Join Amarantha Robinson in conversation with Dax Carnay, Erica McCalman, Lauren Mullings & Effie Nkrumah to explore Cultural Diversity and Cultural Safety from the independant theatre maker’s perspective.

Presenters: Amarantha Robinson (chair) with Dax Carnay, Erica McCalman, Lauren Mullings & Effie Nkrumah

Dax Carnay 

Dax has a rich heritage in the arts, rooted in their academic journey at the University of the Philippines. Since 2003, they have been an active member of the University of the Philippines Repertory Company, making significant strides as a cultural worker and activist within the arts scene. Dax’s contributions have spanned various roles, including actor, director, marketing consultant, and producer, collaborating with esteemed organizations such as the Metro Manila Pride Organization, Repertory Philippines, Philippine Educational Theater Association, Manila Fringe Festival, Nine Works Theatrical, ABS-CBN, GMA, Dulaang UP, The Virgin Labfest, Cinemalaya, Cinefilipino, CinemaOne Originals, Tanghalang Pilipino, Cultural Center of the Philippines, and the International Theater Institute. 

In 2020, Dax embarked on a new chapter in Melbourne, drawn by the city’s vibrant cultural diversity and the opportunity to inspire others through their story. They immersed themselves in furthering their craft with dedication, undergoing training in the Meisner technique at Meisner Studio Manila, Screen Acting at the National Institute of Dramatic Art, and the National Actors Intensive at The Australian Film, Television and Radio School. Dax’s commitment to excellence led them to be selected for the prestigious Malthouse Emerging Writers Program in 2023, and the Queer Developmental Program by PACT and Performance Space in Sydney for 2024, opportunities that allowed them to further hone their craft in theatre. They are also set to do their first developmental showing for their commissioned work titled “Chasing Dick: A Love Story” for the Inaugural Festival of Australian Queer Theatre in Ballarat in August 2024. 

In Melbourne, Dax continued to forge meaningful collaborations with groups, artists, and festivals, including the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, SBS, ABC, 24 Carrot Productions, Eagle’s Nest Theatre, Zanny Begg, La Mama Theatre, Western Edge, and Antipodes Theatre. This vibrant engagement with the local arts scene culminated in Dax being honored as BroadwayWorld’s Best Performer in a Play for Melbourne in 2023, a significant accolade that underscores their exceptional talent and the profound impact of their contributions to the arts community in Melbourne. You have recently seen them in “Transwoman Kills Influencer” as part of the Midsumma Festival 2024, “Queerstories” in MICF 2024, “The Spooky Files” on ABC Me, and soon in “FAKE” on Paramount+. 

Erica McCalman 

Erica McCalman (She/Her) is a creative leader and advocate with more than 15 years of contemporary and experimental Performing Arts practice working across Australia and internationally.  
As a producer she is dedicated to facilitating arts outcomes which are rigorous, relevant, and reflective of the communities they serve. Specialising in festivals and major events she has worked for Sydney WorldPride, Performance Space (Sydney), Next Wave (Melbourne) Darwin Festival, Sydney Festival and many more. In 2019 she was the recipient of the Green Room Award for Innovation in Curation and Programming. Erica has professional links with other multi-art producers globally, through her work with the Festival Academy and association with the Asian Producers’ Platform. 
As a consultant and facilitator, she has been an active advocate for a strong creative sector. Erica initiates online spaces for discourse around class, power dynamics between artists and institutions, and interrogating what a healthy, inclusive arts practice is. She provides accessible and affordable mentoring and producing solutions to independent artists, and advice to funding bodies, arts organisations and government.  
Born and raised on Wurundjeri country in Narrm (Melbourne) Erica is a proud Ballardong Noongar woman with Irish Convict, Scottish and Cornish heritage. She is also Neurodivergent. 

Lauren Mullings 

Lauren Mullings is a multi-arts professional working extensively across the creative sector, designing and leading contemporary art and cultural projects. Her work has spanned twenty years in major international events and festivals, public and performance art, creative strategy, and community-engagement. 

Her arts development practices in community, local government and other settings uphold values in excellent cultural care, equity and self-determination. She is part of THIS IS WHO WE ARE (TIWWA) a UK-Australian movement of intergenerational and intersectional thought-leaders, co-funded by the British and Australia Councils for the Arts. 

Her Afro-Caribbean heritage – she migrated from the UK with her British-Australian mother and Jamaican father – is the foundation for many of her critical responses as an artist and collaborator; examining and amplifying unseen contributions to The Arts, cross-cultural education and pathways for emerging cultural leaders. 

Effie Nkrumah 

Effie Nkrumah is an energetic and charming performer, interdisciplinary artist, writer, community engagement expert and lover of food brought up on Gadigal, Eora and Darug countries. As a Community Engagement Specialist, Effie creates activations and curates discussions and spaces for the artistic expressions of Australia’s Afro-diasporan communities as we contribute to thought through writing. Recent collaborations include Darlinghurst Theatre Company / Green Door Theatre Company’s tour of seven methods of k*lling kylie jenner, the Sydney season of Malthouse Theatre’s Stay Woke and ls God Is for Melbourne and Sydney Theatre Companies. 

Effie is a contributor in Maxine Beneba Clarke’s Growing up African in Australia anthology, and holds an MA in Arts Politics from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. As an actor she has played roles in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, seven methods of killing kylie jenner, Telethon Kid, Buried City, The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe, and as Ama in her comedy show Ama and Chan. She has stage managed over 20 main stage productions in Accra, Ghana whilst writing poetry, and working on radio theatre voiceovers. Her practice relies on memory and the archive and is driven by the concept of challenging the single story of Africa through stories of continental Africans in diaspora, creating work that is entertaining, aesthetically pleasing and discussion prompting. Her installation series See What I See has been performed in Sydney, New York, and Accra. 

Amarantha Robinson 

Amarantha is a writer, performer and producer who has been bringing ideas to life for 20 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Media and Communication, a Master of Arts in Film and Television Production and experience in creative roles for Malthouse Theatre, MAV (Multicultural Arts Victoria), Parliament of Victoria, Darebin City and Wyndham City councils. She is on the board of MAV. Her solo show Oshun, about the West African goddess of love, femininity and fertility, recently had a sold out season at La Mama. As Community Engagement Lead for the play, The Hate Race, at Malthouse Theatre, she created and produced a suite of activations to care for and engage African diasporic and BIPOC audiences. She believes that community engagement is the untapped means of making the business of theatre more resilient and relevant to Australia’s peoples. 

Access Information:

Livestream: Book livestream tickets HERE. Livestream playback will be available until Sunday Jul 14.