All Outer Urban Projects program areas are interlinked. They include a Community Access Tutorial Program, Social Enterprise, Linkages to external arts training
and employment with other arts companies, a developing Ensemble, Major Works for main stage presentation, an Associate Artist and Traineeship Program.
Staff and Board
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 conceptualised, originated and enabled many fertile collaborations with outstanding outcomes: 'suBurBan exchange', Melbourne Recital Centre (2011); 'Urban Chamber – Beyond', Melbourne Festival (2013); 'Poetic License', Melbourne Writers Festival (2014), remount Darebin Arts (2015) and at fortyfivedownstairs (2017); and 'Grand DiVisions', Arts Centre Melbourne, Melbourne Festival (2015). Her film and television credits include: 'Head On' (feature film), 'Remembering Country' (documentary drama SBS), and the mini-series 'The Slap' (ABC). She received the 2012 APRA Screen Music Award for Best Sound Track Album. Other notable collaborations and productions include the award winning 'Who's Afraid of the Working Class', 'Do Not Go Gentle' and her music drama '1975-A Populist Opera' for which she also wrote the libretto. Her choral opera 'Little City' was acclaimed by both music and theatre critics and garnered her an Award from the Australian Music Centre for Best Composition by an Australian Composer. She is also the recipient of the Tropfest film award for Best Original Score. She was awarded a 2007 State Library fellowship to research and create the multi-media music drama - 'Australia in Danger' - a slide night. She performs with the Sevdah Sephardic ensemble Saray Iluminado and is founding member of 'the haBiBis'. Their CD Intoxication received an ARIA award for Best World Music Album.
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). Kate was Artistic Co-Director and Creative Producer with the Anti Racism Action Band (A.R.A.B) performing arts program from 2004-12. During this time A.R.A.B produced over 40 projects, performed at 400 gigs and events and played to a total audience of over 100,000. Kate’s wide ranging collaborative and organisational skills and commitment to art that reflects the stories of working class and disenfranchised people has seen her evolution as Executive Producer of Outer Urban Projects.
Akimera Burckhardt-Bedeau - Community Development Worker / David Ralph - General Manager / Lani Hannah - Finance Coordinator / Melanie Augustine - Community Programs Coordinator / Milad Norouzi - Community Development Worker / Peta Kalis - Administration and Finance Officer / Victoria Canning - Marketing Assistant
Daniel Santangeli - Deputy Chair / Emanuela Savini / Lee Casey / Melanie Dye / Neela McGilton – Treasurer / Sarah Austin / Sharon Nathani - Chairperson / Susan Ball
VICTORIA CANNING - Associate Artist
Victoria Canning is an 18-year-old Tongan/Australian emerging dancer and actor with strong roots in Polynesian dance, hip hop and contemporary dance. Victoria joined the Outer Urban Projects Zone2 Dance Tutorials in 2013 and is currently a leader in the R-Fam Hip-hop crew that regularly perform gigs across Melbourne with Outer Urban Projects' Social Enterprise. Victoria was involved in a collaborative creative development and performance with Black Grace Dance Company (NZ) in Grand DiVisions. Victoria will be acting as an Associate Artist and performer on a new dance theatre work, VESSEL.
Milad Norouzi - Actor and Rapper
Milad Norouzi is a 20 year old rapper and actor. Milad’s creative life began in the underground rap studios of Tehran. He joined Outer Urban Projects in 2015 after attending the company’s remount of Poetic License at Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre. Milad joined Outer Urban Projects Zone2 Rap and Writing workshops and was a principal performer and creator in Grand DiVisions for the 2015 Melbourne Festival. He has transformed and rebirthed as a writer and performer/actor with Outer Urban Projects and will be an Ensemble member and main protagonist in one of our smaller scale works ‘The Audition’.
Mahmoud Samoun aka Babz - Rapper
Mahmoud Samoun aka Babz is a Lebanese/Australian and found his feet, his words and his beat when he met the Outer Urban Projects' team in 2009 and took a lead role in Melbourne Fringe Festival show. Babz, keen to strengthen and expand his writing and develop his solo work has since chalked up dozens of gigs and performances with cohealth Arts Incubator and Outer Urban Projects performing at events, and local community music festivals. He is a talented soulful, magnetic performer that moved audiences in Urban Chamber - Beyond in Melbourne Festival (2013) at the Melbourne Recital Centre and charmed audiences in Poetic License in the Melbourne Writers Festival (2014).
Kevin Nugara aka SpitFire - Beat Boxer and Rapper
Kevin Nugara aka SpitFire is an Australian/Sri Lankan virtuosic beat box and rapid fire from Meadow Heights - Hume. Kevin has worked with members of the Outer Urban Projects team from 2004 and has been linked into hundreds of gigs, festivals and events – he opened for rapper Kid Ink (US), performed at number of Croc Festivals, performed in the Big Top Hop – Commonwealth Games cultural program and has toured with Indigenous Hip Hop Projects across regional and remote Australia. In 2005 Kevin won ‘best rapper’ in the Kool Skools Awards, he held the title of National Beat Box Champion in 2009 and is a 2014 recipient of the Hume Arts Award.
DEMI SORONO - dancer
Hailing proudly from the Philippines, Demi Sorono is a consummate Hip Hop dancer and highly accomplished B-girl who is able to traverse many genres. Demi first rose to national prominence through our TV screens as a finalist on Australia's ‘So You Think You Can Dance’. She was also cast in the West End dance spectacular Blaze (2012) and choreographed the major performance for the reopening of Melbourne’s Hamer Hall. Her solo work: 'A Touch Of Grace - Shadow Warrior' a collaboration with Phunktional premiered in the 2015 Melbourne Fringe Festival. Demi is a sought after teacher and choreographer and actor: 'Wentworth Prison' & 'I, Frankenstein'.
Ruci and Joanne Kaisila - Musicians and Vocalists
Ruci and Joanne Kaisila are musically gifted sisters who perform in gospel, soul genre. Ruci on piano and vocals and Joanne on guitar and vocals they developed their passion for music through singing and performing at their local church. Today audiences are swept away by the soulful sounds of this dynamic twin sister duo. In 2012 Ruci’s compelling vocals won the Turkce Olimpiyatlari National Australian Competition. A competition where non-turkish artists perform poetry, drama or music in Turkish language. Ruci won the State & National finals and traveled to Turkey for the International finals.
Natasha Hanna - Violinist and Pianist
Natasha is 22 and fast becoming a well-known name in Melbourne’s orchestra scene. The eldest of 8 children she began violin at 3 years of age and piano at age 6 and is now a high achiever in both. In 2014 Natasha was the principal 2nd violin player for Melbourne Youth Orchestra and collaborated with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra on their tour to New Zealand.
Natasha was violin concertmaster in 2012, 2013 for Vision Australia's Carols by Candlelight conducted by John Foreman. Her past teachers in Violin include William Hennessy, Wilma Smith and Helge Thelen.
JOSEPHINE INIA - vocalists and dancer
Josephine Inia aka Fina, is a vocalist and performing artist who specialises in contemporary Tongan dance and song. Josephine brings with her a wealth of gospel based choral experience as well as an extensive repertoire of polynesian dance movement and teaching practice. She is passionate about bringing communities together to celebrate the rich diversity of cultures represented in Australia. Youth mentor and cultural leader, Josephine has tutored many in the art of Tongan dance and culture.
MENLIDAY GBIADIAH - SINGER SONGWRITER
Menliday Gbiadiah is a singer, songwriter and composer who performs soul, RnB and hip hop. This Reservoir resident is an emerging singer/ guitarist in Outer Urban Projects hip hop squad. Their performances include the 2015 Fawkner Festa and competing in the Freeza Push Start Music Competition for Darebin City Council. As a soloist Menliday has supported Nigerian reggae-dancehall singer, Patoranking, at his Sydney concert in April 2016 as well as performing at the Banyule City Council’s, Youthfest 2015, Darebin’s Reservoir Stomp and winning the Moreland Freeza Push Start Competition.
Maysa Abouzeid - Comedian and Actor
Maysa has been writing and performing her unique biographical material from the age of 16 and has performed over 60 gigs including headlining at the Arab American Comedy Festival, Gotham Comedy Club New York. She has trained and worked with many arts programs and organisations including the A.R.A.B program, St Martins Youth Theatre and Outer Urban Projects. Maysa created Nest which was part of Melbourne Fringe Festival (2012) and was performed in the Signal Youth Space – City of Melbourne.
EBONY MONCRIEF - Poet and spoken word artist
Ebony MonCrief, raised in Birmingham, Alabama, began writing at a young age but has only recently graced the spoken word scene debuting in Melbourne this past July. She is the ‘Slamalamadingdong Slam’ Champion of 2013. Her writing style mainly falls under the category of confessional poetry. Believing vulnerability is one of the essential keys to personal growth, she uses the art form as a way to share an intimate look into her experiences, her beliefs and to initiate change from within. Her vibrant storytelling style engages, entertains and provides audiences with an honest look at the person behind the words.
Philip Pandongan aka Yung Philly - MC, RAPPER & HOST
In his 13th year of professional MCing, rapping & hosting, Philip "Yung Phily" Pandongan holds true to the philosophy that, "every gig's a good gig". His stagecraft and ability to think on his feet is legendary, a true inspiration to many artists across the hip-hop form. 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.
GRACE VANILAU - SINGER SONGWRITER and spoken word artist
Grace Vanilau is a Community Cultural Development practitioner and creative producer with 23 years of experience working in the arts sector both in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia. She works across mediums as a practising weaver and international performance artist, singer, songwriter and spoken word poet. Grace holds postgraduate qualifications in Community Cultural Development Practices and Indigenous Arts Management from the VCA. She continues to draw on her extensive networks in the Pacific arts and broader arts communities to bring together people who are passionate about contributing to the transference and evolution of Pacific arts and cultural heritage.