Local Giants

Local Giants is an ambitious new capacity building program which seeks to unlock the cultural ambition and potential of regional Australia; born of a three way partnership between Performing Arts Connections (PAC) Australia, Performing Lines and Regional Arts Australia.

With support from the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund—an Australian Government initiative, the Australian Government through the Regional Arts Fund, and the NSW Government through Create NSW, Local Giants will be delivered across 2021 – 2023 in partnership with regional partner venues in South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.

Speaking to the inception of the program the partnership of Performing Lines, Regional Arts Australia and PAC Australia have said that Local Giants is responding directly to consultation with regional colleagues and seeks to create the foundations for new models of working that elevate the work of regional artists and arts workers.

The program consists of several intersecting parts including a Regional Producers Platform, Regional Artist Residencies in three states, and new Regional Work Co-Commissions. Residencies have taken place with Country Arts SA, at Pichi Richi Park, Quorn; Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre in NSW, and Cairns Regional Council in QLD.

Between Performing Lines, Regional Arts Australia and PAC Australia, the organisations bring a breadth of experience in artist development and capacity building for local communities. As such the Local Giants program has been developed after extensive consultation with regional artists and arts communities to seize opportunities for growth and innovation in the regional arts sector.

In its first phase Local Giants has provided opportunities for over 75 artists, arts workers and producers, across the three residencies and producer platform, resulting in the development of up to three new regional works.

Regional Artist Residencies

A core part of the Local Giants program is the delivery of Regional Artist Residencies, creating networks of artists in regional and remote communities, and connecting artists to industry mentors.

Each residency is created in collaboration with local partner organisations, drawing artists from specified catchment areas through an EOI process.

The residency model is based on the highly successful Tarraleah Artist Residency produced annually by Performing Lines Tasmania.

Thus far Local Giants has resulted in residencies in three states; South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.

SA Residency

As part of Local Giants, Country Arts SA and Performing Lines hosted the inaugural CASA Artist Retreat, targeted specifically at Regional South Australian performing arts practitioners in the Eyre and Western, Yorke Peninsula and Northern regions. The retreat was held at Pichi Richi Park in Quorn from 19th to 21st November 2021.

This three-day, two-night event provided a supportive, creative environment to test ideas, consider new collaborations and explore cross art form possibilities.

It brought together writers, choreographers, dancers, directors, actors, theatre makers and designers for new project ideas.

The artists were also joined by professional mentors Julian Hobba, Paul Gazzola and Sally Richardson.

See below for the participating artists:

  • Alysha Herman
  • Alyssa Biele
  • Anastasia Beasley
  • Eliza Wuttke
  • Elizabeth England
  • Henry Boles
  • Leila Day
  • Michal Hughes
  • Orlando Mee
  • Samuel Wannan
  • Shania Janet-Shayne Richards
  • Sonya Rankine

Country Arts SA Regional Artist Residency from Country Arts SA on Vimeo.

NSW Residency

As part of Local Giants, Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre and Performing Lines staged the inaugural BARN (Bathurst Arts Residency NSW) 2022 at St Joseph’s Heritage and Conference Centre in Perthville, April 29-May 1 2022.

This three-day, two-night event provided a supportive, creative environment to test ideas, consider new collaborations and explore cross art form possibilities.

The residency brought together writers, choreographers, dancers, directors, actors, theatre makers and designers  from all stages of their artistic practice from Central West NSW including the shires of Bathurst, Blayney, Oberon, Lithgow, Mid-Western, Cabonne, Orange, Cowra, Weddin, Forbes, Parkes, Bland & Lachlan

The artists were also joined by professional mentors Deborah Pollard, Roslyn Oades and Matthew Edgerton.

See below for the participating artists:

  • Adam Deuisen
  • Barnaby Donaghy
  • Gabrielle Aubrey
  • Pearl Junor
  • Cate McCarthy
  • Catherine McNamara
  • Cindy Fox
  • Edward Dodds
  • Kate Smith
  • Kay Nankervis
  • Margaret Aitken
  • Miranda Gott
  • Zoe Rodwell
  • Denley Hulands
QLD Residency

As part of Local Giants, Cairns Regional Council and Performing Lines staged the Far North Queensland Artist Residency 2022 at Genazzano Retreat, Lake Tinaroo between Friday 14 – Sunday 16 October.

This three-day, two-night event provided a supportive, creative environment to test ideas, consider new collaborations and explore cross art form possibilities.

The residency brought together writers, choreographers, dancers, directors, actors, theatre makers and designers from all stages of their artistic practice from Cairns and the surrounding areas.

The artists were also joined by professional mentors Nathan Stoneham, Bradley Chatfield and Margi Brown Ash.

See below for the participating artists:

  • Amber Grossman
  • Julie Forsberg
  • Ashleigh Lawrence
  • Garth Edwards
  • Avril Duck
  • Catherine Hassall
  • Naomi McGravie
  • Natalie Mann
  • Melania Jack
  • Patty Preece
  • Rebecca Youdell
  • Russell Milledge
  • Liz Christensen
  • Sara Isherwood
  • Zane Saunders
  • Naomi Jean O’Sullivan

The Regional Producers Platform is a skills development program led by Performing Lines, taking the participating producers through a practical, industry led capacity building program. The inaugural platform culminated in an in person gathering at APAX 2022. The cohort was chosen from a list of 76 applicants, demonstrating the necessity for investment in regional arts infrastructure. 

From June to September 2022, the participants engaged in weekly lectures and tutorials, coming together over Zoom to work through the various stages of producing live work, deep dive into individual project ideas, as well as explore sustainable models relevant to their regional context particularly for presentation and touring. The platform also saw opportunities for one-to-one industry mentorship.

See below to learn about the individual producers who made up the program. 

Regional Producers Platform

Regional Producers Platform Participants

Aimee Grey | QLD

Aimee Grey | QLD

Aimee Gray is part theatre extraordinaire, part circus performer, part producer, part play master. Aimee is highly experienced in community facilitation and her work centres around celebrating individuals and communities, utilising multidisciplinary art forms in theatre, film and music to create accessible works.

Aimee began creating multidisciplinary theatre in Darwin in 2014 where she created an emerging artist ensemble developing productions incorporating theatre with circus and live music. From here she has gone on to develop, produce and tour an hilarious outdoor performance on a giant Hill’s Hoist clothesline, a musical comedy show, film clips and web series.

As an independent artist and producer Aimee is also contracted by numerous organisations in QLD, NT & SA including Everybody NOW! and the Festival of Small Halls. Having toured and lived in her House Truck for 5 years, Aimee now lives on the Sunshine Coast on Kabi Kabi country.

Amber Grossman | QLD

Amber Grossman | QLD

Amber Grossmann is a teaching artist, playwright, director, performer, and long time lover of overalls from the Cairns Region. The Performing and Visual Arts have been her life long passion.

Amber’s work in the arts aims to facilitate greater youth involvement and opportunity for young creatives in regional and remote locations. Her primary areas of interest are playwriting, directing, and facilitating projects that inspire young artists to follow their passions. She is passionate about creating vibrancy of the arts in her community, and the viability of the arts careers for upcoming artists.

Amber has worked with some of Queensland’s leading theatre companies; including JUTE Theatre Company, The Young Company Theatre & Queensland Theatre. Amber also works for the Cairns Regional Council and the Cairns Regional Art Gallery as a contracted artist.

She currently lives in Cairns, where she works as an independent artist and producer for Overall Arts, as well as studying her secondary teaching degree through James Cook University and working at St. Andrew’s Catholic College.

When Amber is not producing, performing or painting, she can be found hiking in the heat, or cuddling up with her bearded dragon and a good book.

Anna Thomson | NT

Anna Thomson | NT

Anna Thomson is a Garramilla (Darwin)-based clown, independent producer, theatre-maker, puppeteer, and physical performer, working and performing on Larrakia land. She studied Lecoq-based clown, physical comedy, mask and performance making at the John Bolton Theatre School in 2015 and at the London International School of Performing Arts (LISPA) Summer School 2018.

She has operated her business Anna Thomson Comedy since 2011, offering productions and interactive, roving entertainment and workshops for festivals and events. She has self-toured solo and ensemble performances nationally. She works in theatre-in-education, as a facilitator and director of community theatre with young people and children from diverse backgrounds and abilities and was a clown with the Starlight Children’s Foundation from 2016-2021. Anna has a love of satire and delights in creating highly visual, physical and interactive theatre and comedy that explores environmental and social issues and stories, with children, young people and adults.

Claire Chapman | NSW

Claire Chapman | NSW

Claire Chapman is a theatre maker and performance artist with a particular interest in audience participation and interactivity.

Claire is a self-producing artist and emerging producer. In the past, her work drives its feminist undercurrent through comedy and story-telling, relating to her audience by sharing common experiences.

After being awarded the BBM Global Industry Scholarship for Drama Claire spent her time pre-covid in London being mentored by and working with renowned contemporary theatre-makers and performers such as Reckless Sleepers and Punchdrunk. She has performed across locations in Australia, the UK and Spain.

Returning home to Ulladulla (south coast of NSW) Claire is passionate about working with her local community, shifting her practice from performance to facilitation. Claire is the Co-Director of The Deadly South, an initiative surrounding supporting local artists to establish and maintain their careers here on the South Coast.

Funded by CreateNSW The Deadly South has been able to platform local artists through its Freak of the Week series and is currently working with over 30 different artists in the region collating their skills and portfolios to showcase in a six week Cabaret season.

Craig Bary | NSW

Craig Bary | NSW

Craig is a committed and active member of the dance community in New Zealand and Australia. He has worked with many companies and choreographers over his 20+ year professional life.

He has been a founding member of key organisations such as Catapult Dance Choreographic Hubs professional company, The New Zealand Dance Company and Garry Stewarts Australian Dance Theatre. Craig has worked with many different companies and choreographers, some of which include, ADT, Tasdance, KAGE, Leigh Warren and Dancers, Chunky Move, The Farm, Bangarra, Douglas Wright Dance, Footnote New Zealand Dance, Sue Healey, Shaun Parker Company, Legs on the Wall, Tanja Liedtke and Lisa Wilson Projects.

A new resident of Waitui located in the Barrington Coast region and part of the MidCoast Council, Craig is excited to connect with the region by building on his relationship with Catapult Dance as an associate artist and the company’s first emerging producer. Catapult’s focus is on bringing accessible dance theatre works to regional centres, where we are currently the recipients of Create NSW regional touring funding, taking our latest work ‘Awkward’ throughout regional NSW 2022-2023.

Danelle Degrassi | TAS

Danelle Degrassi | TAS

Hailing from the Southern Beaches region of lutruwita – Tasmania, Danelle Degrassi aka Nelle, is an 8th generation Tasmanian and first generation Triestino. She is an emerging producer and professional live performance artists with an extensive background in multiple disciplines, including music, writing, dance, circus, theatre, and digital arts.

She is currently employed as a Cultural Program Officer at the Moonah Arts Centre in nipaluna – Hobart and is responsible for curating small indoor shows and large-scale outdoor events, as well as running an annual performance program.

She is passionate about supporting and advocating for youth, multicultural communities and Firsts Nations artists and is deeply inspired by traditional and contemporary arts practices and working cross-culturally and collaboratively on new works.

Danelle’s original works have showcased at Hobart Fringe Festival, Taste of Tasmania, Cygnet Folk Festival, Festivale, Jackey’s Marsh Forest festival, Palm Creek Festival (QLD) and many more.

Georgia Deguara | WA

Georgia Deguara | WA 

Georgia Deguara is Director of West Australian all-female performance company, YUCK Circus. YUCK is a multi-award winning, internationally-touring production company keen on championing the female voice across live performance.

Georgia grew up in the isolated coastal town of Broome, beginning her training at Theatre Kimberley’s Sandfly Circus at the age of 11. When not touring with YUCK, Georgia works with Theatre Kimberley in producing, performing, and mentoring roles. Specialising in Outreach programs, she tours to isolated Indigenous communities providing circus as a tool of creative expression.

Whether in front of an audience of 3000+ in Edinburgh Playhouse, or to a town of a total 30 people, community is at the forefront of Georgia’s work. Currently with 4 touring works, and as an independent producer for other organisations and performers, Georgia strives to create exciting work in the industry, and to use her knowledge to inspire the next generation of artists.

Georgia’s position in the Regional Producer Platform is supported by Circuit West and Regional Arts Australia’s Quick Response Grant.

Jade Ranson | SA

Jade Ranson | SA

Jade Ranson (she/her) lives, works and plays on the land of the Nukunu people, in a Mid North country town called Port Pirie in South Australia.

Jade is an emerging producer and works as an Associate Producer for Country Arts SA. She is passionate about country artists and their stories and aspires to advocate for opportunities to see more work be created in the region by regional artists.

Although a professional career in the arts is quite new for Jade, her community is renowned for putting on a musical or two and she enjoys working off the stage, just as much as she enjoys playing on it.

Natasha Shimpf | NSW

Natasha Shimpf | NSW 

Currently based in Wagga NSW, Natasha is a co-producer and co-director of Freeroam Theatre Incorporated (2020).

Growing up in Griffith, NSW, Natasha discovered her passion for theatre and performance. Between 2002 and 2016 she competed, performed and was an instructor of dance, in regional Australia. From here she continued to delve deeper into the theatre scene and went on to obtain her Certificate III in Live production, Theatre and Events (Technical Operations). After graduating high school, she moved on to study Stage and Screen (Acting) at Charles Sturt University, and has now worked her way into the professional creative industries.

Natasha has produced new original works such as, “TOME- An improvised theatre experience” and ‘Marionettes’, an original work, in collaboration with the Wagga Art Gallery and the Young Creative Collective. She has performed in shows such as ‘The Tempest’ as “Ariel”, ‘All the Flags’ by Van Badham, as “Woody” and most recently performed in ‘TOME’.

Natasha is currently co-producing Freeroam Theatre’s 2022 season, comprising of “Speaking in Tongues” by Andrew Bovell and “Mr Melancholy” by Matt Cameron. Natasha aims to ignite the professional theatre scene in rural Australia, by creating opportunities for regional creatives to demonstrate their creative potential.

Natasha’s position in the Regional Producer Platform is supported by Eastern Riverina Arts through the Renew Wagga project, in partnership with the NSW Government.

Rebekah Gibbs | VIC

Rebekah Gibbs |VIC 

Bek Gibbs is an arts manager and producer with experience in a diverse range of disciplines including circus, immersive theatre, festivals and more. Her passions lie in working with young people and expanding minds.

After establishing her career as an arts manager touring both regionally and internationally Bek turned her focus to producing. Living and working on the Wiradjuri land of Albury Wodonga Bek is now the Associate Producer for the Flying Fruit Fly Circus.

Bek has honed her craft in organisations such as Broad Encounters, Circus OZ, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Crown Casino and Spiegelworld. She has a Bachelor of Production (Stage Management) from The Victorian College of the Arts.

Rebekah’s position in the Regional Producer Platform is supported by Flying Fruit Fly Circus and Regional Arts Australia’s Quick Response Grant.

Rosie Sitorus | WA

Rosie Sitorus | WA

Rosie Sitorus is a woman born of two migrant parents, based in Jambinbirri (Geraldton). Her creative practice, focusing on music, spoken word performance and writing, often intersects with her work as a linguist and creative project manager with rural, regional and remote Aboriginal communities.

Since moving to Geraldton in 2013, Rosie has helped to build the local creative community, organising workshops, performances and collaborations with local and visiting artists From 2015-2018, she co-wrote and performed Fat Girls in Bike Shorts, a regionally devised and produced work. Now an emerging producer and self-managed artist, Rosie has produced several storytelling and musical projects, as well as managing Warralgurniya, a cross-cultural songwriting project that won a WAM Song of the Year Award in 2021 and recently performed at Perth Festival 2022.

Sarah Reuben | NT

Sarah Reuben | NT

Sarah Reuben lives on Larakia Country/Darwin and is a theatre maker, performer and producer. For her own Theatre Company, Ruby Gaytime Productions, Reuben wrote and produced: Best, Short Change, Death Party and This Jew Sits. Sarah co-created and produced I’ll Tell you in Person, which had seasons at both Darwin Festival 2020 and Perth Festival 2021 and Lower The Bar for a season at Darwin Entertainment Centre and a regional tour with ArtBack. Most recently she co-wrote and performed in The Hypotheticals, which premiered at Darwin Festival 2021.

Sarah is a co-creator of the nationally touring show Shania Choir, creator of the webseries Deadly Tales and 2020 was awarded the NT Literary Award for The Hypotheticals, which she co-wrote with Jeffrey Jay Fowler. Most recently, Sarah completed her Post Grad through the University of Melbourne in Creativity in Health, focusing on the intersection of performing arts and medicine, a huge passion of hers. This resulted in a large-scale animated storytelling project aimed at increasing health outcomes for children living in remote Aboriginal Communities.

Sinsa Mansell | TAS

Sinsa Mansell | TAS

Sinsa is a proud Trawoolaway women from larapuna the Northern region of lutruwita Tasmania. She is a program producer and project officer, as well a co-founder, performer, and choreographer with the successful pakana kanaplila a traditional/contemporary Tasmanian Aboriginal dance troupe. Sinsa sat on the Ministerial Arts and Advisory Council for State Growth and the First Nations Advisory Group for APAM in addition to advisory panels for the Moonah Arts Centre, Ten Days on the Island Festival and the Walantanalinany Palingina (WaPa) Program. She’s also been a member of the assessment panels for Arts Tasmania, Australia Council of the Arts and Constance ARI.

Sinsa is a Mentor and support for a range of organisations and many of the palawa arts opportunities for her community come through her roles with the Situate North Program, the Tarraleah Residency and Moonah Arts Centre Seed opportunity.

Sinsa’s position in the Regional Producer Platform is supported by Performing Lines TAS and Regional Arts Australia’s Quick Response Grant.

Sky River | WA

Sky River | WA

Sky River is a Margaret River (Woodichup Bilya) based writer, producer, puppet and theatre maker, influenced by her relationship with Western Australia’s South West environment. Sky weaves imaginative storylines and mythic inspired characters to explore humans and the interrelated world to encourage a sense of belonging and care.

With a background in Theatre Studies (Griffith University) Sky is passionate about creating regional arts opportunities and community engagement, with themes exploring ecological identity. Sky leads teams of artists to produce original puppet shows as ‘Folk of the Puppetree,’ touring three small scale shows. In 2019 she produced medium scale show, ‘Digby and the Dragon,’ featuring animation, puppetry and land inspired soundtrack. Current work in progress is ‘The Marri Tree Girl.’

Sky coordinates a weekly program for adults living with disabilities and in 2021 produced the Artzability Short Film Festival. Drama and art teaching positions include Margaret River Independent School, Barking Gecko Theatre Company, youth outreach program The Concrete Club. Award winning, published performance writer (EDGE performance writers), Sky has published research on puppetry and ecology in Performance of the Real Journal (Performing Ecologies Edition). Sky holds BA Honours (ECU) and received a 2021 National Regional Arts Fellowship.

Tracey Skinner | VIC

Tracey Skinner | VIC 

Tracey Skinner (she/her) is a General Manager of a regional arts organisation, an artist and an emerging producer. She is based in the Western Wimmera town of Natimuk where she now calls home.

Early years were spent in the performing arts as a vocalist and dancer working in her hometown of Melbourne and across Japan. Her love of movement pushed her to open an arts and movement studio where she teaches movement modalities and also provides space for others to do so.

Studying Textile design both in London and RMIT in Melbourne added another dimension to her diverse interest in the arts.

After serving on the committee for a number of years, she joined the highly regarded regional arts organisation ACT Natimuk, as General Manager in 2020. She has managed a variety of arts projects in her role there. An all rounder from performing to administration she has a keen interest in producing work that supports the aerial, circus and physical theatre artists in her local community, and encourages ‘regular’ folk to believe that they can too, be performers.

Currently, she is Program Producer for ‘ Gatherings 2022’ -an outdoor activation arts and culture event occurring across the Northern Grampians Shire.

New Regional Work Commissions

Following the completion of the initial three regional artist residencies, Local Giants will then move to supporting a select group of projects, seeded through the residencies into further development and ultimately presentation.

Keep an eye on this page for future announcements of commissioned works and their progress towards presentation.

Information for Presenters

Local Giants is a national new capacity building program which seeks to unlock the cultural ambition and potential of regional Australia. If you are a presenter or represent a venue in a regional location, and are interested in the Local Giants Regional Artist Residency model, please contact Executive Producer Marion Potts.

Marion Potts Executive Producer

Project Partners & Acknowledgements

Local Giants is supported by the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund—an Australian Government initiative, the Australian Government through the Regional Arts Fund, and the NSW Government through Create NSW.  

In everything we do, we acknowledge that we live on Aboriginal land and constantly learn from the wisdom of First Peoples.

Where we are and the history that precedes us informs how we work and how we move forward.