Who We Are

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The Pop Up Players

Robert Reid (Artistic Director) is a freelance playwright, director and academic.  He was Artistic Director and a founding member of the independent theatre company Theatre in Decay and also of the experimental puppet and visual theatre company Terrible Comfort. He most recently had his play The Joy of Text produced at Melbourne Theatre Company.  Robert recently published Hello World! Promoting the Arts on the Net, a Platform Paper for Currency House.  He was the editor of Australian Puppeteer, the national puppetry magazine for UNIMA Australia; and is currently a reviewer for theatrealive.com; a panelist for the Greenroom awards Alternative and Hybrid Panel; a regular panelist for Arts Victoria; and host of the Meant to Be Spoken events for the Melbourne Writers Festival. He graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts with a post graduate diploma in directing in 2000, holds a Masters Degree in Creative Industry (Scriptwriting) from Queensland University of Technology and is currently completing a PhD in Australian Theatre History at La Trobe University.


Photo by Sarah Walker

Sayraphim Lothian (Constructive Communities Director) is an award winning artist who has worked on films, tv and in theatre, in museums and galleries, in schools and at festivals, creating magical worlds and experiences for people of all ages. Her public artworks work can be found in the streets of cities around the world. Sayraphim and her work can be found in a number of books and publications including Garth Johnson’s 1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse, Vickie Howell’s Craft Corps, Heads On and We Shoot: The Making of Where The Wild Things Are from McSweeny’s Publishing and Betsy Greer’s Craftivism: the art of craft and activism. Her work is held in MOMA (New York, USA), The Canterbury Museum (Christchurch, NZ), the archives of the National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne, AUS), in the Monash Heart Art collection (Melbourne, AUS), as well as in private collections and on the streets in cities around the world. She has a grad dip in Teaching (Primary) from Latrobe and a Masters in Art in Public Space from RMIT.  www.sayraphimlothian.com


Ben McKenzie (Game Mechanic) is an actor, scientician, comedian, feminist, improviser, geek, voiceover artist, games player, presenter, nerd, writer and ginger. Described as ‘geek comedy’s patron saint’ (T-Squat Magazine) and ‘the anti-Hitler’ (Boxcutters), Ben has written and performed sketch comedy, comedy science lectures and stand-up for over a decade. He founded production companies Shaolin Punk, Museum Comedy and (with others) Pop Up Playground, created the long-running improvised comedy Dungeon Crawl, and appeared in The Bazura Project and Woodley for the ABC. Ben was recently published in the anthology Geek Mook by Vignette Press, was Production Manager on the 2012 Freeplay Independent Games Festival, and hopes to launch a new game discussion podcast, “Losing An Eye”, later in the year. Ben’s Internest is labcoatman.com.au, and you can follow him on Twitter at @labcoatman. His favourite dinosaur is Stegosaurus.


marlenaMalena Martens (Developmental Play Coordinator) is an educator with a background in performing arts. She has worked with children as a tutor, support worker, Centre Coordinator and ESO for over ten years. Malena has spent the last three years using drama, games and role-play to teach social skills, promote self-confidence and create general glee. This year she is supporting students at Box Hill High School whilst finishing a degree in Primary and Special Education.  She is delighted by all things pedagogy. You can follow her on Twitter at @edugoggling. The best move a child has ever contributed to one of her games was “Cow in a Tornado”, and she’ll do an impression of the move given minimal provocation.


jess1_webJess Kilby (Pervasive Play Developer) is an interdisciplinary artist who works with games, live art, technology and mixed media to create participatory experiences that blur the boundaries between fact and fiction, public and private, familiar and strange. Her work is primarily concerned with meaning and identity, and how we as humans construct it – for ourselves, and with each other. Personal mythologies, communal narratives, ritual, symbol, code. Why do we look up at the stars and see constellations? The experiences she designs are often filtered through a layer of abstraction; previous projects have used the Tarot, cut-up techniques, space weather and superhero mythology as frameworks for exploration. Jess holds a dual BA in Journalism and Political Science from Syracuse University (USA) and an MA in Creative Technology from the University of Salford (UK). She is currently pursuing a boundary-blurring, practice-led PhD in Media and Communication at RMIT in Melbourne. You can find her online at jesskilby.com.


anaAnastasia Ryan (Administrator) is a producer and arts manager. Only at the beginning of her arts career, she has worked with a number of independent companies including AtticErratic and Quiet Little Fox and produced work for festivals in Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne. Her love of working with artists was discovered at Monash Uni Student Theatre, where she worked extensively on and off-stage and will return this year as the Co-Curator of The Container Festival. She completed her Bachelor of Arts at Monash University, and is currently undertaking a Masters of Arts and Cultural Management at University of Melbourne.


Bron1_webBronwyn Pringle (Lighting Designer) work with companies including Polyglot, SoulArt, Finucane & Smith, Chamber Made Opera, Ballarat Arts Academy and La Mama has been seen in venues ranging from a derelict Kensington flat, a woodshed in Glencoe, Belvoir Street Theatre, a warehouse in Buenos Aries, a park in Swan Hill, the Segerstrom Centre in California and many more conventional and unconventional spaces.
Community theatre also features strongly in her body of work, incorporating regional, indigenous, youth, mental health and physical disability groups such as Rawcus, RAG Theatre, Marruk Marruk and Spark Theatre.
Bronwyn has won green room awards for Best Lighting Design for Letters from Animals (SRWT/Here Theatre 2007 – Independent Theatre) and alias Grace (Malthouse 2005 – Theatre Companies) and two Melbourne fringe festival design awards for Anachronisticity (with Richard Vabre) and Uninvited Guests (design collaboration with Clare Watson and Marg Horwell). She was also nominated for Green Room Awards for her lighting designs for Aviary (La Mama) and Serial Blogger (X:Machine).
Other design highlights include The Good Person of Szechuan, The Flood, Topsy, The Hatpin, My Life in the Nude, Two Mortals, Catalpa, A Kind of Fabulous Hatred and Lloyd Beckmann: Beekeeper.