Who we are
Beyond the Square is coordinated by Creative Director Alison Richardson with support from Theatre Assistant Gerard O’Dwyer. Alison and Gerard work alongside Riverside Theatre staff to deliver, administer and market the Beyond the Square program. Additionally, they employ professional artists and arts workers to coordinate and deliver the community, artistic and outreach programs.
Alison Richardson - Creative Director
Alison has worked extensively as a theatre director and tutor for community theatre companies, Powerhouse Youth Theatre, Shopfront Theatre, PACT Theatre and Australian Theatre for Young People. Due to Alison’s interest and passion for working with people with disability in 2007 she established sliced bread attraction which aims to create creative opportunities for people with disability in all art forms. In 2008 she produced Bakehouse, a week long inclusive arts event held at Carriageworks in Sydney that consisted of workshops, forums, film nights and satellite events. From 2007 to 2010 Alison was the Creative Programs Coordinator for Western Sydney for NSW peak arts and disability organisation, Accessible Arts and during this time established the hip hop group, First Flight Crew. Alison has also worked as a Community producer & tutor for Milkcrate Theatre, Australia’s only theatre company dedicated to working with the homeless and disadvantaged.
In 2007 Alison was awarded the Australia Council for the Arts Young Leaders Award for her commitment to community arts and in 2012 was a finalist in Improving Social Participation for people with disability at the National Disability Awards.
Gerard O’Dwyer - Theatre Assistant
Gerard currently works 16 hours a week as a casual theatre operator at Riverside Theatres. His duties include collecting the papers and mail, cleaning kitchens and the green room, helping with mail outs and putting patron’s tickets in envelopes. He also acts as an advocate and spokesperson for Beyond the Square, assists Alison with the program and is a member of the ruckus ensemble.
In 2009 Gerard was awarded Best Male Actor at Tropfest, the world’s largest short film festival for his role in the film Be My Brother, which also went on to win Best Film. This accolade has seen Gerard become an advocate and role model for people with disability with him being invited to speak at numerous functions, fundraisers and events across the country from Hobart to Horsham. Gerard was also an ambassador for the Don’t DISmyABILITY campaign 2010 & 2011, starred in a government advertisement for CareCareers and was awarded Best Male Actor runner up in the Short & Sweet short play festival in 2011 where he got to perform at Newtown Theatre & NIDA’s Parade Theatre. In 2012 he was awarded the Emerging Leaders Award at the National Disabilities Awards.
Wendy has been involved in the arts and education industry for over 20 years. Her formal training includes a MA (Theatre) and a Diploma of Education (Humanities). Her career has spanned many facets of education from developing curriculum resources, coordinating drama camps and festivals, to classroom teaching. Wendy has been Head of Drama and Performance at Roseville College and Head of Performing Arts at the International School of Manila. Outside the education system she has worked as a director, dramaturge, drama/acting workshop facilitator and theatre critic. Wendy is currently completing an MA (Research) that is looking at the possibilities and advantages of integrating actor training techniques and methodologies into rugby union training and working on the Blue Grotto Project 2013 as workshop facilitator.
Therese believes she was tragically lost from the back of a travelling circus truck shortly after birth; this she has always held true in her dreams and heart. After working in health and education Therese followed the striped and feathered path and discovered her circus community in 2005.
Since initial circus workshops, Therese has trained and performed with Ruby Bloomers Womens’ Circus, attended classes and private tuition at Aerialize Theatre, intensive training workshops at Tasmanian Circus Festival, Hoopy Happenings Training, was given a scholarship to train and attend the first National Indigenous and Social Circus Training and Conference, has been tutored and trained by Danielle Antaki, Julian Bell, Tahmour Bloomfield, John Hinton, Claire Jones, Catherine Hassell, Tanya Richards, Ira Seidenstein and continues aerial training with Kate Reid.
In 2009, Therese formed The Arcade Circus, a community based mixed ability circus. Therese continues to cherish, train and perform with The Arcade Circus ensemble. Therese also works for the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, studio Q, as a tutor for the Starting Out class and Teenage Access class. Therese is the tutor for Beyond the Square’s Kinda Circus workshops.
Suzy is an integrated arts tutor who specialises in physical theatre, drama and movement direction. She graduated with Distinction from BA Dance at UWS under the creative guidance of Bernadette Walong-Sene, Kate Champion and British choreographer, Akram Khan. Suzy has devised and directed movement for various education programs, including the Ausdance Visiting Dance Artist’s Project at Westmead Children’s Hospital, several Rock Eisteddfod finalists and Flannofest at the Q Theatre. She also facilitated the 2011 Fast+Fresh Dance festival at Riverside Theatre. In recent years she has been actively involved with independent theatre productions, including performances at the Sydney Fringe. Suzy continues to expand her physical knowledge, studying Kinesiology and trapeze. She is a regular tutor for studioQ and Access Ensemble at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre. Suzy is the current co-tutor for the Beyond ABBA program.
Peter is a composer, producer and musical director with a career in theatre and musical performance spanning 20 years. He has composed and recorded countless soundtracks, and has created sound designs and musically directed live performance for many of Sydney’s major theatre companies and high profile public events – as well as for film and video. Clients include Darling Harbour (SHFA) New Year’s and Australia Day Fireworks – Sydney Olympic Park, children’s theatre company Theatre of Image, Legs on the Wall and Q Theatre to name but a few. His compositions and performances have been heard throughout Australia in multiple productions for Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane Arts Festivals as well as extensive international touring through major arts festivals in Europe, Asia and South America since 2001. He has worked extensively with youth based theatre companies – in particular Powerhouse Youth Theatre Fairfield and Urban Theatre Projects Bankstown. He also currently teaches music for The Song Room – which specializes in providing performing artists in residence for disadvantaged schools. In many cases his projects have called upon him to work with public participants with a wide variety of abilities and aptitudes to create an accessible artistic experience for participants with nonetheless high artistic values for an audience. Peter worked as sound designer on See In Me and the Blue Grotto Project 2011 and 2013.
Jake studied Journalism at the University of Technology in 2012 as part of his final assignment he followed Riverside’s Beyond the Square program and shot a video story called ‘I Am What I Am.’ Jake grew up around people with disabilities, and it was his desire to show the world some of the amazing things they are capable of that led him to doing the video story. He has since been assisting with the ruckus ensemble since it’s inception though the Exercise (book) Classes in 2011 and has been a guest supporter in 2012/2013. What he loves most about the program is the new friends (and countless laughs) it’s given him.
Eddie Abd is a Sydney based visual artist with experience in various disciplines including painting, drawing, illustration, design and costume & production design. Eddie also works in community cultural development, facilitating workshops in digital storytelling, animation and photography, in particular with participants from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Eddie is also a broadcast journalist and radio producer. She worked at SBS Radio’s Arabic language program presenting live programs and coverage of political, social and artistic events with a focus on the Arabic community in Australia.
Since April 2013, Eddie became the host of Arabesque, the Arabic channel, for Qantas Airlines’ Inflight Radio. Eddie is currently undertaking a Master of Fine Arts at the University of Sydney.
She was awarded a Bachelor degree in Digital Media from the University of New South Wales in 2005, after completing a Diploma in High Studies in Painting at the Institute of Fine Arts, The Lebanese University in 2001. Eddie is the video facilitator for Beyond the Square’s Blue Grotto Project 2013.
Dean Walsh completed a two-year Australia Council Fellowship in 2012 undergoing extensive research, both theoretical and practical, to expand his choreographic practice on many levels. He has been an influential member of the Australian dance and contemporary performance communities for the past 20 years. He has collaborated with many reputable Australian and international companies, individuals & festivals in performer / collaborator / designer / choreographer / director / mentor & teacher capacities. Companies include DV8 Physical Theatre, Stalker Theatre, Opera Australia, The oPera Project & Australian Dance Theatre. He has a repertoire of 25 short solo works and 3 full-length solos with many of these touring nationally and/or internationally and has made more than 20 works for various institutions in Australia & The Netherlands. Dean is currently directing & choreographing a new work for Restless Dance Theatre’s touring company. Dean was movement consultant on See In Me and is a regular tutor with the ruckus ensemble.
Craig is an actor, director, producer and writer and holds a PhD in Comedy. He co-wrote and directed the AFI winning comedy series Double The Fist and Tropfest award winning film Life in A Datsun. Craig produced the international award-winning shorts The Picnic and The Sister. He was also Associate Producer on the ABC Comedy series- Review with Myles Barlow and recently starred in Next Stop Hollywood and An Elegant Gentleman’s Guide to Knife Fighting on the ABC. Passionate about working with people with disability he mentored Genevieve Clay-Smith on the set of Tropfest award winning film Be My Brother featuring Gerard O’Dwyer and also directed the devised theatre production Hard Daze with the mixed abilities ensemble at Powerhouse Youth Theatre. He is currently working as a facilitator on the Just a Bit…Funny project.
Brendan first started working in the disability sector over 10 years ago as a Residential Support Worker and the experience gained in this role also gave him a firm grounding in operations at a service level. When working in the UK Brendan was first introduced to the concept and benefits of using digital technology as a form of accessible information for people with phyiscal and intellectual disabilities.
Taking this experience and applying ‘person centred’ principles, Brendan has worked for a number of organisations as ‘Multimedia officer’ and mentor in developing strategies for working with individuals and staff teams for people with complex communication needs.
This has also led to the development of a series of multimedia based workshops, combining the use of everyday technology and assistive devices and the principles of ‘Person Centred Practice’ and ‘Digital Inclusion’. Aimed at people developing the skills and having access to a variety of tools to be able to use and develop their own projects – either individual goals or group based ideas, creative multimedia projects, portfolio video projects and short films. Brendan is currently the tutor for The Reel Thing film making group with Beyond the Square.
Bill is an English teacher at a large Western Sydney high school. He teaches a diverse group of students from Years 7 to 12 including many from language backgrounds other than English. Bill’s interest in live theatre can be traced all the way back to his involvement in ImpACT players – an amateur performance group ran by Alison Richardson. Countless hours of Theatresports and regular participation in eisteddfods sparked an interest in live performance that would survive two university courses and various part time jobs. Bill’s participation in the ruckus ensemble reflects this passion for live theatre as well as his enthusiasm for teaching young adults. Bill is ruckus ensemble support tutor, assistant and good times guy.
Aimee is a multidisciplinary performing and creative artist with a passion for working with diverse communities. She loves working with an idea and bringing it to life through whatever medium it prefers – visual arts, theatre, music.. or sometimes all of this all at once!
She works with Curiousworks as an artistic collaborator – this work has taken her from Western Sydney to the Pilbara and Tasmania. Most recently working as co-creator and artist in The Other Journey for Parramasala and Ten Days on the Island festivals. Aimée has performed, written and designed for Curiousworks’ ‘The Migrant Project’. She was the lead performer in it’s final manifestation, ‘This City is a Body’ performed at the Hyde Park Barracks.
Aimee has also worked as the artistic director of Ashfield Youth Theatre, directing its theatre programs and workshops. Aimee loves workshopping, directing, devising and facilitating creative production – she has worked with Disability Services Australia, Bankstown Youth Development Service, Auburn Community Development Network, Macquarie Legal Centre, the Australian Theatre for Young People, Powerhouse Youth Theatre, Blacktown Migrant Resource Centre and SCEGGS Darlinghurst. Aimee is currently a co-tutor for the Beyond ABBA program.