Michael Buxton has been a member of the DVA Ensemble for 9 years. Michael’s work at DVA has included key roles in the 2008 project “River of dreams”, in the 2010 Tall words performance season and in the film/performance project “ A Cosmic Love.” Michael is a skilled and seasoned performer working within a range of inclusive theatre companies including; Rawcus, Fog Theatre and Roller Coaster, where his talent has enjoyed much appraisal.
In 2003 and 2004 Michael completed the Ignition Theatre Training Course at NMIT. At Ignition Theatre, Michael’s training included performing in theatre projects and developing audio & stage management skills.
Michael’s screen credits include his portrayal of “Phil” in Rodney directed by Andrew Coyle (2005), as “Thomas” in Wake (2011, Jessica Kneipp VCA) as one of “the men in black” in Water, (2012, Jessica Kneipp VCA) and most recently as “Harry” in A Royal Star (Nicla Byrnes and Neil Triffett, DVA).
Michael has attended workshops in stage management and audio at Club Wild and has performed at dances and assisted back stage.
Michael is also a dancer and musician. He can tap up a storm and strum out some happening rhythms on the guitar. Michael trained at Parkwood Dance Academy, 1999 - 2009 taking classes in Tap, Jazz and Hip-hop. At Parkwood, he was also an assistant teacher at the Dance Appreciation class for disabled students, 2002 - 2009.
In 2015, Michael has been made an Associate Director of the Company where he will step up to lead the ensemble in a directorial role alongside the Artistic Director and Assistant Director.
Michael Dreams one day of playing the guitar in New York.
"Hi my name is Jamie Halliday and I’m 28 years old. I am very happy to have found DVA after moving to Melbourne from Ballarat this year. I was involved in performing arts for about 5 years in Ballarat as a member of both Matchbox and Box Head Ensemble. We did lots of acting and improvisation and I really enjoyed being involved in both of these programs and learning new skills.
I also enjoy dancing and I was very happy when e.motion21 dance program started up in Ballarat. I started there about four years ago and I have been able to continue that in Melbourne. I love dancing, it makes me feel good and it’s a way for me to communicate my feelings.
I learnt Zen Do Kai for 11 years from when I was 14 and I think the training that I did has helped me with the balance and coordination I need for dance.
Even though I have a disability I am still able to do lots of things that I enjoy and I’m very proud of my achievements.."
In 2015 Jamie joined the ensemble to take on the key role; Prince Rubereo for the Federation Square Light in Winter Festival in collaboration with Melbourne Djembe.
Duane has been a valued member of the DVA Ensemble for more than 20 years. Duane has played a number of integral roles within a wide variety of DVA performance projects. Key character roles have included; Prospero (Brave New World: The Tempest Adaptation, 1997), Mac the knife ( A Beggars Opera 2003), The Black Rubbish Ranger (River of Dreams:2008 ) and Captain Von Trapped ( A Royal Star Film Project 2012). Duane has a special interest in movement based work and storytelling. Duane is a prolific artist in painting and drawing. He has sat on the DVA Board of Management as an Ensemble Representative for the past 5 years. In 2015 Duane was made Vice President of the Company's Management Board. Duane’s Television work has featured him in a commercial for the Special Olympics. In 2014 Duane danced under the stars in the piece “Always Searching” at Federation Square as part of the Winter Solstice celebrations and in 2015 he transformed into a giant puppet “Alias Olive” the gentle giant for the Federation Square Light in Winter Festival
Matt joined the DVA ensemble in 2006 and in his first DVA show, played the villain Sirgon within the River of Dreams project of 2008. Matt also performed in Tall words, 2010 and again stepped into the dark side, playing Jagged Jack The Axe (A royal Star, 2012). This on screen opportunity has been important in realizing Matt’s long held dream to feature as a star of film. Matt’s other theatre experience has included completion of the Ignition Training course NMIT, where he developed a range of theatre based skills to share with the group. Matt has also been a member of the DVA Board for 5 years where he regularly contributes to the ongoing management of the Company.
Doreen’s history with DVA Theatre Company has been built over a commitment of more than 20 years. Her roles have included A Beggar (A Beggars Opera, 2003) A Sports Fan (Sport 2005) and A Dragon Bird (River of Dreams, 2008). In the recent film project A Royal Star 2012, Doreen played the role of A Royal Messenger and a 20s Flapper.
Doreen particularly enjoys movement and building character through costume and makeup.
Paul has been a member of the DVA ensemble for more than 20 years. Paul’s long commitment to the group has seen him play many roles within major performance projects. Paul’s roles have included a Reper ( Brave New World 1997), The Prince (Champagne and Broken Glass: 2000) and a Racing Fan (Sport 2005) In 2000 Paul was selected to travel with a smaller DVA group to present work at the Awakenings Festival, Horsham.
In 2015, Paul joined the drumming team in collaboration with Melbourne Djembe to provide musical accompaniment for our street theatre entry into the Federation Square Light in Winter Festival.
Paul is also a prolific artist in painting where he has continued to hone skills over many years within The Araluen Visual Arts Program. He has exhibited and sold work within a range of festival and gallery exhibitions.
Stacey was an integral member of the DVA Ensemble for 15 years. Stacey played many roles in the development of project work as a facilitator, board member and skilled performer. To support her performance development, Stacey completed the Ignition Training Course in 2007 at NMIT. In the past Stacey also participated in theatre workshops with Family Dog Circus. She sat on the organization committee at Club Wild while also featuring in Cabaret events as a regular performer.
Stacey showcased performance work in character, movement, singing and storytelling. Stacey’s skills, training and enthusiasm for new work was evident in all of her performance contributions to DVA Theatre Company. Leading character roles included; Jenny (A Beggars Opera, 2003) River Queen (River of dreams, 2008) and A Royal Librarian (Tall Words, 2010).
Stacey starred in a documentary short film made with the Wild@HeArt organization. This work accounts her story of great bravery and determination.
Stacey passed away three years ago after a long and courageous battle. We will remember always her passion for life and loving spirit. RIP Stacey.
Joanne’s gregarious personality and strong sense of body expression brings energy and life to DVA Theatre Company. Joanne featured in River of Dreams 2008 and Tall Words 2010. Most recently, she played the leading role, Princess Krystal White, within the 2012 Film Project A Royal Star. This gig required Jo to perform on set within a grueling off site film schedule and she rose to the challenge with flying colors.
In 2014 Joanne sought further professional development and arts training by attending the Ignition Theatre training Course at NMIT, featuring in the major course performance work Strange Stories.
In the 2015 street theatre puppetry and drumming brigade at Federation Square, Joanne joined the the Sundance toasties marching brigade, performing as part of The Light in Winter Festival.
Jo also takes dance classes at the Rosanna Fire Station activities program and enjoys water aerobics for fun and fitness.
Clare has been a member of the DVA Ensemble for more than 20 years. Most recently her onscreen appearances included a Dancing Flapper Girl and A Royal Messenger (A Royal Star, 2012). Clare also begged for her supper in A Beggar’s Opera 2003 and opened the story in Tall Words, 2010. In 2015 she carried the moon staff as part of the 2015 street theatre puppetry performance Livewires and the Sundance Toasties.
Clare particularly enjoys movement in circular formations and giving speeches of thanks on behalf of the whole group.
Clare’s other artistic pursuits have included work in clay and painting within Churinga’s Visual Arts and Ceramic program.
Max worked with the DVA ensemble during 2012, bringing a youthful energy and strong sense of body. Max is a lover of dance and movement, particularly hip hop rhythms. His work within the most recent film project A Royal Star saw him play an irate boot cooking chef and a friendly barman. Max also performed an exert with a smaller DVA group, from the project A Cosmic Love, at the Winter in Banyule Festival in 2012.
Robbie worked with the DVA Ensemble throughout 2012 where he quickly brought a wonderful youthful energy and natural talent to the Company. Robbie played the character Sir Caligari, in the project A Royal Star where this underworld persona of power and greed was skillfully executed and captured on film.
Robbie is also a keen dancer in contemporary styles. He has undergone a number of years training within the e.motion 21 dance group.
Kristina joined the DVA group to work on developing and presenting River of Dreams in 2008. Most recently Kristina played the young girlfriend of an underworld gambling man in A Royal Star where her glamorous screen appeal was realised. In "A Cosmic Love" 2013, Kristina danced the role of Judy and the Moon.
Kristina has always loved responding to music through creative movement and improvisational dance structures. Kristina's interest in modelling for photography based projects at DVA has grown from strength to strength over the last two years.
Michelle Desmond: Michelle's most recent role in a DVA Project was as C. Shell within the ensembles presentation of the project "A Cosmic Love" at La Mama Theatre in 2013. In 2012 she played the key character Meddlesome Molly in A Royal Star, where her portrayal reflected a strong sensitivity to the silent film genre. Rivalling this portrayal though was Michelle’s stunning work as The Sun Goddess in the 2015 street theatre, puppetry and drumming performance; “Livewires and the Sundance Toasties” at the Federation Square Light in Winter Festival. Michelle's performances also featured in River of Dreams and Tall Words. She enjoys storytelling, music and improvisational movement and vocal explorations.
In 2014, Michelle began to develop an interest in art and design for theatre. She was instrumental in the conception of design aspects for the Company's puppetry/dance project "Always Searching" presented at the 2014 Light in Winter Festival.
Michelle also attends community based art classes in Visual Arts.
Jenny is an original member of the DVA crew. She has featured work in every DVA Performance to date and that’s a lot of shows! Jenny’s contributions have been varied and many. She even performed on the top of a float during the Moomba Festival of 1999. Jenny played Maisie, the Royal Maid in the 2012 Film Project; A Royal Star. In 2015 Jenny joined Melbourne Djembe and DVA Theatre to drum up a storm in the Puppetry street performance project; “Live Wires and the Sundance Toasties.”
Jenny also attends weekly dance classes in Ballroom, Swing and Line Dancing.
Shaamini’s history with DVA has spanned a 20 year period and her interest in love and romance has spurred the development of many stories and characters within workshop sessions and performance project undertakings. She enjoys exploring theatre through storytelling and through music and dance. Shaamini often develops work in response to her own real life experiences and in reply to an ongoing love affair with the magic of stage and screen.
Shaamini played Zelda in "A Cosmic Love" 2013 and The Queens Bees Knees in the 2012 film project, A Royal Star where she translated a commanding and regal presence to the medium of film.
In 2015 Shaamini was a sassy marching band “Sun Dance Toasty”, warming up the night within our street theatre and puppetry performance at Federation Square. This work occurred in collaboration with drumming group Melbourne Djembe.
Brendan’s first experience of performing as part of the DVA ensemble was in River of Dreams 2008, where he played The Blue Rubbish Ranger. He was a Vampire dancing outdoors through a window in the 2010 Tall Words project at the Watsonia Library and crafted a playful portrayal of the Royal Butler in the film Project : A Royal Star of 2012. In 2014 Brendan was selected to perform in the 2014 Light in Winter Festival where he dug his way around Federation Square as a miner always searching for a "Heart of Gold." In 2014, he played the role of Our Chandra Moon at Federation Square as part of the Light in Winter Festival. Brendan has sustained an interest in the artistry of slapstick mime and movement. He enjoys beat boxing and contemporary rhythms. Brendan is also an active participant in the Arts Project Program and he has contributed and sold drawings from his unique collection within many exhibitions.
Simon has been a member of the DVA group for over 20 years, bringing to the workshops and performance development a particular strength in vocal explorations through storytelling and song. Simon took a vocal lead role in A Beggars Opera of 2003 and shared his humorous real life recollections of Australian Larrikinism in the Tall Words project of 2010. In 2013 Simon enjoyed much appraisal for his collaborative singing efforts with Melbourne based singer/songwriter Mary Webb in the 2013 Project "A Cosmic Love."
In 2015 Simon worked with Melbourne Djembe and DVA Theatre Company to accompany the group in tribal rhythms for an outdoor travelling performance in puppetry and dance as part of The Federation Square Light in Winter Festival.
Simon is also currently further exploring his interest and skills in singing within the Araluen Music program.
John is an original member of DVA and he has been an active, important participant since the Company’s inception over 20 years ago. Since his introduction to live performance in the 1991 Adaption of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, To Be or Not to Be, John has featured performance work in every Major DVA Performance project including; The Island of Forgetting, Brave New World, Romeo and Juliet, Riddle, All You can Eat, Beggars Opera, Sport, River of Dreams, Tall Words and A Cosmic Love.
John’s long history with the Company has seen him devise and present a variety of explorations in character, dance, movement and voice production across a range of outdoor and indoor settings. John has also been an active member of the Management Committee for 5 years.
Paul has been with DVA for over 20 years and he has always maintained a genuine commitment and positive attitude when developing and presenting work. Paul has played many parts through a long journey of performing including; A Beggar (A Beggars Opera: 2003) , A Royal Child (Champagne and Broken Glass: 2000 ), An Umpire (Sport 2005) and a Footman (A Royal Star 2012). Paul loves to make music and his keen sense of beat and rhythm saw him work wonderfully with Melbourne Djembe and DVA Theatre Company in 2015 to accompany the group in tribal rhythms for an outdoor travelling performance in puppetry and dance as part of The Federation Square Light in Winter Festival.
Bernie joined DVA Theatre Company for the River of dreams Production, presented in 2008. It was within this project that Bernie’s love of music was most evident. In 2010 she went on to further this interest by performing a song as part of "Tall Words" at the Watsonia Library. Most recently, Bernie collaborated with Melbourne based Singer/song writer, presenting her musical prowess as part of the project "A Cosmic Love."
Bernie has also explored and developed her musicality within the Araluen day support and training program.
Melanie is a newer member of the ensemble who worked with much commitment to play one of the Royal Maids, Tilly the Toiler and the Paper Girl in DVA’s first ever film project A Royal STAR, 2012.
Melanie enjoys singing and has a good repertoire of lyrical memory which she offers to weekly workshops. In 2015 Melanie was a drummer in the music group for our 2015 project at Federation Square’s Light in Winter Festival in collaboration with Melbourne Djembe.
In an ideal world Melanie would enjoy fish and chips on the beach every day of the week.
In 2013 Cassie worked hard to build the character Piper the Witch for her first ever DVA show within the project A Cosmic Love.
In 2015 Kassie was Belle Under Stars as part of our Federation Square light in Winter Festival performance.
Kassie also enjoys creating visual art pieces and she is a keen television and movie enthusiast. Kassie currently also attends the Latrobe University Life Skills program.
Lorelle is a new DVA member. In 2013 she played a Love laboratory Scientist in the project A Cosmic Love. She also performed an exert of A Cosmic Love’s development at the Eltham Library as part of the Marketplace Of Ideas event run by the Yarra Plenty Regional Library Services. The theme of this event was 'Reading for Social Peace'. Specifically, this event was concerned with disability.
In 2014 Lorelle also attended the Rawcus Masterclass and made an appearance in their 2015 show Catalogue.
In 2015 Lorelle was part of the Marching Band Brigade in our Federation Square light in Winter Festival performance Live Wires and the Sundance Toasties.
William joined our Company last year for our performance Live Wires and the Sundance Toasties at Federation Square for The Light in Winter Festival. In this project, where we collaborated with drumming group Melbourne Djembe, William played the head marching band leader.
William has also previously completed the Ignition Theatre Training course at NMIT where he starred in their final year performance project Strange Stories. He also attended local drama and theatre classes before joining the DVA Theatre Company in 2015.
Macarthur Yee: Sound Technician (In Training)
Macarther joined the DVA ensemble this year to work as a sound technician in training. He has been working alongside our Sound Designer Lewis Gorman building skills in the set up and operating of sound systems for our performance work.
Previously Macarther was a keen participant in school based drama programs and performance work. He played roles in Fiddler on the Roof and The Wizzard of Oz at this time.
Mac hopes to continue in the development of building theatre skills in the area of Sound and Lighting.
Kristine is a founding DVA member and has remarkably performed within every DVA Performance to date. Her roles within performance projects have been varied and many including a Lady of the Night in the 2003 Production, A Beggars Opera and more recently a 1920s dancing gal shaking up a storm on the dance floor (A Royal Star 2012).
President: Timothy Phillips
Timothy Phillips is a percussionist/conductor/concert producer and pedagogue who holds degrees in Music from the Canberra School of Music and the State University of Music in Karlsruhe, Germany and in Education from Monash University. His career has extended from Australia to Europe and has included professional and community projects in various genres from classical music, music theatre to rock, pop and experimental music. Timothy is the founder and artistic director of the Arcko Symphonic Ensemble a Melbourne based new music orchestra specializing in large scale Australian new music. He has appeared in 2 DVA shows as a musician and is proud to serve as the president of the committee of management, elected in December 2016, continuing a long family association with the DVA company
Artistic Director: Nicla Byrnes
Nicla Byrnes has worked with DVA Theatre Company for more than 20 years. Her roles within the company have included; Performance Facilitator, Administrator and President. She is the current Artistic Director of the Company. For this reason, Nicla has an intimate knowledge of the group and is well placed to develop work which is sensitive to the needs, interests and experiences of all ensemble members. Nicla has collaborated with a wide range of artists and organisations in the development of meaningful pieces of theatre which provide a platform for an expression of the ensemble’s authentic voice. Nicla has a degree in Education with major studies in Drama, Literature and Media. She has also worked as an Educator within a range of Primary and Secondary School settings. In 2012, Nicla Directed the Company’s first ever film project “A Royal Star” in collaboration with VCA graduate and Platform Youth Artist Neil Triffett. In 2013, she directed “A Cosmic Love” a project created and presented in collaboration with Platform Youth Arts and LaMama Theatre, at the Carlton Courthouse. This work based in film and live theatre was a part of Platform Youth Art's month at La Mama titled “A Beautiful Mess.” In 2014, Nicla Worked in collaboration with the DVA Ensemble, Platform Youth Arts and the Federation Square Light in Winter Festival to develop and present “Always Searching” at the Winter Solstice celebration at the Melbourne Light in Winter Festival. In 2015 she directed the Company in "Live wires and the Sundance Toasties" at the Light in Winter Festival in collaboration with Melbourne Djembe. In 2014, Nicla also worked collaboratively with DVA's in house photographer Patti Green and the ensemble to shoot and exhibit the Photography collection " Harvest Moon and the Breakfast Club." This exhibition took place in collaboration with the Yarra Plenty Regional Library Service. In 2016, In Collaboration with Black Hole Puppetry Theatre, Nicla Directed the new work "Toast" which featured in LaMama Theatres "Explorations" series.
Assistant Director: Sophia Constantine
Sophia Constantine is a performer, director, writer, producer and community coordinator dedicated to developing projects that bring positive social change to the community, give voices to marginalized groups and encourage cultural diversity. Sophia strives to maintain an outstanding level of artistic integrity and social and political relevance. She works in performance and events with skills in physical theatre, Butoh, puppetry, storytelling and photography.
After finishing her Bachelor of Creative Arts at La Trobe University Sophia went on to undertake the inaugural Graduate Certificate of Arts and Community Engagement at The VCA. Sophia has been a board member for Platform Youth Theatre for the last six years; she is apart of the executive team and the Vice Chairperson for their board.
Sophia has worked with the VCA Centre for Community Partnerships faculty as a Community Arts Facilitator. Sophia performed in Slut by Patricia Cornelius, the performance is a launching pad for community dialogue around domestic violence against women. Sophia works at DVA Theatre as Assistant Director. She is continuing work with choreographer YumiUmiumare on a durational dance piece for Light in Winter Festival 2015. And currently works with Melton Youth Services as a drama facilitator.
Last year Sophia undertook a Professional Development trip to the NT funded by Australia Council. Whilst in Darwin Sophia was Artist in residency at Corrugated Iron Youth Arts where she co-facilitated youth drama programs as well as running drama workshops in a variety of community settings from multi cultural groups, remote indigenous schools and detention centres. This trip gave further opportunity to spend 5 weeks in a remote community as an artist in remote schools residency through Corrugated Iron. Furthermore Sophia performed with Snuff Puppets in their Darwin Festival show Wedhus Gembel. With a wealth of experience both on and off-stage Sophia is a valuable asset to the arts community.
Catriona FitzGerald has been a member of DVA since 1997. She joined the group to combine her love of theatre with her belief in people with disabilities being given a voice to create their own art. She has an Arts (Disability Studies) degree and a Graduate Diploma in Education (Early Childhood). She has been involved in community theatre since she was 8.
Patti Green – Photographer
Over the years, Patti’s hobby of photography has grown to where she is now an Accredited Member of the Australian Institute of Professional Photographers (AIPP).
The AIPP run a Mentor Course, that ensures that you can run a small business and the standard of your work, and presentation of that work, is of a professional standard.
For 17 years Patti worked as an Integration Aide with the Department of Education. The school quickly became known for it’s amazing work with students with disabilities, especially those with Autism Spectrum Disorders, of which Patti was largely responsible through her research, understanding and implementation of programs for students with disabilities.
During 2013 and 2014, Patti reduced her work hours to part time. This enabled her to support her daughter with a growing young family. This reduced work time also allowed increased time for her to hone her photography skills and to concentrate on her business.
During this year Patti went to a “Critique Night” run by the AIPP. These nights allow long standing professional photographers to comment on how to improve ones photography skills and assist with ‘style’. From this night, Patti received the advice that her style of portraiture may well benefit from a theatrical element - the rehearsals, the make up, the performances.
Discovering the DVA Theatre group has been for Patti, just a fantastic experience, where the combination of her photography and spending time with adults with diverse abilities has been a “match made in heaven”
Lewis Gorman: In House Sound Designer
Lewis is a sound designer/composer who uses analogue synthesizers to create atmospheric soundscapes, music and sound effects. Lewis is a graduate from Melbourne Polythechnic with an advanced diploma of sound production and is interested in sound synthesis and modular synthesizers.