The Board’s membership is diverse and includes staff from a range of faculties, and representation from Union House Theatre and the University of Melbourne Student Union, including UMSU student representatives, and UMSU Creative Arts Officers. The Board also consists of members from the Melbourne Theatre Company, and academics from Deakin University, Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.
Lecturer in Arts Education (Drama), Melbourne Graduate School of Education (Chair) – Christopher Summers
Dr. Chris Summers is the Chair of the Theatre Board and a Lecturer in Arts Education (Drama) at University of Melbourne. A former UMSU Creative Arts Officer and student representative on the Theatre Board, Chris is passionate about student theatre and the social / emotional / wellbeing benefits of participating in the arts.
A graduate of NIDA’s playwriting program and an award-winning playwright, Chris is available to assist any students in forming their ideas / working on their applications for Theatre Board support.
You can contact Chris on Christopher.email@example.com
Senior Lecturer in Arts Education (Drama), Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Richard Johnson Sallis
Artistic Director / Theatre Coordinator, Union House Theatre – Xanthe Beesley
Xanthe Beesley is the Artistic Director / Theatre Coordinator at UMSU’s Union House Theatre where she supports hundreds of students each year to participate creatively in university life. She is a movement director and theatre maker, working with theatre companies, independent artists, communities and students. Xanthe has worked with, produced and taught for some of Australia’s leading arts and cultural organisations including the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne Theatre Company, La Mama Theatre, Rawcus, Melbourne Fringe, Footscray Community Arts Centre, Queensland Performing Arts Centre and KITE Theatre. Xanthe studied theatre making at the Queensland University of Technology and the Victorian College of the Arts.
She has been a member of the Theatre Board since 2018, advocating for a rich, diverse and energetic student theatre community on campus. You can contact Xanthe at firstname.lastname@example.org to chat about how to get involved in theatre or dance at uni, career advice, starting your own theatre group or to figure out which Union House Theatre activities are right for you.
You can also reach out to Xanthe to discuss your grant applications and budgets before submitting these to the Board.
Marketing and Development Officer, Union House Theatre – Simran Giria
Manager, Arts and Culture, UMSU - Susan Hewitt
Susan is the Divisional Manager for Arts & Culture for the University of Melbourne Student Union. She has been directly involved in working alongside Union House Theatre department and supporting student theatre activity on campus for the past 10 years.
Susan trained as a visual artist at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) and completed her teacher training at Monash University. She has taught in a sessional capacity at RMIT University, Swinburne University and the VCA and is well known for co-designing The Great Petition, Burston Reserve, Melbourne, a commission commemorating 100 years of women’s suffrage in Victoria.
You can contact Susan on email@example.com
Program Lead, Arts Culture and Student Campus Experience - Sue Thornton
Lecturer in English & Theatre Studies, School of Culture & Communication - Sarah Balkin
Lecturer in Education, Pedagogy & Curriculum, Faculty of Arts Education, Deakin University - Meg Upton
Dr Meg Upton trained as a drama, theatre and dance teacher at Rusden (now Deakin) and taught in education for 15 years.
In 2000 she joined Playbox Theatre Company/Malthouse Theatre, developing and overseeing the education and outreach program including the creation of 3DFest, a theatre festival for university students which ran for eight years.
Meg joined the Melbourne Theatre Company education team in 2009 working as a teaching artist, education consultant, and resource writer until 2019. She has also consulted and researched with Arena Theatre, Polyglot, Victorian Opera, Arts Centre Melbourne, Ilbijerri Theatre, Performing Lines, Tasmania Performs, Regional Arts Victoria, and KAGE Physical Theatre. She has extensive board experience with nonprofit and small to medium arts organisations including Rawcus, Platform Youth Theatre, Fusion, Green Room Awards Association, Drama Victoria and Drama Australia, and experience in artist and creative workers in schools review processes (Creative Victoria and Regional Arts Victoria).
She lectures in drama education , pedagogy and curriculum at Deakin University and her research interests are youth theatre, theatre and young audiences, performance analysis, theatre and climate justice, and theatre and inclusion. Meg also works as a curriculum specialist with the VCAA in performing arts.
Meg can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music - Elliott Gyger
Elliott Gyger teaches composition at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. His work as a composer explores multifaceted interactions between music and text, as well as the creation of narrative and drama through purely musical means. In collaboration with librettist Pierce Wilcox, he has written two critically acclaimed operatic adaptations of Australian novels: Fly Away Peter (2015), after David Malouf, and Oscar and Lucinda (2019), after Peter Carey. Both operas were performed with great success by Sydney Chamber Opera.
Elliott has been a Theatre Board member since his arrival at Melbourne University in 2008. He believes in incorporating music and musicians into theatre-making as early in the process as possible.
Lecturer in Theatre and Acting, Victorian College of the Arts – Steph Kehoe
Steph is a Lecturer in Theatre and Acting at the Victorian College of the Arts and was awarded a Faculty Teaching Excellence Award in 2020 for her work in designing and co-ordinating the BFA Theatre (2017-202).
Steph trained with Jacques Lecoq at Ecole Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq and completed her teacher training in the Lecoq pedagogy at the London International School of Performing Arts where she then taught for several years as well as at the London Academy Music & Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) and Rose Bruford College as well as for companies and festivals across Europe, South America and Asia. In Australia, Steph has worked with the John Bolton Theatre School, Born in a Taxi, Zen Zen Zo, Circus Oz, Women’s Circus, Rawcus, St Martin’s Youth Theatre, ArtPlay, Union House Theatre, QUT, University of the Sunshine Coast and the Melbourne Theatre Company.
Student Representative, UMSU - Marcie Di Bartolomeo
Student Representative – Hazel Pigrum
Hazel has been performing in both theatre and dance productions for more than 10 years, and has recently become involved in student theatre on-campus. As a dancer and actor, Hazel is interested in movement based work, choreography, and directing. She has worked with Four Letter Word Theatre and will continue to be a part of student productions at Melbourne University.
You can contact Hazel at email@example.com
Student Representative, UMSU - An Dang
Creative Arts Officer - Savier D’Arise-Marquez
Savier D’Arsie-Marquez is the Creative Arts Office Bearer for 2023 and a Melbourne-based artist whose interests lies in making political theatre using a range of techniques. In the last two years they have written three plays exploring themes of conservation, environmental pre-trauma, poverty and addiction. They have run an experimental political theatre company called 2050 Theatre wherein they have run free dramaturgical workshops, as well as performing in ‘Fisher’,‘Those Well Oiled Members’ and ‘The weight of Dreams’ in 2022.
Savier is keenly aware of the difficulties of putting on theatre and within their role and Creative Arts OB, looks to help as many students as possible with support through grant opportunities and events run throughout the year.If you would like to reach out, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.