Introducing our New Resident Artistic Team
State Theatre Company South Australia is pleased to announce an expansion of its core artistic team to include Anthony Nicola, Alexis West, and Sasha Zahra.
Alexis West, who officially commences her role as Resident Writer/Director from May 11, joins Anthony Nicola, who started as Resident Director in March. Sasha Zahra comes on board as the Company’s new Artistic Counsel.
They join a new assembly of fresh voices at State Theatre Company South Australia, including Helpmann Academy Emerging Director Fellow Clara Solly-Slade and commissioned writers Caleb Lewis, Samuel Adamson, Elena Carapetis and Emily Steel.
Artistic Director Mitchell Butel says it’s particularly special to be welcoming an extended team of artists to the Company at this time.
“I’m so proud that in the midst of this crisis, our Company is continuing its commitment to having resident artists on staff and to increasing that number,” he says.
“Anthony and Alexis will join our Helpmann Academy Emerging Director Fellow, Clara Solly-Slade, to help shepherd in a host of new works and to connect the Company to our audiences and wider performing arts sector in rich and multiple ways.
“I’m so grateful that Sasha Zahra, one of the most connected theatre practitioners in South Australia, will lend her wise and lateral counsel to us on our journey forward. I’m also thrilled that we have four uber-talented South Australian writers under commission for us in Elena, Samuel, Emily and Caleb, who are all playing with such diverse genres and stories that I know will eventually explode in dazzling fashion onto our stages.”
Alexis, who last worked with the Company on Sista Girl in 2017, will be working on a new play during her residency.
“I’m looking forward to the creative conversations and connections that will be had with Artistic Director Mitchell Butel at the helm and other glorious artists in the room – or in Zoom,” she says.
“I look forward to yarning about other First Nations writers/creatives and how we can collaborate to support their work to provide platforms and partnerships for their stories.
“It’s an incredible privilege and honour to have the opportunity to work and write closely with the Company. I am anxiously excited.”
Anthony, a Flinders University Drama Centre graduate who last worked with the Company as Assistant Director on Jasper Jones, will lead a range of educational workshops, dramaturg and direct developments of our commissions and join Clara (who is developing other new works) in facilitating the upcoming Flinders University Young Playwrights Awards.
“This opportunity is so exciting! I’m thrilled to work alongside artists I’ve been inspired by for many years, and the chance to collaborate is a dream come true,” he says.
“We have some awesome projects in the works and I can’t wait to share these breathtaking theatrical experiences with audiences once we can all gather again.”
Sasha, who is also currently Creative Producer – Performance and Events for Tandanya, will be providing curatorial advice to the Company and helping it connect further with other South Australian theatre-makers.
About the Resident Artists
Alexis has worked as a dancer, choreographer, performer, voice talent, writer, director, producer, researcher, poet, theatre maker, filmmaker and collaborator over the past 20 years. A Birri Gubba, Wakka Wakka, South Sea Islander and Caucasian woman living on Kaurna Country, Alexis is passionate about First Nation voices, the stories of people with disability, oppression, diversity and collaboration. She has worked as an Artistic Director with Karrikarrinya Theatre Collective, co-written with Elena Carapetis for State Theatre Company South Australia and written and collaborated for Kurruru Youth Arts and No Strings Attached Theatre of Disability. She has worked with and for SA Writers Centre (now Writers SA), Spirit Festival, Our Mob, Art Gallery SA, SA Film, Media Resource Centre, NITV and Adelaide Fringe. She was co-curator of the 2017 Australian Theatre Forum with Steve Mayhew and Creative in Residence with Vitalstatistix in 2018. Alexis also performed at jute theatre Cairns in BUKAL the inspiring story of Henrietta Fourmile-Marrie, written by Andrea James. BUKAL toured remote Far North Queensland schools and communities as a part of Jute’s ‘Dare to Dream’ program. Alexis works with ActNow Theatre facilitating and curating the First Nations Pathway program. She is First Nations producer with Australia Day Council of South Australia.
Anthony is a Greek-Australian director who graduated from the Flinders Drama Centre in 2019 with First Class Honours and the University Medal, and is currently Resident Director of State Theatre Company South Australia.
His directing credits for Flinders Drama Centre include Moth, Small and Tired, Spring Awakening, A View of Concrete and Incognito. He was directorial secondment for The Gods Of Strangers (State Theatre Company South Australia), and last year was assistant director on The Rise and Fall of St George (Seymour Centre/Mardi Gras) and Jasper Jones (State Theatre Company South Australia).
A keen collaborator, he has worked with many respected directors and teachers, including Elena Carapetis, Kate Champion, Dawn Langman, David Mealor, Julian Meyrick, Renato Musolino, Rosalba Clemente and Tom Healey. He will be directing Piri Eddy’s Forgiveness for RUMPUS later this year, which has been awarded the 2020 Jill Blewett Playwright’s Award
A graduate of the University of Adelaide – BA (Drama Studies), Sasha has worked in numerous areas across the performing arts industry in Australia and overseas in the past 20 years with roles including director, creative producer, programmer, festival producer and theatre maker. Sasha has been the Artistic Director of D’Faces of Youth Arts, Kurrruru and the Associate Artistic Director of the Come Out Festival. She was the Creative Producer of Adelaide Fringe (2009 – 2014), the co-program director for the Royal Croquet Club in Adelaide (2015 – 2018) and the co director of the Stirling Fringe (2017 & 2018). Sasha has worked extensively with Wan Smolbag Theatre (Vanuatu), with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and communities and as a producer with independent artists and companies across Australia and internationally. Sasha was the Executive Producer of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the mini Pacific Games (Dec 2017), directed & co directed numerous shows for the 2018 Adelaide Cabaret Festival and directed Amphibian for Windmill Theatre in September 2018. Other works she has directed include the 2019 Class of Cabaret and A Doll’s House at AC Arts.
Clara is working with State Theatre Company of South Australia and State Opera South Australia as she undertakes an Emerging Director Fellowship through the support of The James and Diana Ramsay Foundation and the Helpmann Academy. This has seen her work as Assistant Director on Dance Nation, Animal Farm and A View From the Bridge (State Theatre Company South Australia) and A Cunning Little Vixen, Madeline Lee and Madama Butterfly (State Opera). Clara graduated from the acting stream of The Adelaide College of the Arts in 2013 and undertook further performance training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, London, in 2016. In 2017 she trained with La Mama Experimental Theatre Company at its International Directors Symposium in Italy.
Clara has worked as an artist with Sport for Jove Theatre, Pinchgut Opera, and with the children’s cancer charity Camp Quality. She has also worked as a facilitator and director with young people for Urban Myth Theatre of Youth, ACT NOW Theatre for Social Change, Australian Theatre for Young People, Australian Refugee Volunteers and Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre.
Spotlight on Tomorrow
Our new artistic team will be shining the spotlight on tomorrow. They will be mentoring the next generation of great South Australian theatre makers. They will be supporting new works by a range of diverse writers, including First Nations voices, and assisting in the programming of our 2021 season.
It’s been a tough, uncertain and challenging time for everyone with lockdowns, lockouts and lock-ins. The arts sector has been hit especially hard and our theatre-making family would love your help to keep the spotlight trained on tomorrow.
We want to make sure that when the cloud lifts, we’re ready to welcome audiences back to the theatre.
Your donation will help our artists who’ve been unable to work because of venue closures. It will mean we can rollout community and education programs for tomorrow’s artists and theatre-makers and share highlights of our work with audiences online.
If you able to support us at this time, please consider making a donation to our End of Financial Year campaign. All donations of $2 or more are tax deductible and will go a long way to helping combat the huge impact on our existing and planned work with our writers, directors, designers, composers and actors.
Help us keep the spotlight focused on tomorrow, because without you – our audience – there is no theatre. You make what we do possible.
Thank you for your generosity.