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

Photo by Robert Young.

Ben McKenzie (Game Mechanic) is an actor, comedian, writer and game designer based in Melbourne. Ben became Pop Up Playground’s head game designer in 2011, and has since been lead or co-designer of most of their live game experiences. Outside of Pop Up Playground, he is known for his long-running Dungeons & Dragons inspired comedy show, Dungeon Crawl (‘a dice-rollicking good time’ – Heckler), the Melbourne Museum Comedy Tour (‘a fun frolic through the facts’ – The Herald-Sun), and nerdy solo work like Ben McKenzie is Uncool (‘gentle and whimsical … lapped up by the audience’ – The Age). He he is also a writer, producer and co-star of Night Terrace, the award-winning science fiction audio comedy series starring Neighbours’ Jackie Woodburne. His writing work includes pieces for The Lifted Brow’s digital edition, the anthologies Whose Doctor? and Geek Mook, and the sci-fi storytelling game Our Last Best Hope. Ben also works as a voice-over artist and presenter, has been production manager of the Freeplay Independent Games Festival since 2012, and runs story and game design workshops for students at 100 Story Building in Footscray. You can find him at benmckenzie.com.au, or follow him as @labcoatman on Twitter or Instagram. 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.

 

ana_sqAnastasia Ryan (Administrator) Anastasia Ryan is an independent arts manager and administrator. She works as a producer, administrator, production manager, stage manager, bar manager and sometimes techie. She has worked with independent companies including Sisters Grimm, Attic Erratic, Mama Alto and Quiet Little Fox and produced work for festivals in Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne. She has held administrative roles at Melbourne Festival and Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and is a recent graduate of the Master of Arts and Cultural Management (2015) at Melbourne University. Some career highlights include The Cutting Boys (Producer, La Mama 2014), Tandanya Firefly (Program Producer & Venue Manager, pop up venue Adelaide Fringe Festival 2014), The Container Festival (co-curator, Monash University 2013), Sophisticated Lady: A Nightcap with Billie Judy and Ella (Stage and Production Manager, Melbourne Fringe Festival 2015), The Sovereign Wife (ASM, Sisters Grimm & MTC NEON Festival 2013). In 2016 she will produce CONVICTION written by Zoey Dawson and directed by Declan Greene, for Darebin Arts Speakeasy program.

 

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.

 

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