Australian Plays Transform

lutruwita Programs – Participants Announced

APT is excited to announce the participants of our lutruwita programs in 2023. These Tasmanian artists are taking part in dramaturg development and playwriting mentorships with industry leaders.

Led by Creative Producer Jennifer Rani, this unique program will create space and guidance for emerging storytellers and dramaturgs to develop their voices. The participants will explore process and practice and investigate the principles of playwriting and story-making from various cultural and dramaturgical perspectives. APT is committed to creating stories of difference and diversity on our stages.  

Established artists from across Australia will lead creative discussions, workshops on craft, research, and cultural critique, and provide tailored and group mentorship. Skills workshops and ‘in conversation’ sessions with leading theatre practitioners will provide the cohort with professional connections to develop their practice and thrive in a changing industry.  

APT will work with the artists of the program on career planning beyond 2023.  

The luturuwita Dramaturg Development Initiative is supported by The Tasmanian Government through Arts Tasmania

The lutruwita Voices playwright development initiative is supported by the Malcolm Robertson Foundation

Venue support by Theatre Royal & UTAS

Fengyi Lui

Fengyi Liu studied Master of Arts and Cultural Management at University of Melbourne, then went to Columbia University in the U.S., studying contemporary theatre as an exchange student. In 2020, he came to the University of Tasmania, studied theatre and performing arts, during which time he also performed in a number of critically acclaimed community theatre productions. As a theatre practitioner, he has directed and performed in 21 productions in Australia. He is also the artistic director of Do Theatre.  Do Theatre is a team of 13 people from linguistically diverse backgrounds, and they are all passionate about developing multicultural theatre arts and with related experience. 

Reuben Yakubu

I am Reuben Yakubu, a Mwaghavul man living and working in lutruwita -Tasmania. Born and raised in Launceston, I have a deep interest and passion for the stories, people, and history of my city. I am an emerging artist currently studying theatre and performance at the University of Tasmania. Through my study I have worked with experienced practitioners like Asher Warren, Gerard Lane, and Jane Woollard and through them encountered a variety of methodologies and approaches to wholistic theatre practice. My journey into the performing arts began in high school drama classes and my love for it has endured to this day. I am always looking to add to, refine and perfect my theatre skills whether it be writing, dramaturgy, acting or directing. To put it into a pithy phrase I’d say, ‘no matter how deep you dig a hole you can always dig deeper’.  

Nicola Ingram

Nicola Ingram (she/her) is a proud palawa and Wiradjuri woman based in nipaluna (Hobart). She is a recent graduate from the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), graduating in 2021 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting). Passionate about live theatre, she has appeared in roles such as Joni in Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill (Dir. John Kachoyan) and J in in promiscuous/cities  (Dir. Alyson Campbell). In 2021 Nicola received the Emerging Tasmanian Aboriginal Writers Award and has continued to develop original works as part of Theatre Works First Stories program, ILBIJERRI’s 10 in 10 emerging artists festival and Melbourne Theatre Company’s emerging writers’ program First Stage. She is currently developing her writing practice with The Australian Theatre for Young People writing two new works for the Fresh Ink National Mentoring Program for 2023 alongside other emerging Tasmanian writers. This year Nicola will present Whiteout at two major Festivals Yirramboi and Dark Mofo. Whiteout showcases a collaboration with Gunnai/Kurnai, Gunditjmara, Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta essayist and screenwriter Nayuka Gorrie, playing with irreverence, notions of authenticity and experimentation, exploring what it means to exist despite the insistence you don’t.

Rob Braslin

Rob Braslin is a multi-talented performer, writer, and director who has made a name for himself in the vibrant nipaluna arts scene. A proud wakka wakka man with a passion for stand-up comedy, acting, and writing, Rob has been a regular fixture on the local comedy scene since 2013.   
Over the years, he has opened for some of Australia’s biggest comedy acts, including Hannah Gadbsy, Luke McGregor, Matt Okine and Steph Tisdell. In 2016, Rob was recognised for his comedic talent when he was awarded a runner-up spot at the Deadly Funny Aboriginal comedy competition during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.  

Whilst known for his skills as a comedian, Rob is also a talented actor and writer and made his mark on the theatre scene with standout performances in productions such as Loud Mouth Theatre Company’s The Merchant of Venice and PLoT Theatre’s The Return.  

Rob’s creative talents extend beyond the stage, as he was chosen to participate in the Shock Treatment Initiative by Screen Australia and ABC to write and direct his first fully-funded short horror film, Vale Light. Filmed in Rob’s home suburb of Clarendon Vale, the film premiered in  Sydney Film Festival’s anthology series Dark Place in 2019 and has since been screened at major film festivals across Australia.  

Rob is committed to helping build and be amongst a thriving local comedy scene and has been producing sell-out shows in lutruwita for over eight years through his comedy production CULT Comedy. Rob’s unique perspective and storytelling abilities will continue to develop as he leans into projects that challenge, inspire and educate him.  

Arin Dean

Arin Dean is currently a 3rd year student at the University of Tasmania majoring in Theatre and Performance. He has been serving as the Co-President of PLoT Theatre Society for two years where he has produced two plays, The Rise and The Balcony and is in the process of producing two more later this year. Arin has also served on the board of the Theatre Council of Tasmania.  

Over the last 6 years he has performed in 15 theatre productions for public audiences, including roles in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bad Company Theatre), Taming of the Shrew (Stencilled Productions), O- the Story of Ophelia (Andy Aisbett Productions), Speaking in Tongues (Hobart Repertory Society), Salome (PLoT Theatre Society), in the title role of The Minister (Theatre Closet), and in the title role of Macbeth (React Drama).  

Arin has also appeared in several short films, and as an extra for advertising and television productions. He has written a full-length play (with public reading – Theatre Closet Productions), several monologues and short plays.   

Arin loves the collaborative nature of theatre creation and the enduring relationships that are formed. He believes that theatre has brought him closer to the person he would like to be and eagerly awaits the experience of the lutruwita/Tasmanian Voices: Dramaturg and Playwright Development Initiative.  

Maya Manaena

Maya has been involved in theatre for over a decade, starting her career as a fairy and mermaid in Musical Theatre Crew’s 2015 production of Peter Pan. Some of Maya’s performance highlights include: Frauline Schneider, Cabaret (Elizabeth College 2021), Rosie, Mamma Mia (Musical Theatre Crew 2022), King Charles, Pippin (Elizabeth College 2022) and Mrs Harcourt, Anything Goes (Musical Theatre Crew 2021). Maya also endeavours in the technical side of theatre including production management, makeup, costumes, set, props and stage management.   

Feras Shaheen

Feras Shaheen is an artist curious in letting his conceptual interests lead him across a variety of mediums. Using choreography, installations, visual art, film, performance, digital media, and street dance to communicate his ideas, the core of Feras’ practice is to connect and engage audiences. Holding a Bachelor of Design from Western Sydney University (2014), Feras often subverts traditional relationships between mediums to challenge audiences’ perspectives.  

Born in Dubai to Palestinian parents, and moving to Western Sydney at age 11, Feras uses his practice as a way to reflect and examine how he views the world, addressing local and global issues. Winner of The Australian Ballet’s Telstra Emerging Choreographer (TEC) in 2021, Feras has performed and exhibited at Carriageworks, Venice Biennale, Pari, Kampnagel, Campbelltown Arts Centre, and Théâtre de la Ville. Recent works include Cross Cultures, Plastic Bag, ongoing collaboration Klapping, and Forum Q. Feras is currently working with Marrugeku’s Jurrungu Ngan-ga, a collaborative production that addresses issues regarding the fear of cultural differences. 

Nadia Mahjouri

Nadia Mahjouri is a Moroccan-Australian mother of five from nipaluna, lutruwita. She is a writer, group facilitator and counsellor, specialising in perinatal mental health. She has a professional background in health policy and academia, focusing on ethics and feminist philosophy.   

Her writing has been shortlisted for The Deborah Cass Prize, QWC Publishable Competition, SBS Emerging Writers Competition, and she was awarded a 2022 Arts Tasmania Australian Society of Authors Mentorship.   

Her short story Leaving Home will be published in forthcoming anthology Emergence (2023 Hardie Grant) and her debut novel The Half Truth will be published in 2025 by Penguin Random House.   

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© Australian Plays Transform 2024