National Studio 2015

Yarrie Bangura
Yarrie is a writer, performer, musician, visual artist, textile designer and public speaker. She most recently was a performer and writer in The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe which was presented at Belvoir and Riverside in 2013 and in 2015 at the Southbank Centre, London; Nottingham Playhouse, UK; Sydney Opera House and had a return season at Riverside theatres. Yarrie has also performed in Frolic (BigWest Festival, Melbourne), Slaves (African Theatre Troup/BYDS) and Nga Woray - My Mother's Wooden Spoon (Shopfront). Yarrie is one half of the band Sierra Sisters whose music has been featured on several commercials and Triple J Unearthed. She has been a member of the Sierra Leone Cultural Performance Dance Group Since 2006 performing at events around Sydney. Yarrie writes poetry, short stories, autobiographical work and plays. She is currently a Special Youth Representative for Australia for UNHCR.
Elias Jamieson Brown
Elias received a Bachelor of Arts (Acting for Screen and Stage) from Charles Sturt University (CSU) in 2014. During his studies, he was awarded the Dean’s Achievement Award for Academic Excellence (2014), and the CSU Foundation Scholarship (2012, 2013). He was selected for the Bell Shakespeare Graduate Course (2015), and has also undertaken short courses with NIDA, 16th Street, Master Voice Teacher Isobel Kirk, James Evans and Les Chantery. In 2013, he was an adjudicator  of the Annual Music, Dance and Drama Festival at the Illawarra Grammar School. As an actor, he has performed in a variety of roles including Happy in Death of a Salesmen (SOACT), Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet (CSU), Solyony in Three Sisters (CSU), and Hal in Loot (SOACT). In May Elias played the role of Louise in Angels In America (Chalkdust Theatre). His latest play, Missy and her Master (A Fable), was staged by Apocalypse Theatre Company as part of the Asylum theatre festival. All proceeds of this socially conscious theatre festival went to the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne. He has also written two other full-length plays Primary Colours and Crux, the latter of which was shortlisted for Playwriting Australia’s National Script Workshop (2013, 2014). He was executive producer and co-writer of Ambrosia (Solid State, Steve Jaggi, The Ridge Productions), and co-wrote and performed in Thicker (University Theatre Ensemble). He has written and directed for the 10x10 Playfest and, in 2013, directed A Portrait of Anna Moraova for the ABC’s Open Online program. Elias Jamieson Brown is a proud member of MEAA.
Michael Cornford
Only a cub scout at the time, Michael was made to do drama classes as a child after proclaiming a desire to be a comedian. Instead, he spent seven years learning to be a tree and during his HSC teaching others to be a tree at the Central Coast’s Mad Cow Theatre Company

Michael went on to study a Bachelor of Media and Communications at the University of New England, but in reality spent all his time in the theatre department. Here, he developed a love for dramatic writing, primarily in the form of adaptation at that time. While still performing, he made opportunities for himself to direct performances and step on toes to make things happen. His work in directing Buchner’s Woyzeck, Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter and Bovell’s Speaking in Tongues are some of his proudest achievements.

Upon leaving Armidale, Michael applied successfully to study at NIDA in the Technical Theatre and Stage Management degree. Michael believes that technical problem solving and stagecraft are some of the most important things to get work on its feet. While at NIDA Michael has worked on numerous projects and productions, a highlight was Michael Gow’s production of Writing for Performance – A Personal View. In what spare time Michael has found while at NIDA, he has written a full length play Burden on Society along with his numerous shorter works including Love Me Do (Short Play) which had its first production earlier this year and Speak Some Speech (Short film) currently in development. 

Michael is enduringly curious, to a point of frustration and obsession. His father has said that his first word as a child was ‘Why?’. His artistic intention is to tell stories that examine the world around us all and ask why is it so? Is this it?  Is this the best we can do?" After so far writing in only his spare time, Michael is looking forward to having devoted time to dramatic writing among other artists while at the National Studio.

Alberto Di Troia

Alberto is an emerging Melbourne-based writer/director and a graduate of the Bachelor of Film and Television 
at the Victorian College of the Arts. Before being accepted into the degree, Alberto’s play Queenie Beth won honours at the
 South Australian State Theatre Young Playwrights Awards. For the
 2011 Adelaide Fringe, Alberto wrote, directed and produced his play The Housesitters to a sold-out season and critical success. His graduating short film Blood Trust was awarded Best Undergraduate Screenplay by the VCA and has played at festivals both nationally and internationally. He is also the recipient of the VCA Film & TV Department's Lionel Gell Foundation Scholarship and Erwin Rado Memorial Prize For Excellence. Alberto is currently working on long-form film and theatre projects and recently worked as an assistant editor on upcoming Australian feature film ‘Downriver’." 

Alberto says, "I can't wait for the chance to collaborate with and develop my own writing alongside a cohort of talented, passionate, creative and diverse young theatremakers."

Piri Eddy
Piri is a writer, musician and stand-up comic. He has reviewed for Heckler, Transnational Literature, and London based publication The Upcoming. Piri has also produced work for Adelaide Indaily, Southern Write Magazine and Empire Times. His photography and unsubstantiated insights into life and travel are all infrequently featured on his blog

Piri's writing credits for theatre and performance include Tonight With Tony (2011, Neverender Productions), Amuse Bouche (2012, Neverender Productions) and Comedy Action Rangers (2013, The Loose Five Productions).
As a stand-up comedian, he has performed alongside some of Australia's finest comics, including Fiona O'Loughlin and Peter Berner. In 2013 Piri was a writer-in-residence at the SA Writers' Centre. 2015 saw Piri commence his PhD in Creative Writing at Flinders University, as well as being a participant in the Fresh Ink national mentoring program.

Piri says, "I'm most looking forward to learning from inspiring playwrights, crafting and developing new communities of writers, and the beautiful scenery!"
Georgia Goode
Georgia is one of the many 20-something-year-olds still figuring out what she wants to be. She attended ATYP as a teenager and later went on to study acting at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, and Screen Acting at The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. She is now interested in trying her hand at the other end of the creative process. Georgia grew up in and around the theatre in NSW as her parents believed it to be cheaper than paying a babysitter (cheers guys), this inspired her love of playwriting. She holds a Bachelor of Communication and Journalism from the University of New South Wales. As a journalist, Georgia has enjoyed writing other peoples stories; however, she has recently taken up creative writing in order to tell a few of her own. Georgia currently works at Belvoir St Theatre in Sydney and owns two dogs named Rufus and Frankie.

Georgia says, "I’m thrilled to be a part of the 2015 National Studio. I can’t wait to soak up the fresh air, immerse myself in creative writing and learn from my peers and mentors."

Yuki Iwama
Yuki is a 2nd-year student in the BA of Creative Writing at RMIT in Melbourne. She is a neurotic short story writer who has little to no knowledge of theatre. But like an acid trip gone bad she finds herself addicted, junked up, flailing in the mad-hatter technicolour world of theatre. Her passions also lie in directing and at the moment she is putting on two shows for Mudfest 2015 - Cunt and I Am Half Dog, All Hate. Yuki is also passionate about bad wine, free Bruschetta, sexual fetishes and intersectional feminism.
Yuki hopes to cause riots with her words and get banned by overzealous parents. She also wants to fight against the white-washing of the arts in Australia and work to provide a safe platform for non-white artists and anyone who identifies within the intersection.
Yuki says, "Getting to meet and exchange ideas with the next generation of playwrights at the Studio is incredibly exciting for me!"
Carissa Licciardello

Carissa is a Sydney-based emerging director, dramaturg and actor, and is a co-founder of leftofcentre theatre co. In 2014, she graduated from Charles Sturt University’s Theatre/Media course with Distinction, and as the recipient of the Blair Milan Memorial Scholarship for Performance Excellence and the Frank Ponton Memorial Prize. Her directing credits include Reindeer Games (Bondi Feast 24-Hour Party Playwright 2015), Elegy (leftofcentre theatre co., La Boite’s FAST Festival 2014, FRINGEWORLD Festival 2015), Slut (Bathurst Arts & Theatrical Society, 2013) and What Do You Think? (CYCLE Productions, 2013) whilst she has observed and assisted on Misterman (SIREN Theatre Co., Old Fitz), Jump for Jordan (Griffin Theatre Company, SBW), Playwriting Australia's most recent National Script Workshop, and Stones in His Pockets (Critical Stages) as Assistant Director. Carissa was also selected for Playwriting Australia's inaugural Director's Studio 2014, and the 2015 PACT Collective.

After years of watching curiously from the sidelines as a director and dramaturg, Carissa has decided to try her own hand at the magical and terrifying act of playwriting. Her short play Girl (eats) Boy was featured in Tantrum Youth Arts' Hissyfest 2014 after touring throughout the NSW Central West; earlier this year, she wrote and performed in leftofcentre’s The Genius Project (107 Projects); and she is currently writing a web-series.

Carissa says, “The National Studio is going to be such a great opportunity to get away from ‘real’ life for a while and focus on writing. I’m particularly excited to meet a bunch of other passionate theatremakers and learn as much as I can from them.”

CJ McLean

Callum “CJ” McLean is a playwright and review writer based in Adelaide. His creative work has appeared in InDaily, and was twice broadcast on Coast FM. He has written reviews for Buzzcuts (a part of Express Media) and Empire Times. He received two commendations for his script work in the South Australian State Theatre Company’s ‘Young Playwright’s Award’ competition, in 2010 for Call Me Lolita, and 2013 for The Pink Elephant.

He travelled to Guangzhou, China as part of the AsiaBound project earlier this year to mentor Creative Writing students at Sun Yate-sen University’s South and Zhuhai campuses. In 2014, he attended Oxford University’s Creative Writing summer school, and studied with playwright Shaun McCarthy. He is part of the planning and editing committee for Flinders University’s public speaking event, Speakeasy, and their associated zine. He is currently completing his Honours in Creative Arts (Creative Writing) at Flinders University.

Callum is most looking forward to getting away from the day-to-day of “life” and spending six days solely writing.

Kirby Medway
Kirby Medway is a Sydney based writer and performer as well as an occasional sound designer and composer. Some of his most recent contributions include the sound design for As I Lay Dreaming which was performed at Shopfront at the start of this year. He wrote Encounter which was first performed at the Woodcourt Art Theatre in 2013 before being presented at the Adelaide Fringe Festival in 2014. He spent most of 2013 touring around Australia performing poetry themed shows to high school students with the theatre in education company, Poetry in Action. Later that year, he wrote the text for Ragnarök /or how it ended/, which was presented as part of Civic Life at Shopfront, and composed the music for The Defence which has since toured to Melbourne and Western Australia. As a devisor and performer he has presented work at a number of festivals such as the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, Under the Radar, Underbelly Arts and the Crack Theatre Festival.

Kirby is most looking forward to the opportunity to learn from experienced mentors and the other emerging writers.

Felicity (Flik) Miles
Felicity Miles (Flik) is an aspiring theatre maker from Albury in regional New South Wales. Her upbringing was divided between her father’s cattle farm in Cudgewa, Victoria, her mother’s house in Albury and her grandparents’ home in a small village in Idar-Oberstein, Germany. As a result of this, travel has always been an integral part of Fliks life and she believes this has contributed greatly to her interest in human behavior, including the diverse experiences and stories all people have to offer an audience. From her study of drama in high school, she discovered that she didn’t just have a passion for writing, but a love of performing and being heavily involved in many aspects of theatre and essentially bringing a story to life.  She acted as part of Hothouse Theatre's studio program from 2011-2014. As part of this ensemble, she performed in such works as The Laramie Project (2011), All In The Timing (2012), Orpheus (2012), The Pajama Girl (2013) and a number of devised works, such as Letters From The Border (2014).

Flik has always had a love for writing, particularly for the stage, and wrote a play for her Year 12 Extension English Two major work, which highlighted the importance of the discussion of taboo issues in society. Following the completion of her Higher School Certificate in 2013, Felicity has traveled overseas to learn more about theatre and various approaches to theatre-making. Flik has also been involved in many playwriting workshops, principally through Hothouse Theatre, with playwrights such as Steve Rodgers and Lachlan Philpot. In June-July 2015 she performed in Outback Theatre for Young People’s Beneath An Oxbow Lake.

She is exceptionally passionate about and dedicated towards all elements of performance craft and hopes to pursue a career in the arts, hopefully encompassing playwriting, acting and perhaps one day directing.

Gemma Neall
Gemma is a former member of the Senior Ensemble of the now sadly defunct Urban Myth Youth Theatre Company. She studied a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing at Flinders University and attended a Creative Writing Summer School at Oxford University in the Summer of 2013. She trained as a dancer before developing a passion for theatre and moving into acting. Recent credits include Origin of the Species and Romeo and Juliet, both with Urban Myth. She enjoys working with young people to create theatre and is currently writing a play about the Australian war heroine Nancy Wake. She lives in Adelaide with her pet succulent Fergus.  
Gemma says, "I'm most looking forward to meeting and getting to work with other young writers from around Australia - such a rare opportunity."
Sam Nixen
Sam is a Sydney based playwright and producer. Committed to playwriting since their HSC Drama play Lover’s Bench won the Highly Commended Award in Sydney Theatre Company’s Young Playwrights’ Award 2007, Sam went on to complete a Bachelor of Communications (Theatre/Media) at Charles Sturt University Bathurst. While studying and living in Bathurst Sam wrote and helped produce five of their original plays in four productions; Lover’s Bench and A Sticky Tape Daydream (Cunningham Green, 2009), The Day George and Mary Grew Up (Ponton Theatre, 2009), Dark (Ponton Theatre, 2010) and Dante’s House (Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre, 2011), and collaborated on more than 15 other productions. Since returning to Sydney Sam has continued to write and seek out artistic development, last year launching their independent theatre company Grumpy Mandrake Theatre to produce their co-written Sydney Fringe Festival show Ambrosia (The Annex, 2014).  

“As in my own life as when developing work, I have a tendency to reach away from the ordinary and the expected. I look to explore ideas around gender, roles, expression, identify and performance; sexuality, sexual intimacy, relationship anarchy, kinks; and questions surrounding humanness, humanity and existence. I am very drawn towards metaphors of reaching for humanness: puppets, robots, clones, mandrakes, golems, homunculi...”

Sam is excited about the National Studio as an opportunity to explore "living and breathing playwriting – talking ideas, technique and story problem solving – for a whole week with 19 other clever, eager writers."

Jules Orcullo

Jules is a writer, researcher and arts administrator working between Sydney and NSW’s Central Coast. She currently works in Gosford with disability arts organisation, Options Theatre Company, and has worked with The Festivalists in Sydney and Thames Festival Trust in London. She holds a BA (Advanced) (Honours) in English and Latin from The University of Sydney and a MSt Women’s Studies from The University of Oxford. Her research interests span embodiment of gender and disabilities in performance, reception studies in popular culture, and 20th Century feminist literature. Her research has been presented and published in Australia and the UK.

As a writer, Jules is interested in exploring ideas of migration, sense of place, and crossing cultural lines. Playwriting is a relatively new frontier for Jules whose previous writing for performance credits include one-third of original musical The Rosewood Secret (2008) and silent short film ROPES (2009). She also has wild aspirations to become as vocally agile as Jessie J, Tori Kelly and Natalie Weiss.

Jules is excited that her involvement in the Studio will allow her to "become in touch with a community of playwrights and learn as much as I can from their processes, their stories and their experiences."

Rachel O'Regan

Rachel has always been excited by two things: writing and acting. While she wasn't so good at the latter, she now writes professionally for I Quit Sugar and fangirls over amazing acting performances in the privacy of her own home (and blog). She now wants to bring the two obsessions together with playwriting. She is currently developing her first full-length play, FULL, a "realistically twisted" tragicomedy about disordered eating and disordered families.

Rachel says; "My experience to date really entails trying to teach myself, reading "scriptwriting manuals," and going to plays with pocket money. The idea of having a whole week with experienced playwrights and professional dramaturgs is beyond exciting. I am most looking forward to soaking in everyone's knowledge is like a sponge."


Allee Richards
Allee is studying Creative Writing at the University of Melbourne. She has had fiction published in Voiceworks and Visible Ink and had two plays produced by Theatre 451 in Melbourne. Her play, Beers & Trees, will be performed in November this year as a part of La Mama’s Explorations season, an earlier draft of this play was read at the Five Point One reading sessions in Adelaide in 2015. 

Allee is most looking forward to being able to spend time in the beautiful landscape at Bundanon and hopefully getting a chance to bush walk and explore.


Sophie Somerville

This is Sophie. She’s a bona fide young person and amateur word enthusiast.  She can either be found lost in a shopping centre carpark or on the wrong side of a train’s closing doors. If she had a superpower, it would be the ability to deliver kickass soliloquys in Real Life without being condemned as a weirdo.  Before she let herself want to be a writer she dreamt of being a fireworks technician. Perhaps that says a lot about her – that deep down, she just wants to entertain you. And maybe make your kids cry. And blow up things, but she doesn’t know how that fits in with writing. She’ll find a way.

Sophie says, "Most of all, I’m looking forward to being able to say the words “I went to the National Studio.” Because even if people don’t know what ATYP is, they’ll be so awed by the words “National” and “Studio” that they’ll give me a few more modicums of respect than that of my standard fare.  And I’ll prance about being pretentious and happy until they forget about it. Yay! Oh, and writing is fun as well."

Morgan St. Clair
Morgan is a writer, dancer and painter based in Sydney, NSW. Her acceptance into Newtown High School of the Performing Arts for her HSC years saved Morgan from the depths of suburbia and the prison yard politics of an all-girls school in Sydney's west. Those years at NHSPA opened Morgan up to the idea that being a "creative" is a multifaceted, complex experiment that takes years to come to any sort of coherent form. Morgan then spent her first couple of years out of school travelling around Europe, surviving South America and living in London for a year. During her travels Morgan was drawn more and more to writing. It is something that she has always done, instinctively, yet it was only in those years did she start to seriously consider it as something she wanted to do all the time, full time and forever. 

Now studying a Bachelor of Communications majoring in Creative Writing at UTS, Morgan, after some life changing plays given to her by her high achieving theatre making friends, and after some late night stream of consciousness experiments with playwriting, feels like she has finally touched on something that rings true with her. She is thrilled and excited to explore this and where it will take her. 

Morgan hopes the experience over the week at National Studio will help her to focus this ambition and galvanize her into finding her voice, and her feet. She is most looking forward to "creating a new piece of work with these amazing mentors, something that will really push, and challenge me, something that will take guts to write and something I can really sink my teeth into." Morgan also wants to thank you for reading this far if you have, and hopes that one day her biography will be a little bit more interesting and filled with actual achievements."

Ciella Williams
Ciella is a Darwin born actor and theatre-maker, and is starting to venture into writing. She studied at the University of Melbourne University but loves living and creating work in the Northern Territory. Ciella is currently developing a satirical cabaret show ‘The Sicko Glitter Sisters Present: The True Blue Straight and Narrow Normal People’s Club’ with CJ Fraser-Bell for a one-week season in October. The two collaborated in 2014 to develop ‘Frankensteined Monologues’ as the Theatre of the Found Collective, and presented it at the Crack Theatre Festival in Newcastle.This year, Ciella performed in the development of ‘Coal Face’ by Sarah Hope, and in ‘Broken’ by Mary Anne Butler as part of Brown’s Mart Theatre’s Shimmer Season.

Ciella is a core working member of the Darwin Fringe Festival Committee, and is involved with a group of young artists committed to making new work and new performance opportunities in Darwin.


Lachlan Philpott is a Sydney based writer and teacher.

As a playwright he has worked with The American Conservatory Theatre San Francisco, Amnesty International, Australian Theatre for Young People, Belvoir Sydney, Bell Shakespeare, Brisbane Powerhouse, Canberra Youth Theatre, Checkpoint Theatre Singapore, Cre8ion, Crowded Fire Theater San Francisco, Edinburgh Festival, Feast Festival Adelaide, Focus Theatre Sydney, Glen St Theatre Sydney, Griffin Theatre Company Sydney, Hothouse Theatre Albury, IronBark London, Kansas State University, La Boite Brisbane, The Lark New York, London Pride, Magic Theatre San Francisco, Mardi Gras Sydney, The Mac Belfast, Midsumma Melbourne, Melbourne Festival, MKA New Writing Theatre, The New Theatre, NIDA, Outburst Belfast, Oval House London, Perth Theatre Company, Playwriting Australia, Q Theatre Penrith, PACT Sydney, The Perseverance Juneau, The NSW Drama Ensembles, The Playwright’s Centre Minneapolis, The Playwright’s Foundation San Francisco, Rock Surfers Sydney, Sydney Theatre Company, TheatreofplucK Belfast, The Traverse Theatre Edinburgh, Tantrum Theatre Newcastle, Red Stitch Melbourne, St Martins Melbourne, The Victorian College of the Arts and The Victorian Arts Centre.

Lachlan’s plays include Bison, Bustown, CatapultColder [R.E Ross Trust Award]Lake Disappointment, M.ROCK, Silent Disco [Winner Griffin Award for Outstanding New Australian play, Winner GAP Competition Aurora Theatre Co. USA, Winner best stage play, Australian Writers Guild Awards] The Chosen, Truck Stop [Winner best play, young audiences Australian Writer’s Guild Awards] and The Trouble with Harry. He has had nine plays published.

Lachlan has also done extensive work as a teacher, mentor and dramaturg at theatre companies, schools and tertiary institutions around the world. As the inaugural Australian Professional Playwright Fulbright Scholar, Lachlan was playwright in residence at The American Conservatory Theatre San Francisco in 2014/15. Lachlan is Chair of the Australian Writer’s Guild Playwrights’ Committee.

Tom Holloway is an award-winning playwright based in Melbourne, Australia.

His work has been seen across Australia, as well as in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. His credits in Australia include Storm Boy for Sydney Theatre Company and Barking Gecko, Forget Me Not and Love Me Tender for Belvoir, and And No More Shall We Part and Don't Say The Words for Griffin. His United Kingdom productions include And No More Shall We Part, produced by Hampstead Theatre and Traverse Theatre for the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe and Fatherland produced by The Gate Theatre and ATC. His play Forget Me Not will be produced by The Bush Theatre this December, and he has been the librettist on the opera South Pole, premiering at Bavarian State Opera in Munich in January 2016. Tom is currently under commission with Manhattan Theatre Club and Melbourne Theatre Company. 

Nicki Bloom's debut play Tender  was first produced  by nowyesnow in May 2007 as part of the B-Sharp downstairs season at Company B Belvoir Street in Sydney. This production then toured to Hothouse Theatre (Albury) and Griffin Theatre Company (Sydney), playing as part of the main stage subscription seasons at both theatre companies. In July 2009 Tender was produced by the Summer Play Festival at the Public Theater's  Anspacher space in New York City, USA  Tender also received a reading  at London's  Donmar  Warehouse in 2010. Tender is published  by Currency Press.  Bloom's  adaptation  of  Henrik  Ibsen's  Ghosts  was  produced  by  the  State Theatre Company  of South Australia in October 2008, and is published by Phoenix Press.   She  jointly   adapted   Shakespeare's   romeo&juliet   with   director   Geordie Brookman, and this adaptation was first produced by the State Theatre Company of South Australia  in August 2010. Additional publications  include Summer,  published by Currency Press in a collection of plays entitled 'Short Circuit', and additional productions include Summer  by Griffin Theatre Company in 2008, and Footso/diers by. Stone/Castro and Reel Time Collaborators for Brink's Gorge Festival in 2009.

Bloom's  awards include the 2006 Adrian Consett Stephen Memorial Prize (Tender)the  2007  Inscription  Chairman's  Award  for  Best  Play  (Tender);  the  2008  Patrick White Playwrights' Award (8/oodwood) and the 2009 Inscription Playwriting Award (8/oodwood)   and  the  Henry  Lawson  Prize  for  Prose.  Her  work  has  also  been shortlisted for several awards,  including  the 2008 New South Wales Premier's Play Award (Tender);  the 2007 Philip Parsons Playwriting Award (Tender);  and the 2006 Max Afford Playwriting Award (Tender)She has been the recipient of two Goethe­ lnstitut scholarships to Germany- the first a language study scholarship in May 2008 and the second to attend Berlin's 'Theatertreffen'  as part of an international forum of theatre-makers in May 2009. Bloom was a 2008 resident writer at Griffin Theatre Company in Sydney. She is an affiliate artist with Brink Productions  in Adelaide and co-artistic director of performance  company nowyesnow.