MONICA KANE – Chair
Arts Industry / Arts Leadership / Social Change
Board Member since 2020
Monica’s day job is co-CEO of Community Arts Network (CAN). She is also a Board member of SCOOP Foundation, which works to break the poverty cycle of children living on the streets in Varanasi, India. Monica is in the final months of completing her Masters in Human Rights Education at Curtin, with a specific focus on Indigenous and children’s rights.
Having been in arts leadership positions for over ten years, Monica’s current role at CAN enables her to create positive social change through the arts. Recently, she successfully steered the organisation through volatile times, developed an empowering culture, and established a financially viable organisation that can flourish beyond the ebbs and flows of government cycles. Most importantly, her experience at CAN has created opportunities to work with Elders on First Nations programs across Noongar country.
Previous to the arts, Monica was a sole trader, providing facilitation and training services for management and business qualifications across sectors, cultural groups and countries including Pakistan and Turkey. With her combined experience Monica brings a level, focused, and strategic perspective over governance, strategy, financial analysis, funding and partnerships, and community engagement.
Her passion for The Blue Room Theatre comes from knowing its significant place in the ecology of arts and culture in WA. And believing in how it connects stories and people and the possibility of truly reflecting the plurality of voices that make up Australia. As a young girl growing up in Perth watching productions at The Playhouse, The Blue Room, Octagon and Dolphin theatres she was mesmerised by the visceral transformation into someone’s story. The Blue Room Theatre has a special place in Perth’s history, and for emerging creatives, it brings critical opportunities that must be maintained and expanded for many years to come.
ZAINAB SYED – Deputy Chair
Arts Industry / Arts Management / Community Engagement
Board Member since 2020
Zainab is a poet, producer and educator. She graduated with a BA in Political Science from Brown University, USA. From 2014-2017 she toured as a performance poet across the US, UK, Middle East, South Asia and Australia and facilitated art therapy workshops for incarcerated women, trauma victims and migrants and refugees. She is co-founder of Pakistan Poetry Slam and illUMEnate, a collective of diverse artists and humanitarians in WA.
In 2017 Zainab joined Performing Lines WA as a Producer, where she has worked on/toured: Whoosh! by Sensorium Theatre, Layla Majnun by illUMEnate, Small Voices Louder and Dear Hope Street by Maybe Together, Fully Sikh by Barking Gecko and Black Swan, Minneapolis by Will O’Mahony, Black Brass by Mararo Wangai, Children of the Sea by Jay Emmanuel and 5+5 (Sydney) with the SweatShop and Playwriting Australia. Zainab is a PAWA Judge, Member of CAN Diversity Working Group and a 2020 Churchill Fellow. With PLWA she regularly attends APACA/PAX, Dance Massive/ATF and WA Showcase.
Zainab’s passion is in curating and facilitating opportunities for intercultural collaboration between independent artists and re-imagining the frameworks around inclusion. She believes theatre has the power to forge transformative experiences and connections between people and communities, and she looks forward to being involved in developing the Blue Room’s access and inclusion strategies and initiatives during her term. She brings her experience in creating new pathways for emerging and diverse artists, championing the independent arts sector, and supporting WA artists and stories to tour regionally, nationally and internationally, to benefit The Blue Room Theatre’s membership, and community as they embark on an exciting new chapter together.
TANYA PAYNE – Treasurer
Finance / Accounting
Board member + Treasurer since 2010
Tanya has worked in finance at various firms for over 20 years while completing a Bachelor of Business (double major in Accounting and Management) at Edith Cowan University. She has held board positions with various other not-for-profit organizations including the Finance Committee of The Centre for Cerebral Palsy and Duncraig Senior High School, and sat on the Perth Theatre Company board for six years.Tanya’s insight into financial management and dealing with government comes from 12 years with Marketforce, a leading WA advertising agency, and having recently joined Volunteer Task Force, a government funded community organization assisting the frail, aged and disabled.
SAM NERIDA – Secretary
Artist (Performance Maker / Writer / Producer)
Board member since 2020
Sam Nerida is a theatre maker, producer and award-winning playwright, working and living in Boorloo on Whadjuk Noongar boodja. They are also the Producer and co-founder of Static Drive Co, a Digital Puppeteer for Murdoch University, and an arts-educator for young people. In 2020 Sam was commissioned to contribute to Playwriting Australia’s ‘Dear Australia’ project, was a KISS Club and Perth Festival Lab artist, developed several Winter Nights projects and is currently directing The Jellyman. Their play ‘See You Next Tuesday’ was awarded Best New Writing (The Blue Room Theatre), Best New Work and Best Independent Production (PAWA Awards) for 2019. They have worked for The Blue Room Theatre as their Associate Producer (2018 – 2019), and their recent performance credits include The Wolves (Red Ryder, 2019).
Sam’s love for The Blue Room Theatre has grown with each new way they have engaged – as an artist, an audience member, a staff member – and will bring a fierce passion for both the organisation itself and the WA arts sector at large. Recently their practice has moved away from performance projects and towards the facilitation of professional and sector development, specifically in areas of youth engagement, disability and cultural diversity, always with values of self-determination and inclusivity at the forefront. Sam believes that The Blue Room Theatre always is and will continue to be an industry leader in both performance and process, and would honour the chance to be a part of that journey for the coming years.
Artist (Director / Dramaturg)
Board member since 2020
Emily McLean trained at WAAPA and is a founding member of Red Ryder Productions. She has directed for Black Swan State Theatre Company, Perth Theatre Company, Deckchair, Red Ryder, WAAPA, Curtin, Maiden Voyage Theatre Company and others. Last year Emily directed Water by Jane Bodie (BSSTC), assistant directed The Torrents by Oriel Gray (BSSTC), and directed The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe (Red Ryder). In the last eight years she has directed ten new Australian works. In 1996 Emily directed her first ever show at The Blue Room Theatre, Dancing with the Fabulous Rat Girl by Tom Horne. Since then she has directed over ten shows there (including Grounded by George Brant, Toast by Liz Newell, Fat Pig by Neil LaBute and Slut by Patricia Cornelius). She has mentored Blue Room directors and writers, sat on the selection panel, been in the audience and occasionally had a drink at the bar. She would love a chance to give back to this company that has given her (and all of us) so much over the years.
ALI MARTIN (she/her)
Marketing & Communications
Board member since 2022
Ali Martin is an accomplished purpose-led marketing and communications professional with a strong history of success delivering effective campaigns, motivating high performing teams and engaging partner support.
She has worked across diverse industries delivering strategic marketing and communications for nearly 20 years. Her experience includes leading marketing and communications teams at WA Museum, Water Corporation, The University of Western Australia, and the Department of Sport, Local Government and Cultural Industries. Her current role as Senior Marketing Officer at the State Government’s Small Business Development Corporation sees her helping WA small businesses to start well, survive and thrive.
Ali is passionate about the capacity of arts organisations to support cohesion, advocacy and improved health and wellbeing, both at a community and individual level. She is proud to have supported the WA arts and media communities through her volunteer leadership roles at Propel Youth Arts, The Last Great Hunt theatre company, The Blue Room Theatre, and Women In Media WA. In these volunteer roles, she has collaborated with her peers to support rigorous conversations, drive corporate strategy, assess financial sustainability, and engage key stakeholders such as donors, funders, sponsors, members and partners.
Outside of work, you will find Ali walking her greyhound Amy Grace, dabbling in pottery and treating her nieces and nephews to ‘Aunty Ali Arts Outings’.
CLARA MILLET (she/her)
Philanthropy & Fundraising
Board member since 2022
Clara is driven by helping organisations achieve their philanthropic and sponsorship growth, facilitating positive social change. With a degree in law and further studies in executive business development, cultural politics, marketing, and fundraising, Clara has enjoyed a varied international fundraising career, having achieved consistently outstanding results for multiple organisations across various sectors: child protection, education, intellectual disability support services, and the arts and music industry, in Australia (Perth), England (London, Cambridge and Birmingham), and Spain (Barcelona).
Over the past ten years working in Perth – Western Australia, Clara has built a large industry and Government network and has established a positive profile in the growing Australia philanthropic scene. In her current role as Partnerships Manager, she takes carriage of Parkerville Children and Youth Care funding streams, securing philanthropic and sponsorship revenue, and managing relationships with clients, sponsors, donors, and stakeholders.
In 2020 Clara worked for 12 months where she worked as the Associate Director at Boscana Foundation a, a not-for-profit organisation, supporting women with intellectual disabilities. During here time there, she led a successful Covid-19 fundraising digital campaign, which she had the privilege to present a year later at the 2021 FIA WA Fundraising Forum in Perth.
ELLA HETHERINGTON (she/her)
Board member since 2022
Ella Hetherington has worked extensively as an actor, physical performer and contemporary performance maker across a range of performance disciplines. As an actor, devisor and collaborator she has worked with all the major Western Australian theatre companies, The Last Great Hunt, Sensorium, aMoment, Steamworks, littleY, Emma Fishwick, Renegade Productions, Encounter and kdm Industries. She has toured internationally as a physical performer with her own projects and created works with companies such as Patch, La Fura Del Baus, Erth, Legs on the Wall and Force Majeure. Ella has received several Equity nominations for her theatre roles and a Helpmann nomination for The Red Tree.
As a writer she has had works commissioned by the WASO, Bizircus, The WA Museum with her first major work ShadowBoxing being commissioned, produced and toured by Black Swan State Theatre Company. Ella is a casual lecturer in devising at WAAPA and the co- director of Maxima.
Her commitment to new works and emerging and experimental practice has meant a strong connection with The Blue Room over many years. She believes passionately in the capacity for performance to both articulate and elevate the contemporary experience, she relishes working with artists to expand creative possibilities and sharing this with new audiences.
KAITLIN TINKER (she/her)
Board member since 2022
After majoring as a visual artist at Sydney’s College of Fine Arts (COFA), Kaitlin made a living working as an award-winning short-form performance artist in the cabaret industry for over 12 years. She’s toured nationally with Big Day Out, Parklife, Club Briefs, The Australian Burlesque Festival, Harvest Festival and Big Band Burlesque.
Relocating to Melbourne in 2009, Tinker worked as programmer & in-house producer for several celebrated cabaret venues, including Red Bennies. She completed a Bachelor of Film in early 2015, before travelling internationally with her award-winning directorial debut, The Man Who Caught A Mermaid, to Oscar-qualifying festivals in Japan, Canada, USA and Europe.
Currently, Kaitlin runs independent production house, Acid Tongue, which specialises in producing and touring provocative ensemble shows (Size Queens, Baby Got Back, Naked Girls Reading) and video/design for creatives. Tinker has worked as Event Operations Coordinator at STCWA and is currently Programming Coordinator for Perth Theatre Trust and STATE OF PLAY. She made her playwright debut with EARTHSIDE at The Blue Room Theatre in 2022.
Tinker is passionate about the infiltration of low brow fringe culture in ‘high art’ institutions, the sharing of skillsets and helping the next generation of artists to navigate the roadblocks.