Theatre Companies Panel

Katie Sfetkidis - Panel Chair

KATIE SFETKIDIS is a Melbourne based lighting designer and contemporary artist and a key creative of Little Ones Theatre. She has worked extensively in theatre and contemporary experimental performance for almost 15 years across Australia. Recent credits include: Daddy (Joel Bray); The Director (Lara Thoms - APHIDS); Exit Strategies (Mish Grigor - APHIDS); Monty Pythons’s Spamalot (One Eyed Man Production); The Happy Prince (Little Ones Theatre); Lysa and the Freeborn Dames (La Boite); Abigail’s Party (Melbourne Theatre Company); Merciless Gods (Little Ones Theatre); Meme Girls (Malthouse Theatre); Kill the Messenger (Belvoir); Calpurnia Descending (Sydney Theatre Company/ Malthouse Theatre); Suddenly Last Summer (Red Stitch Actors Theatre); The Nightingale and the Rose (Little Ones Theatre); Apokalypsis (Charles Purcell/ Zak Pidd - Next Wave Festival). Katie has received one Green Room Award and several nominations. In 2018 Katie ran for Mayor of the City of Melbourne.

Gary Abrahams

Since graduating from The Victorian College of The Arts GARY ABRAHAMS has established himself as one of Melbourne's most critically respected and sought after freelance stage directors and theatre makers.

He has directed the Australian premieres and national tours of several commercial shows, as well as classic texts, con- temporary plays, new Australian scripts, and devised projects. His work encompasses large scale commercial plays and musicals, main-stage works, independent shows and self produced theatre projects.

He is a recipient of THE GRACE WILSON TRUST AWARD for writing, THE JIM MARKS SCHOLARSHIP for Artistic Practice and THE MIKE WALSH FELLOW- SHIP for directing. He is also a GREENROOM AWARD WINNER and multiple nominee for his directing, playwriting and dramaturgy work. He has worked as an assistant and resident director at the Melbourne Theatre Company on the plays “All About My Mother” (2010),“Songs for Nobodies” (2010), “The Gift” (2011) ,“Australia Day” (2012) and the Melbourne Theatre Company and Chunky Move Melbourne Festival collaboration “ Complexity of Belonging” (2014).

Kat Chan

Kat Chan is a Set and Costume designer for theatre, dance, video and installation. Originally trained as an architect, Kat worked in practices in Adelaide and Tokyo before moving to Melbourne. Select/recent credits include Torch the Place (Costume, MTC), From Silence (Set/Costume, The Australian Ballet), The Australian Ugliness (Costume/Art Dept, Eugenia Lim/Open House Melbourne).

Melissa Reeves

MELISSA REEVES is a Melbourne Playwright. Her most recent play is ARCHIMEDES WAR directed by Susie Dee for the Darebin Speakeasy Season. Other works include AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE, an adaptation of the Ibsen play for Belvoir St., HAPPY ENDING, FURIOUS MATTRESS, and THE SPOOK – which premiered at Belvoir and was awarded the 2005 Louis Esson Prize for Drama in the Victorian Premiers Awards, and two AWGIES for best new play, SWEETOWN - awarded the Jill Blewitt Memorial Playwrights Award in 1993, IN CAHOOTS and ROAD MOVIE. She has co-written a number of plays including MAGPIE, (with Richard Frankland) CARAVAN, (with Angus Cerini, Patricia Cornelius, and Wayne Macauley) and WHO’S AFRAID OF THE WORKING CLASS, FEVER and ANTHEM (all with Andrew Bovell, Patricia Cornelius and Christos Tsiolkas, composer-Irine Vela) Who’s afraid of the Working Class won best play in the Queensland Literary Awards, two AWGIES for best new play, and the Jill Blewitt Playwrights Award in 1999.

Ras-Samuel Welda-Abzgi

RAS-SAMUEL is an actor, writer & producer. He has performed on a number of stages and festival’s, traveling around Australia as an Ethiopian cultural dancer for the last 9 years and received over 4 million views on Youtube from those performances. He went back to his homeland Ethiopia to give a last performance before retiring dance to be a full-time actor. He was given a traditional ceremony in which he would have the responsibility to be a vessel for telling stories that are gifted to him from above and he is on a mission to share those gifts with the world. Ras-Samuel’s theatre credits include Because The Night (Malthouse Theatre), Happy End (Victorian Opera), Twelfth Night (Melbourne Shakespeare Company) Importance of Being Earnest ( Sonnet 66) Huckleberry Finn ( Chapel of Chapel) Screen works include Woody Woodpecker (Universal Studios), The Abandoned (Panorama), The Last Supper, BLVCK GOLD, Jebena Genie which he wrote and produced and starred in. He has also worked as a consultant for an upcoming Netflix series. Ras-Samuel hopes to diversify Australia’s artistic landscape by inspiring the next generation of emerging artists to pursue their endeavors and see themselves on stage and screen.

Laila Thaker

LAILA THAKER is a fearless Torres Strait Islander (Meriam/Badulaig) and Indian (Ratlamwali) Actor. Since graduating with a BA in Theatre/Creative Industries in 2009 (JCU Cairns) and Cert IV in Film and Television (TAW Brisbane), she has been cast in various roles from Shakespeare to Sarah Kane. Most notably, The Return (Malthouse Theatre), Coconut Woman (YIRRAMBOI), Viral (ILBIJERRI Theatre), Cybec (MTC), Five Bedrooms (Paramount), Wentworth (Foxtel), Informer 3838 (Nine Network), My Life is Murder (Channel Ten), Bad Mothers (Nine Network), The Queen and I (NITV/ABC), House Husbands (Nine Network) and LA feature films San Andreas and Christmas Downunder. Her role in Prayers to Broken Stone (Boutique Theatre) won her Best Emerging Indigenous Artist for the Melbourne Fringe Awards 2017. As a staunch member of MEAA and ICMEAA, Laila continues to platform First Nations voices and storytelling in the arts.

Kitan Petkovski

KITAN PETKOVSKI (he/him) is a theatre director of Macedonian descent based in Naarm. His practice focuses on developing new writing and directing work that experiments with cross-form and queer dramaturgies. In 2022, Kitan's production of The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven by Jo Clifford won 2x Green Room Awards (Best Independent Production and Best Composition), and Kitan also was nominated for Best Direction. Recent directing credits include Nora: A Doll's House by Stef Smith (Herald Theatre, Auckland), No Ball Games Allowed by Kristen Smyth and Alternative Futures (Theatre Works) and The Hall by Ro Bright and Pat Irwin (Festival of Colour, Wanaka). Kitan is the creative director of Bullet Heart Club with collaborator Ro Bright. Their debut gig-theatre show Daffodils won a Scotsman Fringe First Award at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh and has been adapted into a feature film. Kitan holds an MFA in directing from the VCA.

Cessalee Stovall

CESSALEE STOVALL (she/her) is a stage, film and tv actor, director, intimacy director, cultural consultant and an Equity, Access and Inclusion consultant, with a focus on the not for profit and performing arts sectors. Cessalee is an unapologetic champion for the physical, psychological and cultural safety of all humans in our industry. In 2017, Cessalee founded Stage A Change, an organisation working to create more professional theatre opportunities for aspiring artists of colour.

Ian Moorhead

Ian is a Melbourne based artist specialising in music composition and sound design for theatre, dance, film and radio. He has performed around Australia and internationally, including New York, London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Wellington, Calgary and Vancouver. He has worked with numerous companies, including Melbourne Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre, State Theatre Company of South Australia, New Working Group, Back to Back Theatre, Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre, Dee and Cornelius, Windmill Theatre Co, Barking Gecko, Lab Kelpie, La Mama, Leigh Warren and Dancers, Patch Theatre Company, Restless Dance Theatre, Vitalstatistix, Circus Monoxide, NICA, Arts Centre Melbourne, Radiophrenia, Wave Farm, Ten Days on the Island, the Australian Festival for Young People, Underbelly Arts Festival, FOLA, Big West Festival, Museum Victoria, the Australian Museum and ABC Radio.

Lisa Osborn

Lisa Osborn has worked as a Stage Manager and Production Manager in the performing arts industry since 2002. Within Australia she has worked as Stage Manager on productions for leading theatre companies including Malthouse Theatre, Sydney Theatre Company, Victorian Opera, Chunky Move, BalletLab, Belvoir St Theatre, Griffin Theatre Company, Australian Dance Theatre, State Theatre Company of South Australia, Brink Productions and Windmill Theatre. Her extensive touring experience has included international tours to over fifty cities across Europe, Asia, and North America, and presentations at major arts festivals including Edinburgh International Festival, Sydney Festival, Perth Festival, Adelaide Festival, Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Brisbane Festival, and MONA FOMA. Lisa is the Lecturer in Production (Stage Management) and coordinator of the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Production) course at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), University of Melbourne.

Jennifer Vuletic (On Leave)

Since graduating from NIDA Jennifer has worked with the Who’s Who of Australian directors in all aspects of the industry. Her numerous stage credits include the Malthouse/STC co- production of The Histrionic, Arbus & West (MTC) Merciless Gods (Little Ones Theatre/Griffin Theatre Company) Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Mamma Mia (2003-2005 and 10 th Anniversary tours) and Barry Kosky’s Women of Troy (STC). She won a Sydney Theatre Critic’s Award (The Baroness, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, for which she also received Helpmann and Green Room nominations), a Green Room Award (Merciless Gods), and Green Room Award nominations for both Women of Troy and Nightingale and the Rose. The voice of innumerable SBS Television documentaries, and audio book narrator (three-time winner of 3M Talking Book of the Year and Best Narrator awards) Jennifer also narrated the multiple international award winning Once My Mother and the AFI award winner My Life Without Steve.