Join Rachel Edward in converstaion with Sarah Mainwaring, Janice Florence, Heidi Everett, Jessica Moody, Olivia Muscat & Nilgun Guven as they discuss their practice as Disabled Theatre Artists, Advocates and Change Makers making waves and creating new pathways for creative practice and accessiblity in the arts.

Presenters: Rachel Edward (chair) with Heidi Everett, Janice Florence, Nilgun Guven, Jessica Moody, Olivia Muscat & Sarah Mainwaring

Rachel Edward 

Rachel Edward (she/her) is a highly skilled arts and cultural development practitioner with the sharp focus of supporting inclusion and access in the arts. Her depth of experience spans over 30 years and has placed her in various roles, including project manager, producer, production manager, mentor, performer, director, access officer, audio describer, documenter, photographer, filmmaker, theatre maker and support worker. Her practice is deeply collaborative and connecting with other creative humans is her spice of life. She has been a performer with world class, award winning theatre company Rawcus since 2002, is co-creator and performer with cabaret style performance duo Peppermint Patties, is currently working with Vitae Veritas as an audio describer, a mentor and support artist with Fog Theatre and is a Creative Producer with Arts Access Victoria, coordinating an arts program for artists living in Supported Residential Services across Melbourne.

Heidi Everett 

Independent Producer and founder/CEO of Schizy Inc, Australia’s foremost mental health disability led arts organisation for creatives with complex mental health. Director of Qualia Theatre, platforming human rights of diverse people in the public mental health system. Neurodivergent disability advocate and consultant. Multi-sector artist (theatre, music, comedy, short film, literature), workshop facilitator and public speaker. Recipient of Victorian Government Disability Award Volunteer and Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council Human Rights Award. Recently profiled on Pledge1% ‘Women Who lead’ campaign for International Women’s History Month (US) and recipient of inaugural Creative Victoria Independent Producers Initiative. 

Janice Florence 

Janice Florence has been working for 11 years at Arts Access Vic in information, training and consultation with the arts industry, becoming the Manager of Consultation and Training. She is also the Artistic Director of Weave Movement Theatre, a disability physical theatre company, now in existence for 26 years. Janice’s past day jobs have been in disability advocacy, libraries and education. She trained in dance in Australia and the USA. She was chosen to participate in the Australia Council Sync Disability Arts leadership residency in 2016. In 2019 she was the inaugural recipient of the Australia Council Disability Arts Award-Established Artist. Janice has advised many Arts organisations and has been instrumental in access improvements throughout the Arts industry for audiences and artists. In her arts practice, she has developed innovative approaches and collaborated with respected guest artists to create original work and to provide professional development for many Disabled artists. 

Nilgun Guven 

Nilgun is the founder/CEO of Vitae Veritas (VV) a not-for-profit arts organisation whose mission and objectives work at the intersectionality of human rights, inclusion and access, aesthetic innovation, creative production and cultural change; championing equitable access to arts and culture; and promoting leadership and innovative programming for disabled, blind and low vision artists, audiences and broader communities of interest.  

VV is a key provider of audio description, tactile tours, and related capacity-building programs across metropolitan and regional Victoria. These initiatives encompass training, professional development, and consultation within the performing and visual arts industries; collaborating with diverse stakeholders and clients spanning disability, advocacy, health, education, local and state government also.  

VV is committed to employing individuals with lived experiences and unique specialisations, respecting the principle and practice of ‘nothing about us without us’. This inclusive approach ensures VV’s projects, programs and events are co-designed and co-delivered consistently of high standard, is fair, relevant and fit-for-purpose, and continuously responsive and improving. 

Additionally, VV is deeply committed to supporting and nurturing audio describers in the field, investing actively in the sustainability of their practice and professional development needs.  

VV fosters a diverse pool of describers and guides with varied identities, backgrounds, and lived experiences, who all boast inclusive arts practices, collaborating with diverse companies, and individuals with disabilities, who altogether bring a wealth of knowledge, skills, understanding and sensitivity to this work. 

VV is also the proud home of Fog Theatre and Sparc Theatre, and mentoring individual artists in their creative pursuits, passions and projects; and contributing to various funded and academic research and development projects. 

Sarah Mainwaring 

Sarah has a Bachelor of Arts (Performing Arts) from Victoria University, and has a particular interest in avant-garde and physical theatre. She has developed a number of original solo performances including FOREIGN BODY (directed by John Bolton) and I’M ME AND I’M OK and OUT ON A LIMB (directed by Lloyd Jones).  

Sarah joined the Back to Back Theatre ensemble in 2007, played the lead role of Lesley in Back to Back Theatre’s FOOD COURT (2008) and has toured both nationally and internationally with the DEMOCRATIC SET RESIDENCY and LADY EATS APPLE (2016). Sarah has played a collaborative role in the creative development of GANESH VERSUS THE THIRD REICH (2011), SUPER DISCOUNT (2013) and as creator and performer in THE SHADOW WHOSE PREY THE HUNTER BECOMES (2019), ELEPHANT (2021), MULTIPLE BAD THINGS (2024), as well as devising and performing in the company’s first feature length screen adaptation SHADOW (2020) which premiered in 2022. 

Jessica Moody

Jessica Moody is a theatre-maker, producer, writer, educator, and consultant. Jessica seeks to continue her practice that is focused on nourish-to-flourish, and to play with the alchemy of beauty and possibility.

She co-founded Deafferent Theatre in 2016, creating several award winning productions. Jessica has worked with organisations such as St. Martins Youth Theatre, University of Melbourne, Orange Productions, Victorian Opera, Director’s Lab, Midsumma Festival, and Chunky Move. 

She is a graduate of the University of Southern Queensland with distinction, and recipient of several scholarships. 

Olivia Muscat 

Olivia Muscat is a writer, performer, critic, educator and disability arts activist. She has had work published in several notable anthologies including Growing Up Disabled in Australia and Meet Me at the Intersection. She has written for places across the internet such as ABC Everyday, Arts Hub, Kill Your Darlings, Refinery-29 and The Saturday Paper. She has been awarded fellowships by Varuna, Arts Access Victoria and The Wheeler Centre, and taken part in residencies at Arts House and Footscray Community Arts Centre. Her first picture book is set for publication in 2025, and she is currently developing a solo theatre work with support from the City of Melbourne and the Darebin Speakeasy development program. 

Access Information:

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

Auslan Interpreted: All evening sessions (Session 1, Session 4, Session 7, Session 10, Session 13).