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Real Talk

Exploring Perspectives

Real Talk is an opportunity for twelve artists to watch and engage with art and performance; take part in critical discussion; and apply their personal perspectives to speaking, writing and responding to artistic works.

This program supports artists to critically discuss works with peers, reflect upon culture, interrogate and disrupt traditional ways of reviewing, and find their own ways of speaking, writing and responding to art and performance.

The program is open to artists at any stage of their career and from all disciplines (writers, performers, filmmakers, musicians, theatre makers, visual artists and more). It seeks to prioritise and center applicants who identity as First Nations, LGBTQIA+, and/or living with disability.

Real Talk is a year long program, with a slate of engagements throughout Perth Festival 2024, and additional sessions bimonthly throughout the rest of the year.

Meet the 2024 Real Talk Cohort

Adam Kelly

My name is Adam Kelly and I am an autistic gentleman who is interested in many forms of art, but my principal interests are writing and acting.  I love performing in shows and creating my own work (or at least attempting to do so). 

Alongside WA Youth Theatre Company Artistic director James Berlyn, I created ARCO Snr and ARCO Jnr – an award-winning autobiographical show about living with autism. With the help of an Australia Council Disability and Mentorship Grant, we were able to develop the show further to tour it. Following several seasons in Perth, in 2022 ARCO toured to several regional WA locations, and in 2023 toured nationally to Arts Centre Melbourne and Dream Big Festival Adelaide, and to the Fuse International Festival United Kingdom, where ARCO Junior won the Fuse Festival Best of Children and Family Award. I have also performed the show for several local schools, and I intend to keep doing so.  I think it’s important for autistic kids to see themselves represented on stage and that the way they view the world is beautiful.

Georgi Ivers

Georgi Ivers is an award-winning multimedia and live performance artist whose practice spans video, photography, theatre-making, performance, AV design and erotic dance. Her life and work hold an affinity for extremes: she pushes digital technology to its limit, and monetises sexuality and pleasure in a chronically ill body that rails against the capitalist grind. Her artistic enquiry investigates how these experiences inform alternative ways of existing, making and caring for one another.

Recent works include photo series In Sh33p’s Cl0thing (2023), Jocelyn’s Baby’s ‘Did It Hurt You?’ music video (director, 2023) and solo show You’re So Brave (lead artist, co-writer, performer; The Blue Room Theatre, 2022). Georgi spoke on Kolyang Creative Hub’s Access As Dramaturgy panel about how her chronic illnesses influence her artistic process (2022), and has published resources on how independent artists and grassroots events can improve accessibility via her Instagram @storiesbygeorgi. She is a 2023 Perth Festival Lab alumnus. Her work is a love letter to humour, self-compassion and listening to your body when the world is yelling at you to close your fucking legs and sleep when you’re dead.

Hannah Lee Tungate

Hannah Lee Tungate is a soprano, creative producer, and change maker who dedicates herself to championing marginalised composers through performance, research, and advocacy. As a performer she focuses on lesser-known composers, while as a creative producer, she curates projects highlighting forgotten voices or emerging creatives. In 2023, her arts organisation, Tenth Muse Initiative, produced their first short opera, earning them the Operabox Emerging Arts Leadership Award. As a queer neurodivergent person with an invisible disability, Hannah prioritises creating safe creative spaces for herself and collaborators, whilst aiming to drive real change within the arts sector, particularly within classical music and opera.

Helah Milroy

Helah K Milroy is a Palyku woman (East Pilbara) who lives and plays in the Walyalup region of Western Australia. Her practice draws upon feminist and first nations ways of being and knowing, and explores human existence by blurring the boundaries between life and art. Over the past year Helah has been developing her transpersonal arts practice in the form of The Discovery Method. She is excited to be part of the Perth Festival - Real Talk cohort, and is looking forward to seeing what she discovers next! 

Julia Hales

JULIA HALES is an award winning actor and creative theatre maker with Down Syndrome living in Perth. In 2015, she participated in the Australia Council's Sync Leadership Program. In 2017, she secured project funding for FINDING LOVE, exploring love’s meaning for her and other people with Down syndrome. This project led to the production You Know We Belong Together. Co-commissioned by Perth Festival, Black Swan State Theatre Company and DADAA, it premiered at the Perth Festival in 2018 and then toured to London's South Bank Centre, the Edinburgh International Festival, and Sydney Opera House in 2022.

Other work includes; DADAA, PICA, Hydra Poesis, The Blue Room Theatre, ABC radio, KCAT in Callan Ireland, Sensorium, SPRUNG! and in 2020 she hosted THE UPSIDE for the ABC’s Catalyst. As a passionate advocate and leader in the arts, Julia wants to share as many disabled voices with the world as possible. “I want audiences to hear people with disability and what they want, to really listen to their life experiences.”  Julia was the winner of the 2023 Creative Australia National Arts and Disability Award.

Kathryn Gledhill-Tucker

Kathryn Gledhill-Tucker is a Nyungar technologist, writer, digital rights activist living on Whadjuk Noongar boodjar. They write speculative fiction, and work with creative coding and digital poetry to interrogate themes of computational histories and our relationship with machines. Their work frequently paints stories of Indigenous characters in near-future realities, and asks - what would technology look like if built from Indigenous protocols of Caring for Country and Caring for Kin? 

Kathryn's work has appeared in Cordite, Running Dog, Red Room Poetry, and the short story 'Protocols of Transference' can be found in the blak speculative fiction anthology This All Come Back Now, published by UQP in 2022.

Kula-lee McKeon

Kula-lee McKeon is a proud Nyul Nyul woman living and writing on Whadjuk Boodjar for almost a decade. Hailing from Broome, where she spent the majority of her life, Kula-lee writes from her experiences, her feelings and her truth. An avid reader in her youth, she harnesses her love of reading, words and her culture into writing and storytelling.

Lisa Watson

Lisa Watson is a South African creative, with a passion for community and performing arts. After leaving Cape Town at a young age, Lisa grew up in Auckland, New Zealand before moving to Boorloo, Western Australia. This experience shaped Lisa’s perspective, teaching her to appreciate diversity in art, food and culture, and helping her find her own sense of identity. 

In 2021, Lisa took part in the Performing Lines Kolyang Diversity Lab artist residency at the Fremantle Art studio, then ‘To The Front’, another artist residency through Roots TV. She finished the year off by taking part in the Humans of Armadale project with the City of Armadale and becoming a Multicultural Advisory Group member for the City of Armadale. In 2022 and 2023, Lisa has been heavily involved in creating inclusive Afro-centric shows and events such as Jaiye Jaiye, Afro Block Party and an Evening of African Poetry and Storytelling (EAPS) as Co-Founder of ‘Our Collective Dream’ (OCD), a social enterprise created to entertain, educate and uplift the BIPOC community.

Naoko Uemoto

Naoko is a Japanese-Australian saxophonist, educator, and artsworker, whose practice blends her classical training and experience in jazz, with improvisational curiosity. Her interests in playfulness, feeling time, and the dancefloor grew during her undergraduate studies at UWA; receiving First Class honours for her exploration of “groove” and “rhythmic expression” when playing with fixed electronics. Since graduating in 2022, Naoko has had the opportunity to expand on these concepts with dancers for The Blueroom Theatre, with visual artist Julie Ziegenhardt for KISS Club, and various musicians, including a commissioned work by Tone List and Perth Jazz Society. Naoko finds great joy in being surrounded by such imaginative collaborators and friends, but above all, she is constantly inspired by the strong force of female saxophonists in Boorloo.

Natalie Allen

Natalie Allen is an exceptional dancer, having achieved recognition and accolades throughout her illustrious career. She has engaged in fruitful collaborations and showcased her talent on both national and international stages, working with esteemed choreographers and companies from Australia and beyond. Recent highlights in her career include her portrayal of Lady Macbeth in Punchdrunk's Sleep No More in Shanghai in 2019, and her highly acclaimed solo performance, JULIA, co-created with Sally Richardson premiering in 2021. Moreover, Natalie has proven herself as a talented choreographer, with her own creations gracing stages in Perth, throughout Western Australia, Avignon, Taipei, Adelaide, Jakarta, Singapore, and Sydney. 

Sam Ren

Sam Ren is an artist who paints, dances and creates scripted and documentary works.
Sam uses supportive technology including a powered wheelchair to utilise social media and other platforms.  With the support of a Screenwest Diversity General grant in 2017, Sam was mentored by film maker, Lincoln Mackinnon to explore modifications and adaptations to support his documentary film making. Throughout Sam’s training and professional practice he has collaborated, performed, devised, and taught with a range of local artists and organisations including My Studio, Circus WA, Julia Hales, Sam Fox, Rachel Ogle and Ella Hetherington.

In 2022, Sam was included in Performing Lines WA’s Kolyang Diversity Lab and Hub, working with Lead Mentor, Caroline Bowditch and nine other disabled artists to seed new work. His passion for contact improvisation continued in the Kolyang Hub with dancer and ally artist, Bernadette Lewis when they co-facilitated a workshop for other Hub artists. Sam is currently leading the creation of a new dance work, No Gravity, that explores the possibility for a disabled bodied to fly, to float and to stand. He is collaborating with established artists Sam Fox and Bernadette Lewis.

Tina Fielding

Tina, a celebrated writer aged 41, proudly identifies as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community and as someone living with down syndrome. In January 2024, Tina, alongside Director Jacqueline Pelczar and Producer Sophia Armstrong, unveiled their latest project, the web series "OUT OF HERE," which Tina not only wrote but also showcased her acting skills in.

Her journey in the spotlight began to gain momentum back in 2021 when she triumphed with her debut short film, "SPARKLES," clinching the prestigious Outstanding Achievement in Writing award at the 2021 Screen Culture Awards. Supported by Screenwest's Elevate70 program, "SPARKLES" captivated audiences across various film festivals, including Flickerfest in Sydney, Revelation Film Festival, and Cannes Short Film Festival in 2021, and later at Slamdance Film Festival in Utah, Micheaux Film Festival, El Paso Film Festival, and Pride on the Reef in Gladstone, Queensland in 2022. The film's journey continued with accolades at My Queer Career and Asia-Pacific Queer Film, where Tina was recognised as an Emerging Performer and garnered the Audience Award in 2023.

Tina's stage presence has been equally compelling, highlighted by her performances with the Black Swan State Theatre Company in "YOU KNOW WE BELONG TOGETHER" in Sydney, London, and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2022. Her dedication to the craft was fostered early on through workshops, including the Perth Festival Connect workshop with award-winning performer Claire Cunningham in 2016. Since then, Tina has graced the stage with Poles Apart Community Theatre and the Black Swan State Theatre Company, further cementing her place in the performing arts scene. Beyond her artistic endeavours, Tina remains a passionate advocate for diversity in the arts, championing inclusivity and demonstrating that everyone, regardless of ability, has a valuable place to showcase their talents.