’m still registered. In 1981, I started my professional career acting, and singing and In 2007, I married all these skills and became a Commonwealth Registered Marriage Celebrant.
With 45 years in the performing arts it’s marvellous to give a hand back to the industry. I’m currently performing in “Singin’ in the Rain” till end of January 2016 and have been working in all facets of our vital industry since 1975. I also serve on the National Performers’ Committee for Actors Equity Australia.
Clare has appeared in numerous Australian TV productions, commercials, short films and cabaret as well as treading the boards in Sydney, Melbourne and the UK. With her company Late Bloomers Productions she has written, produced and performed in several theatre productions and is currently developing a web series and several projects for film and television.
Clare is passionate about giving back to the industry she loves so dearly. Her journey with the VABT began in 2014 as a Bucket Rattler and she continued to pester the VABT until they found a place for her on the committee at the end of 2015. Clare’s goal is to raise awareness of the VABT within, and outside of, the arts community and for the VABT to become Victoria’s First Choice Charity.
Dina trained at NIDA and worked as a professional actor in the 70’s & 80’s.
Starting her Casting Career at Crawford Productions, she then, in the late 80’s began a seven year period as Casting Director ABC Melbourne, casting many projects, including ‘The Magistrate’ and ‘Phoenix’.
Her freelance Feature films include: ‘Road To Nhill’, ‘Head On’, ‘Mallboy’ (AFI Young Actor) ‘Japanese Story’ (AFI Best Actress, Best Film), ‘The Jammed’ (IF Best Film), ‘Lake Mungo’, ‘Black & White & Sex’ (ATOM ‘Best Experimental’) and ‘The Legend Maker’.
Dina respects actors and industry members and believes that their creative offerings should not be forgotten when times get tough.