The Seedling Sparks program focuses on the creative development process; enabling artists and creatives the space to explore, seed new ideas and challenge forms of expression. See below the participants of the 2019 program and hear what some of them have been up to since.
Hannah Belanszky is an actor, writer and theatre-maker based in Brisbane. Hannah was the Young Playwright-In-Residence at Playlab in 2017, mentored by Kathryn Marquet. She also wrote, directed and performed in her cabaret theatre piece, The Wives of Wolfgang (Wonderland Festival, Brisbane Powerhouse). Her performance experience includes roles in Harrow (ABC Studios), Julius Caesar (4MBS) and The Roasting (Short and Sweet Theatre Festival).
“Earlier this year, I toured a cabaret I wrote and directed called The Wives of Wolfgang to Fringe World Festival in Perth and then to Adelaide Fringe, where the work was awarded Best Cabaret at the Adelaide Fringe Weekly awards. I also presented a draft of Shadow in a Dress, the play I developed during the Sparks Program, at La Boite HWY. I’m now working on a commission from Playlab, titled ‘Rising’ which I am co-writing with four other emerging female playwrights, as well as a play commission from All Hallows’ School for a large youth cast.”
Pearl Thompson is a proud Aboriginal woman. From an early age she always wanted to perform. She attended the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts (ACPA) from 2010 to 2014 and graduated with a Certificate III & IV in Diploma of Performing Arts. Pearl has performed at leading venues including The Sydney Opera House, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Brisbane Powerhouse, Darwin Entertainment Centre, and the Judith Wright Centre for The Contemporary Arts.
As an independent artist, Pearl has explored different art forms and fell in love with circus after completing the BLAKflip and Strong Women program with Circus Oz. Her skill set includes dancing, group acrobatics, hoola hooping and bottle walking. She has been awarded the Indigenous Australian Circus Artist of 2019 by the Australian Circus Festival. She currently tours with the Indigenous Circus show Chasing Smoke and she wants to continue various artistic pursuits including exploring circus and creating new works by combining her knowledge of dance and theatre with circus.
“Sparks was a life changing experience for me. I never had the confidence or thought I had the ability to write. This program changed that for me. Having other mentees and mentors around that were also Indigenous helped me gain confidence writing Aboriginal specific words while in an incredible supportive environment, which helps create more Indigenous voices in main stage theatre. I am so excited to see where my fellow Sparks mentees careers take them.”
Emily Wells is a proud Kamilaroi woman and a passionate creative, born and raised on the Sunshine Coast. Emily is a keen producer and performer whose creative practice spans diverse roles and art forms but particularly focused in theatre, contemporary dance, festivals and not-for-profit arts organisations.
Emily is currently working as a Producer with BlakDance and Supercell: Festival of Contemporary Dance, as well as Assistant Director on Steven Oliver’s new work From Darkness through La Boite Theatre Company’s Assistant Creatives Program.
“Since Sparks, I've been working with Playlab through their Alpha Processing Program to keep developing my play into a final script! It's been great to have time to reflect and refine my ideas, to get into the big moments and the little details.”
Aidan is a proud queer Butchulla man from K’gari (Fraser Island). He studied a Bachelor of Acting and Performance at the University of Canberra and currently works as a producer and re-occurring performer with Digi Youth Arts, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, and Brisbane Sci-Fi Theatre Festival.
Aidan merges his love for Indigenous and queer culture through working as a spoken word poet performing at Jungle Love Festival, IMA’s First Thursdays, as well as numerous events in the Brisbane poetry and zine scene.
“Since the 2019 Sparks program I have sharpened my skills as a writer and dramaturg. I have continued to write and develop my play outside the program with overwhelming support from participants and mentors. Sparks gave me the tools to write and the freedom of understanding the process holistically which I will carry with me into future developments of my work.”
Ellen Van Neervan
Ellen van Neerven is Mununjali from South East Queensland. Ellen’s first book, the Award-winning Heat and Light was published by UQP in 2014, and a poetry collection, Comfort Food (UQP, 2016), followed.
Ellen's writing has been published in Australian and international publications such as Griffith Review, Australian Book Review, The Saturday Paper, The Lifted Brow, Best Australian Short Stories, Best Australian Poems and McSweeney’s.
“I have an online development week with 'swim' director Andrea James in June. Aiden Rowlingson and I have our deadly clip up online with QPAC.”
Waverley Stanley Jr
Waverley is a Gumbaynggirr and Barunggam man currently living and studying in Brisbane. He is studying a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative and Professional Writing. Once he finishes his degree he would like to work in the film and theatre industry.
“Since the Sparks Program I have been continuing to work on my craft and finishing '21st Century Psychotic.' Using the skills that Sparks has taught me I have also transferred them to other projects I am working on. For the past few weeks I have been researching my mother's side of the family and about to begin the first steps of learning my mother's language (Gumbaynggirr) that was stolen from us.”