Staff

Contact Simon via info@melbournefringe.com.au

Simon Abrahams (he/him)
Creative Director and CEO

During the Festival, Simon can be seen squeezing more art out of a day than you thought was humanly possible.

Simon is Melbourne Fringe’s Creative Director and CEO and is recognised as one of Australia’s arts and cultural leaders. His work explores the intersection of art and civic participation. Simon is a life member of Theatre Network Australia, an organisation he co-founded then Chaired from 2010-2017. Simon has previously served as Head of Programming at the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing & Ideas and as Executive Producer and Co-CEO at Polyglot Theatre. He regularly works as a facilitator, host, peer assessor, mentor, judge and arts consultant, known for his expertise in inclusive leadership, advocacy, dramaturgy, work for children, and art in public space. Simon currently sits on the International Society for the Performing Arts Programming Committee (New York) and the City of Melbourne’s Night Time Economy Activation Taskforce, and he is also a Trustee for the Betty Amsden Foundation.

In 2014, Simon was awarded a CHASS Australia Prize for leadership and was named as one of F+P Magazine’s Movers and Shakers in philanthropy in 2019. In 2016, Simon was hilariously and inexplicably named as one of Executive Style’s Best Dressed Men in Australia. In his personal capacity, Simon is a proud foster carer, caring for vulnerable and at-risk children in his home.

He likes experimental performance and 90s pop divas.

Contact Simon via info@melbournefringe.com.au

Business and Operations Team

Contact the Business and Operations team at:
info@melbournefringe.com.au

Will Dawson (he/him)
General Manager and Deputy CEO

Will’s first Fringe experience also happens to be his very first Melbourne experience. When he moved to Melbourne in 2014 his friend picked him up at the airport, gave him a pair of denim overalls and took him straight to 1992-1-Oh! at the Fringe Club.

Will is an arts manager and festival director based in Melbourne with experience working on a range of festivals in Australia and internationally. Prior to Melbourne Fringe he was the Executive Director of the Emerging Writers’ Festival in Melbourne, where he led the organisation through a period of significant growth, forging major new partnerships to provide platforms for the next generation of Australian storytellers. Will brings a wealth of experience from across the arts sector, having worked for Melbourne Festival, Museums Victoria, 2high Festival and Assembly Festival at the Edinburgh Fringe, among others. He holds a Master of Arts (Arts Management) from RMIT University and a Bachelor of Creative Industries from the Queensland University of Technology. He is pictured here in his natural habitat: eating crackers and dip.

Carly Findlay (she/her)
Access Advisor

Carly’s hot tip for Fringe is the words and ideas sessions. She loves a good panel discussion and will probably be live tweeting what’s happening.

Carly Findlay works as Melbourne Fringe’s Access Advisor. She works to educate artists, venues and the wider arts sector in creating accessible shows; and builds and maintains close relationships with Deaf and disabled artists.

Outside of Fringe, Carly is an award-winning writer, speaker and appearance activist. Her first book, a memoir called Say Hello, was released in January 2019. Carly edited the anthology Growing Up Disabled in Australia with Black Inc Books, published in February 2021. She writes on disability and appearance diversity issues for news outlets including the ABC, The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, SBS, CNN and Vogue. In 2020, Carly Findlay received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her work as a disability advocate and activist. She’s a new rollerskater, a lifelong Darren Hayes fan and has never met a cheese she didn’t like.

Eden Cotter-Longworth (they/she)
Executive Assistant

During the Festival, Eden can be found at shows that had a vaguely cool promo image or title (always guilty for judging a show by it’s cover)

Eden is a Victorian College of Arts graduate with a degree in Stage Management and has over seven years of technical experience in the industry. In their role at Melbourne Fringe you’ll find Eden working her Outlook magic behind their desk, and outside of Fringe you’ll find her down the road at Harry Potter and the Cursed Child doing more wizardry.

Eden’s top 3 passions are:
(1) environmentally sustainable arts practice
(2) colour-coded calendars
(3) taking photos of their food in restaurants
(4) getting more young people into theatre
(5) basic addition.

Louise Richardson (she/her)
Business and Operations Manager

During the Festival, Lou can be seen exploring everything Fringe has to offer!

Better known as Lou, she started her time in the arts as an independent artist. Lou performed in the 2016 Melbourne Fringe Festival alongside some of her university classmates. She went on to volunteer with Fusion Theatre and then produced her own show in 2019.

Lou has been working in event operations across a number of charity and fun run events. When the opportunity rose in 2021, Lou decided to combine her passions and expertise to join the Melbourne Fringe team.

Sian Halloran (she/her)
Bar and Events Manager

Sian’s first Fringe experience was as a bar volly in 2016 where she showed everyone up with her glass washing.

Sian has been working as a producer, theatre technician, stage manager and production manager around festivals and the Melbourne theatre scene for several years now. She’s mostly found with her fingers in multiple pies – working behind the bar, backstage, or sometimes even on stage (if it’s as part of a choir). In her spare time she’s usually enjoying a black coffee while knitting and her cats recline on her.

Sophia D’Urso (She/Her)
Volunteers Coordinator

Sophia first joined Melbourne Fringe in 2021 as Front of House Supervisor, working across So Soiree & Fringe Rebound before moving into her new role as Volunteers Coordinator for Melbourne Fringe 2022!

Over the past decade, she has worked vigorously in Visitor Services roles across Melbourne’s largest live performance venues including Malthouse Theatre, ACCA, Forum, Comedy Theatre, Regent Theatre, Princess Theatre, and major arts festivals such as Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Dance Massive, Midsumma, and more.

She is a passionate about the Arts and contributing herself towards creating a platform for individuals to express themselves in a supportive, inclusive, and accessible manner.

Marketing and Development Team

Contact the Development Team at:
development@melbournefringe.com.au

Miranda Borman (she/her)
Head of Marketing and Development

During the Festival, Miranda can be seen waxing lyrical about the BEST event she just saw – it may involve dancing with 400 people in a Town Square or watching a man dance with a soggy cardboard box, it usually always involves a wee bit of nudity (its Fringe, what can you do?!?)

Miranda started her career as an independent artist and then discovered, much to her delight, that she enjoyed selling tickets to the show, more than actually making the show (capitalism, what can you do?!?). Hence, she found her way into marketing in the arts. Prior to Fringe, Miranda worked as a Marketing Consultant in several organisations including the Canberra International Music Festival and Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres. With a firm belief that participation brings social, cultural and personal benefits, Miranda has returned to her indy arts roots at Fringe.

Ciaran Frame (he/him)
CRM and Data Analyst

Ciaran’s hot tip for Fringe is that a good shared calendar to plan your festival is the best thing since sliced bread.

Ciaran Frame is an arts administrator and independent practitioner whose work has covered everything from classical music to event production. Starting his arts journey at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Ciaran has gone on to work in music performing rights and teaching before finding his way to Fringe. He is passionate about cross-disciplinary collaboration and is perpetually thrilled to see what lies around the corner in our arts community.

Leslie Gurusinghe (he/him)
Engagement Manager

Leslie can be seen here holding a plant because he never knows what to do with his hands. During the Festival, you may also see him doing so.

As a self-professed dilettante, Leslie’s legal background is the least interesting thing about him (his role as the Engagement Manager at Fringe might be the most interesting). He’s still coming to terms with the rejection of his first love, Theatre (yes, with a capital T). Having worked at organisations like the Human Rights Arts & Film Festival he has a keen interest in shaking up who gets to create art and innovative ways of creating social impact.

Pauline Cady (she/her)
Funding, Strategy and Evaluation Manager

During the Festival, Pauline can be seen fleetingly, elusively, like a shadow, sneaking up on great art.

Pauline graduated from Rusden College in 1989 and is a founding member of Snuff Puppets, working with the company as writer, dramaturg, performer and co- Artistic Director with Andy Freer until 2003. She loved every minute of her stint as funding manager at Back to Back Theatre from 2003 until 2016 and joined Melbourne Fringe in that role in 2016.

Contact the Marketing Team at:
marketing@melbournefringe.com.au

Michelle Tseng (she/her)
Marketing Manager

Michelle’s hot tip for Fringe is… close your eyes and randomly click somewhere on the Fringe website, and book your ticket to the show! This lucky dip may not be the best show you’ve ever been, but definitely the weirdest one!

Michelle has been in the festival world for a while, so you have probably seen her everywhere, and heard her being the loudest person in the venue (sometimes even louder than the performer). She worked for Melbourne Fringe in 2017 and 2018, and is back again in 2021 – that’s how much she loves this Festival, just can’t get enough of it. On top of her Fringe experience, she has also worked for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Chinese Museum, Monash Academy of Performing Arts, YIRRAMBOI and Arts House. Her biggest fear is people discovering her YouTube browsing history, but if there’s a place that will embrace her quirkiness, it’ll be Melbourne Fringe.

Adam Valentine (he/him)
Senior Publicist

During the Festival, Adam can be found connecting media with artists, holding a cameraman’s flash for a photoshoot or dressed as Cher from Clueless.

Adam started his public relations career in the festival circuit in Sydney before moving to Melbourne ten years ago (yes, he now says “potato cakes” instead of “potato scallops”).

Having worked for over a decade on the publicity of some of the country’s biggest events, festivals and arts organisations – his career highlight still remains the day he had to step in as a model on a boat photo shoot dressed as a mermaid vampire zombie. A coffee addict from his many days waking up for breakfast TV weather crosses, Adam handles publicity for the Festival, its year-round storytelling and is the team’s resident wordsmith.

Ethan Cavanagh (he/him)
Marketing Coordinator

During the Festival, Ethan can be seen in the line waiting for a coffee, as his sleep routine becomes a secondary priority to seeing as many shows as possible.

Ethan started at Melbourne Fringe mid-lock down in 2021 but has been working in the Melbourne arts scene since he was a teenager. As far as Ethan is concerned, there’s never a bad time or place to spread the good word about upcoming shows and where you can buy your tickets, including dancefloors, Uber Pool and dating apps. He prides himself as being the guy on the marketing team people tend to turn to when they need a few more jokes added to their emails or show bios. His two biggest loves are cooking and disco, often seen concurrently.

Amelia Saward (she/her)
Development Coordinator

During Fringe or any festival for that matter, Amelia suggests not doing what she does and waiting till the last minute to buy tickets for your fav event and finding it’s booked out…oops.

Amelia is an arts worker, artist and writer who loves all things art and history, having completed studies in art history and curatorship. After putting on her own exhibition in the 2019 Festival, she jumped at the possibility of joining the Fringe team. She has worked with a variety of arts organisations, including co-curating the Ballarat International Foto Biennale’s 2020 pandemic inspired project Mass Isolation Australia and is keenly interested in the role of the arts in exploring feminism and socio-politics. She is an avid tea lover, adores a good op-shop and thinks twilight is the best time of day.

Rachel Hanley (she/her)
Data & Ticketing Manager

Rachel’s first Fringe experience was Midnight Mess, and she can’t wait to be a part of the same atmosphere at this year’s Festival.

Rachel began her festival career at Edinburgh Fringe in 2018 and has been chasing the rush ever since. She’s now worked in ticketing and customer service across several festivals in the UK and Australia and is delighted to be a part of the Fringe team in her home city of Melbourne. Originally coming from a visual arts background, her love of ticketing stems from helping other creative people achieve their goals.

Outside of festivals, Rachel loves to travel, play field hockey, and make friends with dogs she meets in the park.

Emma Shaw (she/her)
Marketing Assistant

During the Festival, Emma can be found napping with her dog in between events and scouring TikTok for the best places to eat pre and post show.

Outside of claiming she watches the Kardashians to gather cultural references for work, Emma is a visual art enthusiast and graduated in 2021 with a degree in Art History and Italian. She’s worked on programs with M Pavilion and National Gallery of Australia, interned with Midsumma Festival’s marketing department and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at the University of Melbourne. She’s over the moon to have joined the Melbourne Fringe team in 2022 as self-proclaimed pop-culture princess and general white knight in shiny excel armour.

Programs and Projects Team

Contact the Programs and Projects team at:
artists@melbournefringe.com.au

Danny Delahunty (he/him)
Head of Programs & Projects

Danny’s hot tip for Fringe is get in early! Too many times in the past he’s put off seeing a show he wants to see only to find out everyone else was too and it’s now sold out.

Danny Delahunty is an arts producer and theatre director who has been working broadly in the independent sector for the best part of the past ten years. He has presented over 50 seasons of 34 projects, working with established theatre companies, on independent projects and in touring works around Australia and overseas. Prior to Fringe, Danny was working as the Festival Producer for Drama Victoria, an Events Producer for Melbourne Writers Festival, and the Tours Coordinator for Melbourne International Comedy Festival, as well as continuing his work as an indie project producer and his passion as a theatre director.

Ali Coad (she/they)
Program Manager (Common Rooms)

During the Festival, Ali can be found dragging curious friends to strange shows and dancing late, late into the night at Club Fringe!

It was 2012 at Adelaide Fringe where Ali fell in love with festivals. From there, her passion for creativity and new experiences has taken her to work with Sydney Festival, Prague Fringe, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Midsumma Festival and beyond. Ali is an independent arts and venue producer, ticketing nerd, beer enthusiast and has worked in pretty much every role of live events. She’s long been part of the Melbourne Fringe Family; as an independent producer, Ticketing (Nerd) Manager, running and programming independent venue: Errol’s & Co (2017 & 2018) and is a founder of Camp Conscious Collective (Melbourne Fringe Venue of the Year 2019) which is a project that focuses on activating accessible and affordable venues for artists, particularly artists who identify as female and/or queer. Ali reckons sports are fine, but nothing beats sharing GREAT art with a bunch of GREAT humans!

Eilysh Toose (she/her)
Producer (Major Projects)

Eilysh’s hot tip for Fringe is to keep in mind some of the best and most immersive experiences can be found in the quirky or smaller venues.

Eilysh Toose is a participatory and outdoor arts advocate, having worked in the local government sector for a number of years in community arts development and cultural events. Eilysh was the lead producer for the annual Hornsby Shire Festival of the Arts, Hornsby Art Prize and curator at the Wallarobba Arts and Cultural Centre. Now back from a two year stint in the UK working on the Stockton International Riverside Festival and coordinating an annual programme of civic events, Eilysh continues to support the development and delivery of new major works at Melbourne Fringe and is thrilled to be home with her beloved roller skates.

 

 

 

Matt Hirst (he/him)
Producer (Festival Hub)

Matt’s hot tip for Fringe is to line up a few shows to see back to back and make a night of it! The more shows you see the more varied and dynamic your experience will be. 

Matt Hirst is an arts administrator, producer, and wannabe chef. He is passionate about helping artists with the nitty-gritty stuff so that they can focus their energy on creating the art. Matt brings his experiences in Box Office, Front of House, Venue Operations, Independent Producing, Artists Services and back in the day, even performing. Matt has a range of skills and experiences within the independent arts sector. He has worked for Midsumma Festival, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival, and other arts organisations in a range of roles. With Melbourne Fringe, Matt independently produced for First Nations circus company Na Djinang Circus, co-founded a queer and female identified independent venue with Camp Conscious Collective and performed in Shania Choir – an a Capella Shania Twain tribute choir that toured the country in leopard print and lashes. As Producer of the Festival Hub, Matt is hoping to successfully pull together a home for Melbourne Fringe and a number of its events and artists.

Jason Marsiglia (he/they)
Program Manager (Independent Arts)

Jason’s hot tip for Fringe is to tell all your friends about the amazing shows that you see, so they can experience some Fringe magic too. Shout your recommendations from the figurative (or literal) rooftop.

Jason is an art and performance lover, dance-floor shaker and a massive festival nerd. Originally from Adelaide, he began his arts career producing shows for Adelaide Fringe, then working for the festival as Artist and Venue Coordinator. He’s also jetted around working for a bunch of fabulous festivals like Edinburgh Fringe and Sydney Film Festival. Recently, he worked at Midsumma Festival managing their open-access events and ticketing systems. As a loud and proud queer, Jason is particularly proud of this work to support the LGBTQIA+ arts community. He is now jumping with joy to join team Melbourne Fringe!

Brian Robertson (he/him)
Producer (Special Projects)

Brian’s hot tip for the Festival is turn up on time and be nice to the front of house staff, they will give you hot tip if you ask them.

Brian has been working in Festivals and live events for over 15 years including Darwin Festival, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Melbourne Festival, Edinburgh Fringe and Melbourne Fashion Festival. In 2012 Brian was awarded Best Emerging Producer for the Melbourne Fringe Festival and then Associate Producer Special Events from 2013 – 2015. Prior to returning to Melbourne Fringe, Brian was the Producer and Programmer for the Melba Spiegeltent and then Executive Producer at Circus Oz.

Anniene Stockton (she/they)
Program Coordinator (Artists & Venues)

Anniene is excited to share her passion and knowledge with artists as they take their journey participating in this year’s Melbourne Fringe.

Anniene is a producer, director and performer with over 25 years in the arts and entertainment space.
Her passion for live performance is especially strong, having produced over 50 projects. Many of her critically-acclaimed, award-winning works were presented here in Melbourne, with others toured interstate and overseas for a variety of Festivals.  Most of the shows were in unconventional spaces, such as pubs, laneways, city building rooftops and parked cars on the street.

Peta Duncan (She/her)
Program Coordinator (Deadly Fringe)

Peta is a long-time hobbyist and admirer of the arts and is kicking off her arts career as the program coordinator for Deadly Fringe. She is a lover of music and cinema and spends time as a model and DJ on the side performing in events such as Melbourne Music Week and Australian Fashion Week. With a background in advocacy and project support Peta is even more excited to be able to combine her love for the creative industry with her passion to support and uplift the Frist Nations arts community.

Bebe Backhouse
Senior Program Coordinator (Deadly Fringe)

During the Festival, I can be seen throwing back shots of espresso coffee, one after another. When I’m not drinking my bodyweight in caffeine, you can find me hanging off the shoulders of our amazing Blak performers, or waving my yellow, red and black pompoms at their shows…most likely with a coffee.

A descendant of the Bardi Jawi people of the Kimberley region of north-Western Australia, Bebe Backhouse is a writer and artistic leader who’s called Narrm (Melbourne) home for ten years. Beginning his creative practice as a classical pianist and composer, Bebe later made a name for himself as a producer and director of theatre, festivals, and public art projects across Australia, including international dance and theatre projects in New Zealand, France and Belgium. Holding senior leadership positions at prominent organisations across Narrm, Bebe has successfully fostered many opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creatives to showcase their work throughout mainstream platforms, allowing Traditional Culture to thrive in the public realm.

A leader in designing and delivering high-profile programs and strategic projects for Australia’s diverse communities, Bebe is a published author and a frequent commentator on the arts and culture community. Holding cultural integrity at the forefront, he has in-depth experience in stakeholder management and organisational leadership, with a passion for advocacy, advancement, and the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Consultants

Sam Ryan (S.A.Y.S.O Pty. Ltd.) Bookkeeping
Raft Studio Branding & Creative Agency
Eventotron Registration System
Emily O'Brien Risk Management
Red61 Ticketing
Uncle to Melbourne Fringe Wesley Enoch AM
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