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Bjorn Stewart Receives Funding to Work with Rideback Productions in LA

10 07 2019 – Media release

Screen Australia announces over $1.2 million in Enterprise funding

Shaye Guillory, Liliana Munoz and Bjorn Stewart


Screen Australia has announced funding for seven Enterprise Business & Ideas and 12 Enterprise People proposals, which will share in a total pool of over $1.2 million for sector and talent development.

The recipients of Business & Ideas include Bunya Productions, the production company behind award-winning film Sweet Country and television series Mystery Road, which has received funding to build a talent development network, build Australian IP and extend the profile of their work overseas.

Writer/director Bjorn Stewart and producer Shaye Guillory will each undertake a placement at Los Angeles production company Rideback, where they will develop their professional skills through a bespoke program including reading and evaluating feature film and TV scripts, participating in creative meetings and drafting pitch documents.




Candy Bowers announced as AIF & Screen Australia LA Mentor Program recipient

Candy Bowers
Four Australians to be mentored by award-winning Hollywood creatives responsible for highly successful TV shows including Grey’s AnatomyThe Handmaid’s TaleGirls and Black-ish
Award-winning executive producer Betsy Beers (Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder), writer and producer of Emmy award winning series The Handmaid’s Tale Yahlin Chang, Emmy-nominated director Jamie Babbit (Silicon Valley, Girls) and comedy writer and executive producer Peter Saji (Black-ish) will be matched with four Australian screen professionals in Australians in Film (AiF) and Screen Australia’s annual Mentor LA program.
Executive producer Que Minh Luu, writer/director Julietta Boscolo, and writers Candy Bowers and Kodie Bedford have been selected to take part in the structured 12-month program.
This year, Mentor LA encouraged applications from creatives currently under-represented in the Australian screen industry with unique stories to tell, matching them with mentors that champion diversity and inclusion.
President of AiF, Kate Marks said: “Mentor LA was established to create new and exciting pathways to help grow the careers of young screen professionals and as a by-product, the Australian industry as a whole. This year’s successful applicants Que, Julietta, Candy and Kodie all have a dynamic and a fresh point of view in storytelling. AiF is thrilled to again be partnering with Screen Australia and providing this unique opportunity to these talented filmmakers.”
Graeme Mason, CEO Screen Australia said: “Mentor LA is an incredible opportunity for these four Australian storytellers who are at the point in their career when getting international perspectives on their work is highly valuable. Congratulations and savour every minute!”
Peter Saji will mentor Melbourne-based comedian and writer Candy Bowers. Bowers is the co-artistic director of Black Honey Company, a sub-genre of hip-hop theatre that delves into the heart of radical feminist dreaming. She’s also appeared in Newton’s Law, Get Krack!nTonightly with Tom Ballard and The Cry.
Bowers expressed her excitement for the mentorship placement, saying: “Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined I’d be mentored on my TV comedy trajectory with someone like Peter Saji. I’ve wept watching Blackish when I should have been laughing. The tears of reflection and recognition were so sweet. This is a life and career changing moment for me. Ive been dreaming about being a showrunner on a comedy TV series since I was a little girl, so I guess this is my wildest dream, thank you Australians in Film and Screen Australia.”
Bowers is currently working on her first feature film with Robert Connolly’s production company ArenaMedia, an anthology of Australian monologues for actors of colour titled Everybody Else.
Over the 12-month program, Mentor LA provides access to the highly-regarded US screen development process, with mentees meeting online quarterly with their mentor. The program culminates in a trip to Los Angeles to meet their mentor in person.


Contemporary Asian Australian Performance (CAAP), Queensland Theatre, Melbourne Theatre Company and Sydney Theatre Company are proud to announce the artists selected to join the CAAP Directors Initiative.

BMEG proudly represent Diana Nguyen, Merlynn Tong and Courtney Stewart who have been announced as directors.

Courtney Stewart
Courtney Stewart
Diana Nguyen
Diana Nguyen
Merlynn Tong
Merlynn Tong








More than 100 applications were received for the two-year program. After introductory directing workshops led by Paige Rattray at QT, Jessica Arthur at STC and Sarah Goodes and Dean Bryant at MTC, 13 emerging directors have been selected to continue in the next phase of the program.

This entails a series of seminars, workshops, networking opportunities and placements to observe company productions up close. The following phase of the program will offer hands-on opportunities as assistant directors, directing creative developments and play readings.

The 13 Directors Announced for the CAAP Program
The 13 Directors Announced for the CAAP Program



Interview with Nancy Denis for The Rolling Stone

Read Full Article Here – The Rolling Stone’s Nancy Denis wants us to be uncomfortable

By Neha Kale for The Sydney Morning Herald

Updated 3 July 2018 — 3:20pm first published at 2:59pm

Nancy Denis believes art should make us uncomfortable.

Denis, 26 and proudly queer, will play a homophobic character called Mama in the Australian premiere of The Rolling Stone, which explores LGBTQI rights in Uganda — where same-sex relationships are punishable by imprisonment.

Playing Mama, an unwed women who outs the man who impregnated her daughter — an act that gets him murdered, forced Denis to tap deep reserves of empathy.

It also meant finding a way to understand a woman whose politics are violently opposed to her own.

“I had to find the love in her — she believes that the best way to protect her daughter from a life of judgment is to out this man and she doesn’t need a lot of evidence,” she says.

“She’s homophobic, she’s xenophobic but she’s a woman in this village and she’s trying to survive. In the last scene, she makes a confession to a pastor that she’s gone against her morals and that’s a big moment. I want audiences to leave this play with a feeling of real discomfort.”

Denis is warm, passionate and prone to speaking with her whole body. When we meet in her dressing room, she’s finished an intense rehearsal and is quick to swap her character’s conservative ensemble for colourful pants and a leather jacket.

For Denis, the play by rising British playwright Chris Urch is a chance to tell an untold story about the LGBTQI experience.

She was also drawn by the rare chance to work with an all-black cast.

The play owes its title to The Rolling Stone, a short-lived Kampala tabloid that in 2010 published the names and addresses of 100 gay people in Uganda, alongside the words “hang them”.

This has serious consequences for Dembe, a young Ugandan man in a happy relationship with Sam, a mixed-race doctor from Northern Ireland.

The production, which is directed by Adam Cook and nods to Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, isn’t interested in easy answers.

For instance, Uganda’s draconian anti-gay laws are part of its colonial legacy. They’re also fuelled by religion. For Denis, the focus on the nature of love and the existence of privilege are among the most compelling parts of the narrative.

“The scenes between Dembe and Sam are so powerful because you have two men of similar age from two different societies — one is born a minority in Western society, and the other is born in Uganda, Africa,” says Denis, who has also starred in the SBS series Cleverman and in the feature film Truth with Cate Blanchett.

“But they love each other in their own way. Even though Sam is a minority, his chances of dying for who he is are a hell of a lot lower than Dembe’s. At the same time, Dembe is witnessing the kind of freedom he could have. During the scenes with his family and Mama, you see his deep spirituality. He is the strongest soul.”

The Rolling Stone, Seymour Centre from July 5 to 21

Magical Reviews for Tammy Weller in PUFFS!

Tammy Weller
Tammy Weller

“Tammy Weller as Leanne when she is fighting off a stage full of black capes and she finally achieves her dream. Weller was in her element and had the audience in raptures!”

Penelope Thomas – Stage Whispers


Puffs are the butt of every joke, they’re not very good at magic, nor are they very good at interacting with other people, or even really just handling themselves in a situation anything other than calm and normal. Leanne (Tammy Weller), for example, is one of the quintessential Puffs; she’s airheaded, manic, and manages to misunderstand anything and everything due to her crippling naïveté.”

                                                          Jessica Taurins – Theatre People


Due to popular demand, the record breaking run at the Alex Theatre St Kilda, has added additional performances!

For seven years a certain boy wizard went to a certain Wizard School and conquered evil. This, however, is not his story. This is the story of the Puffs… who just happened to be there too. A tale for anyone who has never been destined to save the world.

The New York Times proclaims PUFFS, “A FAST-PACED ROMP through the ‘Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic.

PUFFS exudes a jovial, winking fondness for all things [a certain boy wizard]!”

This clever and inventive play “never goes more than a minute without a laugh” (Nerdist) giving you a new look at a familiar adventure from the perspective of three potential heroes just trying to make it through a magic school that proves to be very dangerous for children. Alongside them are the Puffs, a group of well-meaning, loyal outsiders with a thing for badgers “who are so lovable and relatable, you’ll leave the theater wishing they were in the stories all along” (Hollywood Life). Their “hilariously heartfelt!” (Metro) and epic journey takes the classic story to new places and reimagines what a boy wizard hero can be.

Running Time:
Act 1: 65 minutes
Interval: 20 minutes
Act 2: 50 minutes


Madelaine Nunn Awarded ATYP Rebel Wilson Scholarship 2018

Madelaine Nunn
Madelaine Nunn

BMEG’s Madelaine Nunn was awarded the ATYP Rebel Wilson Scholarship for 2018.

“…Rebel Wilson, who equally found the process of narrowing down her applicants a challenge, has awarded the ‘Rebel Wilson Theatremaker Scholarship’ to an emerging artist interested in generating their own content – Melbourne based artist and writer Madelaine Nunn.

“I’m thrilled and humbled to be the 2018 Rebel Wilson Scholarship Recipient, an opportunity I’m incredibly grateful for,” Madelaine, who most recently a writer for the ATYPA production Intersection 2018: Chrysalis, said.

“I will use this time and space to develop both my solo work as well as a new show with my theatre company, Three Birds Theatre. I have a keen interest in championing the female voice, and creating dark comedies that shine a light on unique parts of our society.”

The two winners will spend the next 12 months working with ATYP to realise their respective goals, and will be in contact with the ambassadors throughout the year to update them on their progress.

The twelve month scholarship will culminate with both recipients travelling to Los Angeles to present a showcase with the Australian Theatre Company and to be profiled at the G’Day USA Gala in January 2019…”

For more information on the Rose Byrne & Rebel Wilson scholarships head to: www.atyp.com.au/rose-byrne-and-rebel-wilson-scholarships

Madison Hegarty Cast in The Gruffalo’s Child!

Madison Hegarty
Madison Hegarty

BMEG’s Madison Hegarty has been announced as key cast!

CDP presents Tall Stories’ production of THE GRUFFALO’S CHILD is based on the award winning picture book by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler.

The Gruffalo said that no gruffalo should ever set foot in the deep dark wood…
If you loved The Gruffalo, don’t miss the sequel, which returns following previous sellout Australian tours – now in a new West End production! Join the Gruffalo’s Child on her adventurous mission in this magical musical adaptation of the much-loved picture book.

One wild and windy night the Gruffalo’s Child ignores her father’s warnings about the Big Bad Mouse and tiptoes out into the deep dark wood. After all, the Big Bad Mouse doesn’t really exist… does he?

The team behind The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom and The 13-, 26-, 52- and 78-Storey Treehouses return with The Gruffalo’s Child, bringing together physical theatre, music and puppetry to deliver songs, laughs and scary fun for children aged 3 and up, and their adults…

Age recommendation: 3+ and their adults
Duration: Approximately 55mins, no interval

Book Tickets Here!

Beautiful Reviews for Amanda Laing in “Josephine Wants to Dance”

Amanda Laing
Amanda Laing

BMEG’s Amanda Laing received beautiful reviews in the children’s theatre production, Josephine Wants to Dance, presented by Monkey Baa Theatre Company. Based on the book by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley, Adapted by Eva Di Cesare, Sandra Eldridge and Tim McGarry. Josephine Wants to Dance is a story about dreams, believing in yourself … and a dancing kangaroo

“Chloe Dallimore and Amanda Laing are exquisitely funny as the Tivoli showgirl lyrebirds”

“Biggins has cast the play with triple threats and they all shine”

Jason Blake – Audrey Journal
Read the full review here

“Dallimore and Laing are also gloriously funny as the lyrebirds who mimic whatever is said.”

Jo Litson – The Daily Telegraph
Read the full review here

“Amanda Laing and Hayden Rodgers excelling in every task, character, song and dance – they have many responsibilities – wit, panache galore”.

“Monkey Baa could tour JOSEPHINE WANTS TO DANCE forever. The Australian Ballet…could buy it and tour it forever, as well”.

Kevin Jackson – Kevin Jackson’s Theatre Diary
Read the full review here

“A duo of lyrebirds – Dallimore and Laing as glittering showgirls – are the show stealers, with their hilarious antics that inspire a few high kicks from Josephine”.

Read the full review here

“Amanda Laing makes the most of the contrasts offered in not only playing a large native bird but also the tragically injured ballerina and Shaggy Gully’s town clerk Big Annie.”

Diana Simmonds – Stage Noise
Read the full review here

“Amanda Laing is vibrant and funny and creates three fantastic characters”

Bronwyn Fullerton – Sydney Arts Guide
Read the full review here

“Combined with the perfect story-telling vehicle, the Monkey Baa production team, cast and crew bring a level of professionalism, often only seen in musical theatre for adults”.

Brydie Wright – Weekend Notes
Read the full review here


Great Review for The House of Bernarda Alba, with BMEG’s Candy Bowers

Candy Bowers
Candy Bowers

“…This production is notable for both its boldness and restraint. Cáceres has concentrated on Lorca’s austerity, creating a stark frame that heightens the volatile emotions that drive the action.

Bernarda here is Bernadette, played with a steely focus by Melita Jurisic. There are four daughters instead of five – Marti (Candy Bowers), Angela (Peta Brady), Magda (Bessie Holland) and Adele (Emily Milledge). The final two players are Bernadette’s senile mother, Maria (Sue Jones), who is kept locked up in the back of the house, and the housekeeper, Penelope (Julie Forsyth).

This is by any measure a first-class cast, and their performances don’t disappoint. Jurisic and Forsyth together on stage are alone worth the price of admission. Cáceres’s direction is almost geometric: she creates a formal movement of bodies across the space that seems to grow organically out of the action.

The cast is supported by a production that melds a hieratic, formal aesthetic with tropes of outback Australia. Marg Horwell’s witty set uses air conditioning units and mosquito zappers as bling – the zappers become a kind of chandelier – and it is sumptuously lit by Rachel Burke. Irene Vela’s solemn, elegiac music and Jethro Woodward’s sound design are deeply textured, summoning the world beyond the claustrophobic house.

The result is remarkably beautiful theatre that looks squarely at the murderous silence at the core of oppression.

Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of The House of Bernarda Alba is showing at the Fairfax Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne, until 7 July.”

– Alison Croggon, The Guardian


STALKING THE BOGEYMAN: Fantastic Review of the Harrowing Tale, featuring BMEG’s Noel Hodda

Neil Gooding (Director) presents STALKING THE BOGEYMAN, David Holthouse and Markus Potter’s stage adaptation of Holthouse’s very personal story of being a victim of childhood rape, with care and confronting clarity. Based on Holthouse’s article with the same title first published in Westword on 13 May 2004, this production presented by Neil Gooding Productions and New York Rep gives a first hand account of the damage of childhood sexual assault and having to keep it a secret for 25 years.

As Holthouse’s parents Nancy and Robert, Deborah Jones and Noel Hodda capture the quintessential American couple wanting to fit in and make friends in their new hometown in in the Chugiak,outside of Anchorage Alaska. Both ensure that David’s parents are seen as caring and compassionate people that want to protect their son but also having an innocence so that the thought that their friend’s son could be hurting their child never crosses their mind. Hodda’s expression of Robert’s moment with a young David playing catch before bed is heartbreaking as the father has no idea why his child is hurting so much and Jones’ portrayal of a fiercely protective mother once the truth is unveiled is brilliant in her control and underlying anger as she finishes her call to her former friends with “I hope your son eventually gets caught and spends the rest of his life getting raped in prison”.

FULL REVIEW by Jade Kops

Noel Hodda and Deborah Jones as Robert and Nancy Holthouse (Photo: John Marmaras)
Noel Hodda and Deborah Jones as Robert and Nancy Holthouse (Photo: John Marmaras)

Presented by Neil Gooding Productions in association with Redline Productions, this production will run from May 23 to June 23 at the Old Fitz Theatre.