All Outer Urban Projects program areas are interlinked. They include a Community Access Tutorial Program, Social Enterprise, Linkages to
further arts training and employment with other arts companies, a developing Ensemble, Major Works for main stage presentation, an Associate Artist and Traineeship Program.
MILAD NOROUZI -
Milad is a rapper, singer-songwriter and performer. Milad’s creative life began in the underground rap studios of Tehran. He joined Outer Urban Projects in 2015 after attending it's remount of Poetic License at Darebin Arts Centre. He has transformed and re-birthed as a writer, and performer/actor and has written and performed in the company's major works Poetic License at fortyfivedownstairs (2017), Grand DiVisions: A Moved Urban Cantata at the Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne (2015), Liberian Boy (2018), The Audition (2019).
Bree Synot -
Bree is a writer and performer. Beginning in Outer Urban Projects' community access program Bree as a young teenager in 2012 gained confidence and self worth in the community and as an artist embracing her uniqueness. Bree is now an Outer Urban Projects' Associate Artist undergoing a mentorship with Arts Access Victoria and the Company. Next year, Bree will be commissioned to write a new work “Broken”. It will be part memoir, part stand up, part film and drama.
Ajak Kwai -
Ajak is an icon of Australian – Sudanese music. Ajak’s music is inspiring and soulful, infused with funky afro-beats representing the depth and richness of her South Sudanese roots. Her performances are filled with vibrant sounds and her distinctive voice has mesmerised audiences nationally and internationally. Singing in Arabic, Sudanese or English, Ajak conjures a vivid picture of her Dinka heritage. Music is the vehicle for her stories of extraordinary life experiences as a refugee, exiled from her home and her family. Her moving tales of exile, hope, freedom, love, and cows — beloved animals of the Dinka — in turn reflect her optimism and belief in the best of human nature.
Brett Kelly -
Brett has been the Principal Trombone of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra since 1981. Brett played in Newcastle Brass Band and was Principal Trombonist in the Australian Youth Orchestra before joining the orchestra of Opera Australia and later taking up his position at the MSO.
Committed to new Australian music, Brett has been a core member of three influential Australian contemporary music ensembles – Flederman, The Seymour Group and Elision and has played or conducted the premieres of over 300 new works.
Danche Sulejman -
Daniel Sulejman also known as Danche has always been surrounded by music from a young age.
Danche started practicing keyboard at the age of 8. Danche's hard training and motivation really started when he was 15 years of age when he travelled to Bitola, in North Macedonia, the epicentre for Balkan music in Europe.
Ever since then, he has been traveling back and forth to Macedonia to keep in touch with the music scene there and welcomed with open arms by his family and childhood friends.
Josef Hanna -
Josef began playing the violin at the age of 4. He has been playing the violin for 18 years and has recently started learning guitar. Josef was raised and educated in Roxburgh Park. His past teachers include Helge Thelen, Elizabeth Sellars and Roy Theaker. Josef is currently studying under Sophie Rowell.
Josef has been a member of the Melbourne Youth Orchestra (MYO) since 2012. In 2015, he was appointed the position of Concertmaster and has retained the position into 2016.
Lerato Masiyane -
Lerato aka Lee is a Melbourne-based dance instructor and performer and is a Teaching Artist with Outer Urban Projects. Lerato born in Zimbabwe, moved to Victoria, Australia to study in 2014. Since completing her studies in Youth Work, Lerato has continued to build her youth work skills and combine them with her passion for dance to inspire and empower young people.
After her arrival in Victoria, Lerato was selected to join professional dancehall crew ‘BurnCity Queenz’. Both with this group, and as a solo performer, she has performed with artists like Sampa the Great, Baker Boy, and Jojo Abot.
Mary Sitarenos -
Theatre Director and Maker, co-artistic Director Liminal Theatre and Performance. Mary is an actor and director who has worked for over 20 years in alternative and mainstream theatre film and television.
Some of her theatre credits include Tes Lyssiotis' The Forty Lounge Cafe and Tom Lindstrom's Heroic Measures (Playbox); Too Young For Ghosts (Janis Balodis) and Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Melbourne Theatre Company); Jean-Pierre Mignon's Chekhov Trilogy (Anthill); and Blood Moon (Tes Lyssiotis), Song of Songs (Robert Draffin), Pericles and The Idiot (Theatreworks).
Miguel Rios & Meredith O’Shea -
Miguel and Meredith are partners in work and life. Multi-award winner; photographer and film maker Meredith O'Shea and musician/film maker Miguel Rios are visual story tellers. Together they create film clips, documentaries and editorial videos.
Meredith's work as a photojournalist has brought heartbreaking and inspiring stories of human struggle and triumph to the front pages of The Sunday Age for over 15 years, featuring regularly with other media outlets including Guardian Australia.
Fakaoho Tupou -
Blending Maori and Pacific Islander influences with her love for Gospel and Hip Hop, Fakaoho aka Foxy Tupou is an asset to any concert or event.
Fakaho is a musically gifted singer with a strong following in the Pacific Islander and Gospel community. She won the 2014 Hume Art Awards and always astonishes audiences with her vocal talent and charisma. In 2015 she opened for Outer Urban Projects, Poetic License at the Darebin Arts & Entertainment Centre and performed in Grand DiVisons: A Moved Urban Cantata at the Arts Centre, as part of the 2015 Melbourne Festival.
Pippa Samaya -
Pippa is a photographer/filmmaker specialising in dance/movement and humanitarian documentary. Awards include two-time winner of the International 60 Second Dance Film Competition (Denmark/Finland), Australian Dance Award for Excellence in Dance on Film, SALON exhibit at CCP, Best Film at FAD Film Festival (US), Best Music Video at the NIMA awards, finalist in the National Photography Prize, the Ballarat International Foto Biennale and IRIS portraiture prize.
Ruci Kaisila -
Ruci is a musically gifted performer in gospel and soul. From a young age, Ruci, along with her twin sister Joanne, developed a passion for music through singing and performances at their local church. Ruci on piano and vocals and Joanne on guitar and vocals, the dynamic duo captivate audiences with their soulful ballads.
In 2012, Ruci’s compelling vocals won the Tükçe Olimpiyatlari National Australian Competition. A competition where non-Turkish artists perform poetry, drama or music in Turkish language.
Stella Horta -
Stella Horta works as an independent filmmaker and develops video installations and films. The “More Than Human” and feminist lens are important in her process. In research and form, there is a presence of speculative storytelling, parafiction, intimate science studies, and performativity. Recently, Stella has collaborated with performers and choreographers exploring the format of video performance and dance film. Stella has been studying at the Berlin University of the Art since 2018. Previously Stella studied filmmaking at the European Film College in Denmark and Audiovisual Communication at the art high school Antonio Arroio in Lisbon. Stella is collaborating with Outer Urban Projects and Renae Shadler on the work Vigil.
Tangata Paea Tupou -
Tangata (aka Ta) began singing from a young age. Born to a musically gifted family, Ta’s passion for music started in the family living room and at her local church. Ta's Cook Island heritage has a huge influence on her style of music. Ta and sister Fakaoho have been performing together for many years. Both artists learned how to play music instruments and singing from their dad.
At 22 years of age, Ta has been performing with Outer Urban Projects for over 8 years. She is an independent vocalist, duo with sister Fakaoho and also performs with cousins, Ruci, Joanne and Emmanuel Kaisila.
VAHIDEH EISAEI -
Vahideh grew up in an artistic family with a love for arts, music and poetry. She completed high school at Tehran Music College, studied her Bachelor of Music in Tehran University of Fine Arts and pursued postgraduate studies in Master of Music at the University of Western Australia. She has over 12 years of professional musical experience as a music performer.
Playing the Kanun (a string instrument), Vahideh has performed in different ensembles in Europe, the Middle East and Australia including, Mona Foma Festival, Multicultural Music Festival Canberra, Sarv Ensemble Australian Tour and Chakam Australian Tour.
Joanne Kaisila -
Joanne is a proud Fijian-Australian. She is vocalist and multi-instrumentalist performer – playing guitar, drums and bass. From a young age Joanne developed a passion for gospel and soul music and has performed in many seminal shows for Outer Urban Projects including Grand Divisons - A Moved Urban Cantata at Arts Centre Melbourne and Hume Studios at Kangan Tafe.
SAHRA DAVOUDI -
Sahra graduated in art and architecture at the University of Tehran with a Bachelor of Theatre Art in 2009. Sahra was involved in many student productions as a writer, actor, costume and set designer. Her dissertation thesis was an adaptation of the short story by Raymond Carver - ‘Neighbours’. Her first professional work as an actor in Australia was with Outer Urban Projects dance theatre work, VESSEL at the Arts Centre Melbourne, Melbourne Fringe (2017) and as a writer and actor in The Audition, La Mama Theatre (2019).
NATASHA LAKKIS -
Natasha is fast becoming a well-known name in Melbourne’s orchestra scene. The eldest of eight children of a musical family from Roxburgh Park, she began violin at three years of age. In 2014 Natasha was the principal 2nd violinist for the Melbourne Youth Orchestra and collaborated with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra on their tour to New Zealand. She was violin concertmaster in 2012 & 2013 for Vision Australia's Carols by Candlelight conducted by John Foreman.
RENAE SHADLER -
Renae is an actor, choreographer and dancer based in Melbourne and Berlin. Her work includes dance, experimental performance and embedded community projects. Since studying at the Victorian College of the Arts in Acting (BA Drama Performance, 2010), Adelaide Centre for the Arts in Dance and École Philippe Gaulier in Clown, Renae has continued to explore detailed physicality, spoken word and the larger dramatic gesture with warmth and sensitivity. Her work examines humans role in the greater global ecology.
TARA JADE SAMAYA -
In 2019 Tara won the Green Room Award for Best Dance Performer for Common Ground, Chunky Move. Dancing with Chunky Move since 2012 performing in Rule of Thirds, Depth of Field, Complexity of Belonging, 247 Days, Anti— Gravity & Common Ground. In 2016, Tara was appointed Chunky Move’s Artistic Associate, assisting the creation of LUCID, winner of Green Room award for ‘Concept and Realisation’. Tara also conducted public programs and curated film event ‘Frames for Change’.
THOMAS E. S. KELLY -
Thomas is a proud Bundjalung-Yugambeh, Wiradjuri and Ni-Vanuatu man. He studied at NAISDA Dance College and graduated in 2012. Thomas is an artist that works with multiple art forms including, choreography, dance, theatre, music composition, puppetry and teaching. In 2017 Thomas founded and became Artistic Director of Karul Projects and is currently a company member of the Tasdance Makers Company. Thomas' performance credits include, Long Grass - Vicki Van Hout, Am I - Shaun Parker & Company, and choreographic credits include, [MIS]CONCEIVE, CO_EX_EN Karul Projects, and VESSEL by Outer Urban Projects (2017).
DEON NUKU -
Deon has worked as a dancer and actor in film, television and theatre. His theatre credits include West Side Story, Fame, Footloose and Saturday Night Fever. He has worked with international artists such as Macy Gray and Kylie Minogue. Deon’s television credits include the ARIA music awards, X-Factor (UKTV), Hey Hey It’s Saturday, Australian Film Industry Awards, The Good Friday Appeal, The Logie Awards, Fast Forward and Neighbours. He was a featured dancer in the films Moulin Rouge and Scooby Doo. Deon is a member of the Wickid Force breakdance team - Australia’s leading breakdance champions. Deon is Dance Director of the Victorian State School Spectacular. He has been a dance tutor with Outer Urban Projects since 2012.
PHILIP PANDONGAN -
MC, Rapper & Host, "Yung Phily" - Philip Pandongan holds true to the philosophy that, "every gig's a good gig". His stagecraft and ability to think on his feet is legendary. Yung Phily continues to inspire young, emerging and established artists across hip-hop genre. Yung Phily facilitates workshops in MCing and mixed art forms, with various community arts practitioners. He has graced many a Melbourne stage including the Melbourne Recital Centre, Fairfax Theatre at Arts Centre Melbourne and Federation Square for various companies and festivals. Yung Phily has worked with Outer Urban Projects as a performer and tutor since 2012.
NICOLA SANA MCCARTHY -
Nicola was born in New Zealand to a Japanese mother and Irish father. She grew up near Tokyo and began dancing when she was 15. Five years later she moved to the North East of England, where she studied with leading street dance pioneers. After moving to Australia she formed the SANA Crew, the first all-female crew in Newcastle. She now teaches in many studios throughout Melbourne and specialises in the many dance styles including Hip-hop, African, Locking, Waacking and House. Nicola has been a dance tutor with Outer Urban Projects since 2018.
STEPHEN VALERI -
Stephen is a Melbourne based singer, actor, cabaret performer and producer. His recent theatre credits include Roger in ‘Grease - The Arena Experience’ (Sydney Season) (2018), Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle in the Sydney premiere of ‘Mack & Mabel’ (Hayes Theatre Co./ Working Management) and Man 3 in ‘First Date - The Musical’ (Pursued By Bear/ Chapel Off Chapel). Stephen has been training in voice for over 20 years. He has worked with some of Australia’s leading teachers, vocal coaches and musical directors, having trained in contemporary, musical theatre and classical singing.
David Ralph - General Manager / Lani Hannah - Finance and Business Manager (CPA) / Melanie Augustine - Community Programs Manager / Peta Kalis - Administration and Finance Officer / Simone Etheve - Marketing Support Officer / Ruci Kaisila - Community Arts Support Worker
Daniel Santangeli - Chairperson / Andy Lynch / Leah Perkins / Rohini Shama / Neela McGilton – Treasurer / Tahlia Azaria
Irine Vela - Artistic Director
Irine Vela is a composer, librettist, creative producer and director. Irine’s work emphasises the validity, necessity and excitement that diverse voices and forms bring to the Australian arts. She has collaborated with many of Australia’s finest performers, writers, directors and theatre companies. Her work as producer and Artistic Director for Outer Urban Projects has resulted in many unique productions including 'Poetic License', Melbourne Writers Festival (2014), Darebin Arts (2015) fortyfivedownstairs (2017); 'Grand DiVisions – A Moved Urban Cantata', Arts Centre Melbourne, Melbourne Festival (2015), Vessel Arts Centre Melbourne (2017) Melbourne Fringe, Anthem and The Audition (2019).
Kate Gillick - Executive Producer
Kate brings 30 years of professional practice across theatre, film and TV to Outer Urban Projects. She has trained and worked as an actor, writer, dramaturg, director and producer. She freelanced for many years working in Fringe, with Melbourne Workers Theatre and in TV drama and is an AFTRS screenwriting graduate. Her documentary credits include SBS/CAAMA 'Minmaku Way' (writer), ‘A Few Old Blokes' (writer/director) MIFF and the SBS, ATOM award winner and Dendy nominated 'Remembering Country' (co-writer/director).