Who We Are

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Who We Are

Dates 05 January 2012
Beyond the Square is coordinated by Alison Richardson and supported by Gerard O’Dwyer. The program employs professional and experienced arts workers and tutors to run workshops and projects.

Alison Richardson – Creative Director/coordinator Beyond the Square

Alison has worked extensively as a theatre director and tutor for community theatre companies, Powerhouse Youth Theatre, Shopfront Theatre, PACT Theatre and Australian Theatre for Young People.
Due to Alison’s interest and passion for working with people with a disability in 2007 she established sliced bread attraction which aims to create creative opportunities for people with a disability in all art forms. In 2008 she produced Bakehouse, a week long inclusive arts event held at Carriageworks in Sydney that consisted of workshops, forums, film nights and satellite events.
From 2007 to 2010 Alison was the Creative Programs Coordinator for Western Sydney for NSW peak arts and disability organisation, Accessible Arts and during this time established the hip hop group, First Flight Crew. Alison has also worked as a Community producer for Milkcrate Theatre, Australia’s only theatre company dedicated to working with the homeless and disadvantaged.
In 2007 Alison was awarded the Australia Council for the Arts Young Leaders Award for her commitment to community arts.

Gerard O’Dwyer – Theatre Assistant

Gerard currently work 16 hours a week as a casual theatre operator at Riverside Theatre. His duties include collecting the papers and mail, cleaning kitchens and the green room, helping with mail outs and putting patrons’ tickets in envelopes. He also acts as an advocate and spokes person for Beyond the Square and assists Alison with the program.

In 2009 Gerard he was awarded Best Male Actor at Tropfest, the world’s largest short film festival for his role in the film Be My Brother, which went on to win Best Film. This accolade has seen Gerard become an advocate and role model for people with a disability with him being invited to speak at numerous functions, fundraisers and events across the country from Hobart to Horsham.

Gerard was also an ambassador for the Don’t DISmyABILITY campaign 2010, starred in a government advertisement for CareCareers and was awarded Best Male Actor runner up in the Short & Sweet short play festival where he got to perform at Newtown Theatre & NIDA’s Parade Theatre.

Kirsty Fromholtz – Tutor (Dance / Movement)

Having danced from a young age, Kirsty was always drawn to movement and dance as an outlet for creativity and expression. Whilst completing a psychology degree, Kirsty began moving away from stricter dance disciplines into improvisation and creative dance forms. These elements combined led her to pursue a career in dance movement therapy, completing a certificate course through the International Dance Therapy Institute of Australia.

Kirsty has been a practicing dance therapist in Sydney for the past three years working with clients with intellectual and physical disabilities, adolescence with eating disorders and young people with behavioural difficulties.

Kirsty has trained in a number of dance styles including ballet, contemporary, jazz and hip hop, which has led to her involvement in projects that aim to use these styles of dance in a therapeutic way, including her involvement in projects running hip hop workshops for indigenous and refugee young people.

Maurie Barlin – Tutor (Drama)

Since graduating from Theatre Nepean, Maurie has performed in all areas of the performing arts from community and street theatre, film and television, museum and tourism work as well as fringe theatre and corporate training. He has been teaching at Darlo Drama since 1994 and specialises in working with beginners and non-actors. He is a founding member, teacher and performer of Milk Crate Theatre working with the homeless community and at present is the company’s “Joker/MC”. As a freelance actor, his credits include a year long stint performing in He Died with a Felafel in His Hand, Sydney’s longest running fringe play. TV credits include Cody, Just Kidding, Breakers, Kings in Grass Castles, All Saints, Home and Away as well as the feature films Ned & Fragment. A familiar face, he has appeared in over 30 TV commercials both here and overseas.

Melanie Taylor – Assistant tutor

Melanie has been with Beyond ABBA (formally WAPD) for the past 6 years as an assistant tutor.
Melanie suffers from Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy but despite this condition she focuses on her strengths rather than her weaknesses.
Over the past 6 years Melanie has enjoyed working with the clients one on one and in small groups. What she enjoys the most is seeing the clients act and flourish in aspects of the classes. She has also formed strong, special friendships with the clients and carers.
At school Melanie was involved in many stage productions which turned into her passion. At 19 she had the role of an extra in a production with the Australian Opera Company.
Melanie looks forward to her continued involvement with the Beyond ABBA program and all involved.

Tim Baines – Tutor (film)

Tim is an independent media production professional who has also tutored, and worked as a trained support worker in creative programs for people with disabilities. He has also worked with people from a range of culturally diverse backgrounds. He has conducted workshops that assist students with their creative goals and provide opportunities for self and group expression in short film, music videos and digital story-telling. Tim has worked in Sydney, Hobart and across regional NSW.

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