Steph is a Producer, Program and Production Manager with extensive experience delivering national and international tours for Circus and Physical Theatre companies. This includes a decade Stage Managing emerging artists at the National Institute of Circus Arts and preparing tours to hundreds of venues across the world for Circa. As Program Manager at Theatre Network Australia, Steph passionately drove advocacy and development for the Circus and Psychical Theatre sector. To date her career highlight has been working with Chasing Smoke (Casus) from 2018 – 2020 which at the time was Australia’s only First Nations touring circus ensemble. Steph completed a Masters of Fine Arts – Cultural Leadership in 2020, where her research focused on Wellbeing in the Performing Arts, culminating in a case study on Wellbeing in Circus Training Institutions undertaken at Codarts Circus School, Rotterdam. Steph is currently undertaking a second masters, in Business – Arts & Cultural Management. In her spare time she is a devoted aunt and loves being incredibly silly with her three-year-old nephew Max.
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 Girls On Film Festival (GOFF), Found Festival and Grrl Fest. Betty has successfully led numerous Women's Circus fundraising, show and project marketing campaigns. She began working at Women's Circus in January 2016 as the Administration & Communications Coordinator and moved into her Role As Marketing & Communications Manager in 2019. She is passionate about community arts and enjoys being part of a team that helps people find creative outlets. When she’s not at work she can be found in her studio churning out luscious textile and drawing creations.
Emma has an administration and bookkeeping background, and is the Treasurer of the Victorian Actors Benevolent Trust, and is well known for her performances across Australia and internationally. In 2017 she hosted Women's Circus End of Year Cabaret and was a recipient of the Groundwork residency. She was nominated for a Green Room award for her role as Fleck in Love Never Dies and as a dancer for White Day Dream (Weave Movement Theatre). A keen advocate of fair representation of disability in the arts she speaks at many events and recently became Secretary for the Persons with a Disability Committee under MEAA. When Emma is not busy doing all this she can be found curled up with a good murder mystery novel.
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.
Siobhan started her career in Theatre in 2007 after completing a degree in Technical Production. She has spent most of her career as a lighting technician touring musicals around Australia. She moved to Melbourne in 2015 becoming an avid supporter and worker of the cities vibrant performance scene. Siobhan has worked extensively in lighting, venue and stage manager positions for companies such as City Recital Hall, Sydney Opera House, Capitol Theatre and Lyric Theatre in Sydney, Regent Theatre, and Comedy Theatre in Melbourne just to name a few. She has enjoyed expanding her tech skills into the world of arts administration - traversing the world of behind-the-scenes support from stage to office. She is excited to work with a feminist focused organisation that joins many of her worlds and talents together. When Siobhan isn’t working she can be found at the dog park, in her garden or hosting mad dance parties in her lounge room for her gorgeous baby.
Kristen is an urban and transport planner, working in academia and private practice. Kristen has been a dedicated Women’s Circus member for well over a decade. Her formative circus experiences were through the New Crew (formerly New Women) program at the Women’s Circus. She is a regular ensemble performer in large scale productions and volunteer on community programs. She can frequently be found happily hanging from aerial equipment and other people.
Felicity is the Head of Legal Project Management and Applied Legal Technology at Norton Rose Fulbright Australia, drawing on her 20 years’ experience in project management and commercial litigation. Felicity is an experienced litigator responsible for managing complex commercial disputes/matters and risk. Felicity also has a strong interest in the performing arts and regularly performs in tap dancing productions in her spare time.
Mel is a personal assistant at Lander & Rogers Lawyers, and has worked in law firms for most of her career. She has an appreciation for the arts, and loves watching performances including dance, musicals, and theatre, and also going to galleries and exhibitions. When not doing that, she can be found hanging out at home with her husband and two cats, or in the garden, pottering about.
El is an arts manager and creative producer with a passion for interdisciplinary live and performance art driven by an engaged audience. She has produced work with Wit Incorporated, Memetica, Women’s Circus, Emerging Writers’ Festival, Boutique Theatre, and more, alongside work in the creative industries, higher education and family violence sectors. She’s great at organising teams and loves bringing creative visions to life. Five years ago she ran away to the West to join Women’s Circus, and has never looked back.
Dr. Melinda Smith has over 30 years experience in disability and education. In 2008, Melinda began promoting the health and wellbeing outcomes of dance for people with disabilities. In 2018, Melinda created her first solo work, Spasmotive. The next phase of her work sees her creating a series of audio-visual expressions of life in social isolation. Melinda lives with cerebral palsy and is an advocate of disability inclusion. In 2019 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Deakin University. Melinda recently became a member of the Deakin University Disability and Inclusion team as a lecturer in Inclusive Arts.
Mandy has over 20 years experience working with large businesses in the finance field in both Australia and abroad. As a Chartered Accountant, Mandy has covered a range of industries from manufacturing, services, beverages, consulting and mining and has also worked with risk and governance.
Nyree Fiddes founded The Fiddes Group in 2014 after many years working in Human Resources and Management. Nyree is a Chartered Member of the Australian Human Resources Institutes and has a Master’s Degree in Human Resources & Industrial Relations. Nyree has high level expertise in reducing staff turnover, developing workforce strategies, performance management, performance review and delivery of seminars/workshops. Nyree volunteers her time on committees of Management for the Falls Creek Race Club and the Falls Creek Historical Society.
Peta is an experienced retail director and business leader specialising in retail and digital sales, brand innovation and strategic growth. Peta led the Lush ANZ business for the last 10 years harnessing the shared values of staff, customers and the public to prove that ethical values and behaviour drive sales and growth. She has cultivated a large body of international experience across more than 35 countries, bringing a wealth of strategic expertise and proven adaptability to organisational cultures, unique group dynamics, change management, opportunity and crisis. She understands the governance, structure and culture needed to take various sized organisations to the next level, and drives long-term growth and sustainability. Peta is a passionate audience member of circus, comedy and live music, and loves camping and festivals with her daughters.
Maggie’s employment history spans ten years working within the public arts sector. Since 2011, she has held positions at the Australia War Memorial, Sydney Opera House, Melbourne Recital Centre, Circus Oz and currently at ACMI. In her current role as Philanthropy Manager, she generates revenue for the organisation via individual donations, grants, and annual campaigns. Throughout her employment history she has built strong relationships, and maintains strong networks with donors, philanthropic trusts and foundations and government stakeholders. In her current role she has experience in the development of fundraising strategies and has successfully built connections with the philanthropic sector in Melbourne. Maggie holds a strong belief in the power of circus and its social purpose model, the successful way it can generate community and empower, engage, and challenge people. She has always looked to Women’s Circus and been inspired with the extensive training programs and the commitment to gender inclusion and equity.
Sal Frances has taught at the Women’s Circus since 2003. Sal is also an Associate Artist and teacher with Circus Nexus and trainer with Circus Oz. At the Women’s Circus, they teach the popular New Crew six-month intro to circus program, the ever fun WeFo Teen Flyers classes for 12-17 year olds, and Circus Mixtape (Trans & Gender Diverse only) class. Sal also works with Women's Circus on community projects, helping those who face barriers to discover the joy of circus.
Maya came to Women's Circus through the New Crew program in 2018 and was instantly hooked. She loves working and training in such an empowering environment and enjoys seeing kids and adults alike playing and supporting each other. Maya has always been passionate about the Arts and community engagement, having studied classical music performance in Adelaide in 2011. She is also currently studying horticulture. Maya currently works as an Assistant Trainer on kids classes, and as a Rigging Mentee under the guidance of our Head Rigger Franca Stadler
Emily Ross has been working at the Women’s Circus since 2006. She teaches on the Intermediate and Advanced Acrobalance classes. As well as being one of our dedicated trainers Emily is also an osteopathy. She loves working at Women’s Circus because of the sense of play, community, and inclusiveness of social circus.
Franca Stadler has been working at the Women’s Circus since 1995. She teaches our popular New Crew class, kids programs and on community projects. She also teaches at Footscray Community Arts Centre and the Performing Older Women’s Circus. Franca loves that at the Women’s Circus each participant is given space to bring their own individuality into the classroom.
Katy nearly drowned twice as a child and henceforth was afraid of most things. Despite being quite scared, she stepped into the world of physical theatre, clown and circus; finding what she truly loved to do more than anything else. She has studied a variety of performance styles in France, Chile, Argentina and Australia. In 2017 she performed with Chilean Circus Theatre Company, Suspension Horizontal in their show Me.Moria, depicting Chilean history from a feminist perspective. In 2019, while studying at NICA in Melbourne, Katy was Resident Artist at Women’s Circus as well as Circus Director for the Women’s Circus show, The Drill. Katy is a regular aerials teacher across a number of apparatus and skill levels.
Maggie Church-Kopp is an Arrernte woman who was born and raised in Mbantua (Alice Springs). She has been hanging off trapezes since before she could walk and has a lifelong love of all things circus. She has performed at a variety of festivals including Woodford Folk fest, Wide Open Spaces and Karnidale. She has had the privilege of training with some of the best circus companies in Aus including Circus Oz (Blakflip 2018) and The Flying Fruit Flys (NTP 2019). While she loves circus because it makes climbing on things and people socially acceptable she is excited about the potential this art form has to unite communities and ignite passion in all kinds of people.
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 acro classes alongside Emily Ross.
Keslea joined Women’s Circus in 2015 through the WeFo Teen Flyers program and has never looked back. Over her years in the Women’s Circus community she has been a regular performer with our Red Coat stilt-walking rovers, and was part of the ensemble for our 2019 show THE DRILL working with acro and aerial skills. In 2018 Kelsea launched her own independent clowning business ‘Cookie the Clown’, mixing her love of juggling, stilt-walking, balloon twisting and games to entertain and delight audiences. In 2021 she completed a Certificate IV in Circus Arts at NICA. Kelsea is currently the Assistant Trainer on our Circus Mixtape class and regularly supports other classes and programs.
Meiwah is a circus performer who is passionate about creating performance through the expression of aerial artistry and visual art. Meiwah has a dance and physical theatre background and has performed with companies such as Legs on the Wall, Opera Australia and Strange Fruit. Highlights from her career span over two decades and include performing at the Sydney Opera house, Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg, Sochi Olympic games, Map Dance Festival in Malaysia as well as taking her solo show about Frida Kahlo to Adelaide Fringe. Currently Meiwah is busy mum. She is studying Fine Art at RMIT and is exploring the crossover between artistic practice and motherhood.
Polish born, Dotti trained sport acrobatics for over 20 years. This got her to World and European Championships. Acrobatics is her passion and she wants to pass her skills and knowledge and love to do acrobatics, balances, pyramids to as many people as she can. "Working with Women’s Circus was my firs job after coming to Australia, always will be remembered with lots of warm feelings and great people."
Tarn uses dance, performance art and theatre, to explore the power, sensitivity and presence of the body. Her career includes highlights such as a Rope Act contract at The Friedrichstadtpalast in Germany, touring Europe and Asia with Blue Eyed Soul Dance Company (Inclusive Company) and performance work in Aerial Dance films and live site-specific performance, for Arte and Channel 4 (Dance4film) television stations. Tarn has facilitated inclusive Circus and Aerial dance workshops, for the Women’s Circus, Circus Oz and Dance Blast (UK), and co-run school programs for specialist schools throughout Melbourne. In 2017 she was involved in a creative development and collaboration between Extraordinary Bodies (UK) and Circus Oz, and was British Arts Council funded for an international Physical Theatre Chinese pole development with Laura Moy (UK) supported by Circus Oz in Australia.
Riana joined Women's Circus in 2017 through the WEFO Teen Flyers Program and has been hooked ever since. She has had a passion for circus and movement ever since she stepped foot in the space. Her favourite kind of training is acrobalance and stilts. She is currently the assistant trainer for the WEFO Teen Flyers program. She has a passion for bringing the circus environment to children and teenagers and watching their creativity and passion for circus grow.
Brand new to Women’s Circus is Self proclaimed “pocket-rocket” Sarah. Bringing a sense of dynamic energy and fun to every class, Sarah loves teaching trapeze, hoop and partner acrobatics. Sarah grew up as a gymnast X theatre nerd and pursued acting for a number of years before moving to Melbourne to then graduate from Melbourne’s National Institute of Circus Arts in 2017. Since then, Sarah has performed for One Fell Swoop, NICA Represents, Opera Australia and Cabarets such as No Frills, Empire and Best of Fringe. She has previously taught at Mullum Circus Festival, WA Circus Fest, Circus Oz, and The Circus Spot. Having trained with, coached and performed with so many different people Sarah makes sure she takes the time to suit the unique needs of the individual, and of course, always bringing a laugh to whatever she does.