Layla Majnun Team Bios

USTAADH FERAIDOON MOJADEDI (Afghani/American – Writer/Co-Narrator) 

Feraidoon is one of the most well-known and respected community leader, lecturers, and entrepreneurs in the Bay Area – California. He was born in Herat, Afghanistan and immigrated with his family to America during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1985. After graduating from American High School and Chabot College he attended San Francisco State University where he majored in history. He grew up in a household with a deep love and reverence for poetry. At the age of five he began to memorize poems by Rumi and other great poets. His love of poetry continued to grow and eventually developed into a passion and calling that would allow him to teach regular classes on Rumi throughout California, the U.S., U.K., Australia, Malaysia and even as far as Konya, Turkey, where Mawlana Rumi is laid to rest. The nuances of the Farsi language, in which he is fluent, allows him the unique ability to bring Rumi’s poetry to life and to help listeners recognize Rumi’s essential message of love, coexistence, and connection with the Divine. Ustadh Feraidoon spends his free time reading, studying, and lecturing on many topics including Rumi and a wide collection of Farsi poetry, spirituality, and self-development. He currently lives with his wife and two children in Dublin, California. 

 JAMES BERLYN (Australian – Director) 

James is an award-winning performing artist and lecturer of more than twenty-five years’ experience. Trained in dance at VCA, he has worked in dance, performance, theatre and community art across Australia and the world. His recent work includes: The Mikado (ICW Productions), You Once Said Yes (Perth Festival), Crash Course (PICA), Dreamstore (WOMADelaide), Just For Kids (Awesome Festival), Tenebrae et Lux (Perth Festival), Variant (Sue Healey) and Matthew Lutton’s Elektra (Perth Festival/WA Opera). His hybrid one-on-one theatre work and installation Tawdry Heartburn’s Manic Cures (2009) has been seen at major festivals across the country including Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide Cabaret Festivals, Ten Days On The Island, WOMAD, Enlighten ACT, and the Festival of Live Art Melbourne. He is the founder of Proximity Festival, a founding co-director of Tracksuit, and currently WAYTCo’s Executive Director. 

ZAINAB SYED (Pakistani/Australian – Creative Producer, Performing Lines WA) 

Zainab is a producer and performance poet. Since graduating from Brown University in 2014, Zainab has been performing & facilitating workshops for children, incarcerated women, trauma victims as well as migrants and refugees across the world. In 2015 she was a finalist in the National Australian Poetry Slam. In 2016, she co-founded WORD Ink, launching Pakistan’s first Poetry Slam as well as other grassroots programs to create safe spaces for creative expression. In January 2017, Zainab moved to Perth to join Performing Lines WA as an Associate Producer. 

HADIA BANGASH (Pakistani/Australian – Illustrator)

Hadia is an architect by profession, trained and schooled at National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan. Although she is trained to design buildings and interiors, she applies design principles through a variety of media including writing, graphic illustrations, mixed media and calligraphy. She has a particular interest in Islamic geometric art and miniatures that has influenced the design and interiors of architectural monuments in South Asia and has been the focus of her research. 

SINAN AIZAD (Pakistani/Australian – Composer

Sinan is the lead guitarist for the band Talbees, and a sound engineer. Sinan has skills in music composition, producing, mixing, recording and playing instrumentals. He has performed live at venues across Perth, Melbourne and Pakistan. He is the co-founder of illUMEnateU+Me For Humanity where he is active in facilitating a platform for emerging artists to express themselves through music & performance.  

MUJEEB KHAN MAHADIK (Indian/Australian – Composer) 

Mujjeb is a musician and keyboardist with particular interest in orchestral cinematic scoring. Along with his work with band Talbees as a keyboardist and lyricist, Mujeeb produces music scores for films. He has studied music theory, is a Bollywood virtuoso, and is a part of illUMEnateU+Me For Humanity. He has been trained in eastern scales, and instruments such as the tablahnai and oudh. 

TRISTEN PARR (Australian – Sound Design/Mentor) 

Tristen is a classically trained acoustic and electric cellist specialising in Contemporary Music performance and Sound Design for Theatre and Dance. He has toured extensively throughout Australia, North America, Asia and Europe and has recorded for Germany’s SWR and ABC Classic FM. As well as freelance engagements Tristen also divides his time between new music ensemble Decibel, silent film band Viola Dana, noise duo HzHzHz, and the band Fall Electric. Tristen is a founding member and sound designer/composer of the arts collective PRAXIS. He has composed scores for works by Yirra Yaakin Theatre, AIVDT, Buzz Dance Theatre, Louisville Ballet, LINK Dance Company, Barking Gecko, Praxis Collective, CANWA, Weeping Spoon, and has contributed to sound design for Perth Theatre Company and Black Swan STC. Tristen has won numerous W.A Music Industry awards and in 2013 was nominated for a Helpmann Award for Best Music Direction. 

MIA HOLTON (Australian – Visual Realisor/Mentor) 

Mia is a visual artist specialising in videography and video design. Since 2005 she has designed and integrated video projection into various Fringe Festivals, independent theatre and dance performances as well as Renegade Productions, Yirra Yaakin, Black Swan STC, WAYTCo, Perth Theatre Company and Ochre Dance Company productions. Mia was a founding member of CDV (Corazon de Vaca) a Spanish/Australian contemporary theatre company (2005-2012), part of Black Swan State Theatre’s Hotbed ensemble 2010, artist in residence at Rorelson choreographic centre Malmo, Sweden 2010, and video designer for the gala opening of the new State Theatre Centre of WA, 2011. She graduated from ECU receiving the Best Electronic Artist award at SoCA, 2006.  

LUCY BIRKINSHAW (Australian – Lighting Designer) 

Lucy graduated from Curtin University in 1999 and the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts in 2005 and has a diverse body of work in Theatre, Film and TV production. She has lit shows for many companies over the years including Black Swan State Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne Opera, Griffin Theatre, Perth Theatre Company, Side Pony Productions, Barking Gekko, The Aphids and Performance 4A. She was the Lighting Designer for Side Pony Production’s The Pride which won Members Choice Award & Best Production Award at the Blue Room Awards in 2010. 

MATTHEW McVEIGH (Australian – Set Designer) 

Matt graduated from the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts in 2008 and has since been working on a number of projects in both performing arts and visual arts. Companies Matt has been working for IALARU, Lost and Found Opera, Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Steamworks, Deckchair Theatre, Ochre Contemporary Dance, the Western Australian Ballet, Maxima, Sensorium Theatre, Black Swan STC and Yirra Yaakin Theatre. ASSISTANT THEATRE:Australian Ballets Firebird and BigHart’sThree trees.VISUAL ART:Solo exhibitions:MINE and BUILT (Linton and Kay Galleries) Upcoming exhibitions:AUSTRALIYANIALITY (Janet Holmes a Court gallery).COLLECTIONS:Art Gallery of WA, City of Joondalup, City of Perth, Holmes a’ Court Collection, Perth College, Tom Price Senior High school, Shire of Ashburton, Keizo Ushio (Japan) and private collections nationally and Internationally.

BEN NELSON (Australian – Production Manager) 

Ben is a professional production manager and audio operator with 6 years experience in the theatre industry. After completing a short course in Technical Production at SAE in Adelaide in 2012, Ben began his career working with local bands in Albany (WA) before joining the technical team at the Albany Entertainment Centre as the acting Head of Audio from 2014-2018. During that time, Ben expanded his skills working with touring performances in Live Music, Theatre, Opera, Dance, Comedy and Circus. Various credits include: Denmark Festival of Voice (2016 & 2017), WA Ballet’s Don Quixote (2017), Crown Theatre for Rocky Horror ShowMamma Mia and Aladdin (Audio); Maxine Doyle’s Sunset (Audio Operator) and Cat Hope’s Speechless (Production Assistant and Lighting Operator) at Perth Festival (2019). Ben is now working as a Production Manager for Performing Lines WA on a few different projects. 

ANASTASIA JULIEN-MARTIAL (Australian – Stage Manager) 

Anastasia graduated from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in 2018 (AD Live Production). They have worked with Black Swan State Theatre Company on XenidesOur TownYou Know We Belong Together, The Torrents and Medea. Festival and events credits include: Fringe World Festival 2018 House of Joys, You’re Welcome and Miss Westralia, Fringe World Festival 2019 Endless Answers: Limbs, and Kickstart Festival 2019 Festival Day. 

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

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