Our People

Meet our People

Our Staff

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Penelope Bartlau

Creative Projects Director

Penelope is a director and visual creator with a background in puppetry and performance, as well as being award-winning creative writer. She has worked professionally in the arts for over 25 years. In the last 10 years with independent arts company Barking Spider Visual Theatre, she has generated, collaborated and directed in excess of 65 works – for theatre, with museums and galleries, site-specific works, community arts projects, schools works and roving pieces. As a part of her practice, wherever possible she works with young people as equal creative collaborators and innovators.

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Betty Musgrove

Admin & Communications Coordinator

Betty has a diverse arts background with extensive experience in administration, events management, customer service, media and marketing. Her experience of new media and her own visual arts practice led her to collaborative roles with feminist focused Art festivals such as Found Festival and Grrl Fest. Betty has also worked for Melbourne Arts Festival, Harvest Festival, Melbourne Fringe Festival, and The Village as both a performer and crew-member. When she’s not at work she can be found in her studio churning out luscious textile and drawing creations or with her head in a graphic novel.

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Devon Taylor

Executive Director

Devon is a contemporary performance maker, arts manager, mother and feminist. As Artistic Director of Murmur Collective, she produced and toured original devised performance works to festivals across Australia. Prior to Women’s Circus, she owned and operated an award-winning restaurant in regional Victoria for 8 years, and worked as Membership & Cultural Partnerships Officer with Regional Arts Victoria. Devon currently sits on the Executive Committee for Arts West alliance. Devon started her role at Women's Circus in 2014 and loves working within this vibrant and creative community.

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Natalie Grigg

Finance & Operations Manager

Natalie has worked with the Women’s Circus since 2015. She brings over 20 years of bookkeeping, event management, administration, financial & operational management experience. Natalie has previously worked with a number of events, retail, not-for-profit and arts organisations including Victoria Racing Club, ACMI, Imagine If Events, Gasworks Arts Park and the Melbourne Queer Film Festival.

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Morgan Rose

Training & Membership Manager

Morgan has worked in arts administration and production for more than a decade for organisations such as Circa Contemporary Circus (Brisbane), Seattle Repertory Theatre (Seattle, USA), VORTEX Rep (Austin, USA), Motherboard Productions (Brisbane), and plenty of others. In her spare time she is a playwright and theatremaker. She has a sick passion for spreadsheets. She has worked at Women's Circus since 2014.

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Franca Stadler

Resident Trainer and Head Rigger

Franca has worked in Melbourne circus and theatre for over 20 years in a variety of roles – as a rigger, rigging designer, technician, prop maker, circus trainer and circus performer and director-devisor. In addition to her role as the Women’s Circus Resident Trainer and in-house rigger, Franca works at Footscray Community Arts Centre as a circus trainer and facilitator. Franca has been involved in various capacities at the Women’s Circus since 1995 and brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and passion to the organisation.

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Marie Watt

Resident Photographer

Marie Watt has enjoyed a very varied career, mostly involved with small business and the Arts, both in Australia and overseas. Prior to her studies in photography Marie operated an award-winning arts tourism business which introduced tour participants to artists and their art ’behind the scenes’. As part of her recent photographic practice and towards the creative component for her Degree Marie operated as ‘a fly on the wall’ at Women’s Circus, capturing images of the training, skills sessions, events and special performances – and was particularly thrilled to be able to document the development and performance of the ‘Penelopiad’.

Our Board

Jodie Granger

Jodie is General Manager of Strategy for Medibank and has been focused on improvements across the health industry for over 11 years. Jodie is a CPA with a strong commercial background and also contributed to the retail and entertainment sectors. Jodie played a key role in the opening of Disney’s The Lion King west end production and first UK tour of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Jodie is passionate about the achievement of gender equality and plays a number of active roles in the community in this area.

Siobhan Hennessy

Siobhan is a Chartered Accountant in Australia and is a partner at Deloitte; her practice is primarily focussed on dispute resolution services.  Siobhan is also the Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee of the Women’s Circus.

Felicity Cull

Felicity is the Legal Project Manager for the Australian Disputes team at Norton Rose Fulbright Australia, drawing on her 20 years of experience in project management and commercial litigation.  Felicity is an experienced litigator and has extensive experience in managing complex commercial disputes.  Felicity also has a strong interest in the Performing Arts and regularly performs in tap dancing productions in her spare time. Felicity also sits on the Fundraising Committee.

Stephanie Watt

Stephanie is a Human Resources professional with expertise in organisational development, diversity, project management and employee relations across a range of industries. On a personal level she leads an active lifestyle and has a strong interest in the arts. Steph is also the Chair of the Fundraising Committee.

Donna Gross

Donna is a professional hula hooper and strategic business development and marketing consultant with a strong ethics base and 15+ years experience working in the non-profit and government sectors in both client facing and management positions.

Julie Spec

Julie has an extensive background working in the community sector and currently works for the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). She has advanced experience in project management, community development and project implementation, and has worked with culturally and linguistically diverse communities both here in Victoria and overseas.

Kristen Bell

Kristen is an urban and transport planner, working in academia and private practice. Her formative circus experiences were through the New Women* program at the Women’s Circus, and she can now frequently be found happily hanging from aerial equipment and other people.

Trainers

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Lily Fish

Lily Fish is a graduate of the National Theatre Drama School and the John Bolton Theatre School. She is a founding member of award winning queer physical comedy ensemble PO PO MO CO and an associate artist with Born in a Taxi. As a teaching artist she works for Women's Circus, Western Edge Youth Arts and independently. Her play Yarn is published through PlayLab.

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Sal Frances

Sal Frances has taught at the Women’s Circus since 2003. Sal is also an Associate Artist and teacher with Westside and teaches with Circus Oz. At the Women’s Circus, Sal teaches New Women’s and Acrobalance classes as well as on community projects. She enjoys the playful atmosphere at the Women’s Circus and that it is a space where women’s strength is celebrated.

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Ann Truong

Ann is a circus performer, actor and voiceover artist who has worked at Women’s Circus as a Circus Pole Trainer for the past few years. She has performed in critically acclaimed circus shows such as No Punchline and Leggings Are Not Pants. Of her multi faceted practice Ann says: “I’ve come to learn that it’s all one in the same – screen acting, stage acting, circus, writing, directing – that it’s about connection, honesty, vulnerability and openness.”

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Bianca Sciaretta

Bianca Sciaretta is a performer and teaching artist who has worked at the Women’s Circus since 2005. She has also worked with Footscray Community Arts Centre, Westside Circus and Circus Spot. Over the years Bianca has taught a variety of classes including Acrobalance and Trainee Tumblers. She loves working with such a diverse and interesting group of women and kids getting them excited by all things circus

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Emily Ross

Emily Ross has been working at the Women’s Circus since 2006. She teaches on the New Women’s program and on the Intermediate and Advanced Acrobalance classes. She also teaches at Westside Circus and Footscray Community Arts Centre. As well as being one of our dedicated trainers Emily is currently studying osteopathy. She loves working at Women’s Circus because of the sense of play, community, and inclusiveness of social circus.

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Jessie Carson

Jessie began performing and teaching circus in New Zealand. Now based in Melbourne she studies at the National Institute of Circus Arts, specializing in dance trapeze and hula-hoops. Jessie loves being a part of the Women's Circus and sharing her knowledge!

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Franca Stadler

Franca Stadler has been working at the Women’s Circus since 1995. She teaches our popular New Women*s class, kids programs and on community projects. She also teaches at Westside, Footscray Community Arts Centre and the Performing Older Women’s Circus. Franca loves that at the Women’s Circus each woman is given space to bring their own individuality into the classroom.

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Jenny McLeod

Jenny began training with the Women's Circus way back in 1998. She has been working with the Women's Circus since 2002 and has taught Acrobalance, New Women and Aerials. She has taught diverse groups and loves to see the positive impact exercise, fun, and achieving goals has on people. The aerials classes she teaches is based on improvisation, performance, and yoga classes and is founded in the belief that any skills and experiences can be used to create an aerial routine.

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Cleo Cutcher

Cleo discovered the world of play through circus and now takes that sense of play with her everywhere. She loves creating fun and engaging performances for all, especially her LGBTQI family, and working on kids shows. Through Westside Circus, Cleo became involved with Women’s Circus for the first time in 2002. She was involved in training and helping out on shows before joining us as a Trainer in 2014. Cleo loves working at Women’s Circus for the inspiration and challenge of working with so many strong minded women who have such diverse backgrounds, skill sets, methods of working and ideas to create.

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Tarn Scully

For over 18 years Tarn has performed rope, silks and harness choreography at height from cranes in shows over water, and worked in the fields of Corporate, Clubs, Theatres, Festivals and Aerial Dance and Theatre companies. Tarn has taught aerial technique and creation classes for Colorado College Dance (USA), Taipei University of Arts Dance (Taiwan), Circomedia Circus School (Bristol, UK), and on the Bachelor course at NICA (Melbourne) in Australia, and taught inclusive Circus and Aerial workshops both independently and for Women’s Circus.

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Simone Sheridan

Simone joined the women's circus in 2009 and has never looked back! She loves so many things about the Women’s Circus – the friendly community vibe and feminist values means it’s a place where she feels very comfortable. Squeezing classes in around her nursing work, she has tried her hand at general aerials, Chinese pole, doubles trapeze, juggling and handstands, as well as discovering an enduring passion for acrobalance. Simone teaches the Northcote AcroFIT class alongside Emily Ross.

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Tess Henning

Tess originally trained in dance and has performed with Melbourne Dance Theatre, Look Left Dance Circus Theatre and Lyrebird Dance Company. She started getting into circus about 6 years ago and her main passion is aerial hoop. When she's not training or teaching circus, Tess can also be found working as a giant caterpillar on stilts or as a ballerina in a big bubble. She's been lucky enough to perform her aerial acts and and roving characters for many events and venues around Melbourne, including The International Women's Gala, Carnevale Masquerade Ball, Melbourne International Airport, Westpac, NAB, Crown and Melbourne City Council.

Women’s Circus provides opportunities for any woman to develop self-confidence, skills and creativity using social circus and performance.

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