Our People

Meet our People

Our Staff

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Penelope Bartlau

Creative 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

Marketing & 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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Emma J Hawkins

Finance Manager

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.

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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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Katy Burrows

Resident Artist

Katy has a degree in Creative Industries specialising in Visual Arts and another in Education and has worked as a teacher in an extensive variety of contexts over 10 years. She began learning all kinds of circusy things in 2012 and has since studied in France, Chile and Argentina as well as Australia, mostly specialising in static trapeze and clown. In 2018 her lovely old lady character, Doris was MC for the Melbourne Fringe Circalicious Cabaret and she created the dark physical comedy piece, Cake for the Women's Circus Cabaret. In 2017 she worked with Chilean Circus Theatre Company, Suspension Horizontal on their work Me. Moria which depicted the history of Chile from a women's perspective.

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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.

Board Member Siobhan Hennessy
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 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.

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.

Board Member Kristen Bell
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

Mahla Bird

Mahla Bird

Mahla is an aerialist, performance artist, scientist, and queer body-positive fitness trainer. One of the creators of the award-nominated cabaret KillJoy, Mahla first fell in love with trapeze in 2011 and has gone on to perform both locally and internationally. As a fitness trainer, Mahla loves creating an environment that is dedicated to being both fun and supportive, while helping class members work towards their own unique goals.

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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 the popular New Crew six-month intro to circus program and the ever fun WeFo Teen Flyers classes for 12-17 year olds. Sal also works with Women's Circus on community projects, helping those who face barriers to discover the joy of circus.

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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.

Anita Alexander

Anita Alexander

Anita's previous teaching work has been with people of many ages, abilities and in many countries. Anita is now based in Melbourne and has been teaching here for the last 12 years. Anita's teaching includes development of ideas, skills and shows with an emphasis on creating greater body awareness, alignment, extension and fun.
Anita loves helping people develop circus skills, flexibility and strength while also enhancing self confidence, body awareness, self expression, creativity and collaboration skills.

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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.

Rebekah Connors

Rebekah Connors

Bek first began her involvement in circus at Westside Circus (circa 2008) in their youth circus classes with involvement in both training and performance projects. In 2011 she and a small group of youth circus members created an independent show for Melbourne Fringe. She began teaching in 2011 with a focus on young kids and kinder classes. With a love of performance and humour she ended up specialising in clown at NICA during her certificate IV in 2016. She jumped on board with Women's Circus as part of the Circus Kathmandu Community project in 2017 and has been teaching here since. Bek loves working in an inclusive and inspiring environment full of strong creative women!

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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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Katy Burrows

Katy nearly drowned twice as a child and henceforth was afraid of most things. She became a visual artist before she discovered physical theatre, clown and circus and despite being quite scared she just couldn't resist the feeling that she'd found what she truly loved to do more than anything else. She began learning all kinds of circusy things in 2012 and has since studied in France, Chile and Argentina as well as Australia, mostly specialising in static trapeze and clown. In 2017 she worked with Chilean Circus Theatre Company, Suspension Horizontal on their work Me.Moria which depicted the history of Chile from a women's perspective. Katy is currently teaching Tuesday night Trapeze, Friday night Doubles Trapeze and Saturday morning Aerial Fit.

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

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