Staff & Board
Midsumma Festival program launch 2021 by Suzanne Balding
Midsumma is powered by a small team of hard-working community-and-arts engaged professional producers, managers, festival staff and work-placements.
Midsumma Festival is also assisted by over 500 volunteers across the year, including one year-round volunteer (who has been with Midsumma for over 16 years!).
- Chief Executive: Karen Bryant ([email protected]) - she/her
- Outgoing Programming Manager: Mx Sly ([email protected]) - they/them
- Acting Program Manager: Brendan Cooney ([email protected]) - he/him
- Program Coordinator: Aamer Ahmed ([email protected]) - he/him
- Artist Development Producer: Nicole La Bianca ([email protected]) - she/her
- Outgoing Program Coordinator - Artist Development: Mama Alto ([email protected]) - she/her
- Production & Operations Manager: Sasha Catalano ([email protected]) - she/her
- Technical Production Coordinator: Siobhan Briggs ([email protected]) - she/her
- Finance & Administrative Manager: Mark Griffiths ([email protected]) - he/him
- Marketing & Communications Manager: Felicity McIntosh ([email protected]) - she/her
- Social Media and Content Coordinator: Jacqui Essing ([email protected]) - she/her
- Video, Streaming and Media Coordinator: Edwina Landale ([email protected]) - she/her
- Ticketing & Producer Services Manager: Jason Marsiglia ([email protected]) - he/him
- Volunteers Coordinator: Martin Broadley ([email protected]) - he/him
- Administration / Stalls and Vendor Coordinator: Kat Celikaite ([email protected]) - she/her
- Production Administrator: Dominique Marconi ([email protected]) - she/her
- Summer Work Placement - Arts Admin: Kate Babic ([email protected]) - she/her
- Summer Work Placement - Programming: Gabriel Taburet ([email protected]) - he/him
- IT & Applications: Alan Drummond ([email protected]) - he/him
Midsumma has been contracted to manage the Melbourne Pride celebration, to commemorate 40 years since the Victorian parliament decriminalised homosexuality in Victoria.
- Production Manager: Dawn Holland ([email protected]) - she/her
- Programming Manager: Bec Cooen ([email protected]) - she/her
- Community Engagement Manager: Ashlee Hints ([email protected]) - she/her
Midsumma's Summer Work Placements
At the organisation's core are community leaders dedicating their time to make change. Read on to learn about the current Midsumma Board.
Judy Small AM
Judy Small AM (she/her) is a lesbian/feminist folksinger/songwriter known as the Grande Dame of Australian Folk Music whose songs are sung all over the English-speaking world at festivals, clubs and concert halls. She is also a proud 78’er having been active in the LGBTQIA+ community since 1975. Judy worked as a lawyer for 22 years, including the last 7 as a judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, before retiring in 2020. She returned to the stage in early 2021. Judy joined the Midsumma Board in January 2019 and has served as Co-Chair since the 2019 AGM, and Chair since the 2021 AGM.
Michael Parry (he/him) is Director, Melbourne Arts Precinct at Creative Victoria. He drives development and strategy for the Victorian cultural portfolio, leading the $1.46B redevelopment of the Melbourne Arts Precinct. Previously Michael was Project Director for Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, and earlier, Deputy Director at ACMI, Melbourne. He has led strategy and major projects for a wide variety of cultural organisations across Australia and North America. Michael joined the Midsumma Board at the 2020 AGM and has served as Deputy Chair since the 2021 AGM.
Michael Fuller-Smith (he/him) has a background in corporate tax advisory and currently runs his own tax practice, advising clients across a range of industries such as technology, hospitality, and retail. He primarily assists clients with structuring, tax disputes and managing their compliance obligations. Michael is passionate about community engagement and is actively involved in a number of organisations in addition to Midsumma, including StartUps Tasmania and the Environmental Defenders Office. Michael joined the Midsumma Board in June 2018.
Fraser Orford (he/him) is a Creative Producer currently working as Associate Producer for Flash Forward – a City of Melbourne public art and live music program. He has spent his career working in commercial theatre and musical theatre, touring both nationally and internationally. As an arts administrator, he has worked for APAM, Australia Council for the Arts, Michael Cassel Group, GWB Entertainment, Ambassador Theatre Group, Opera Australia, Belvoir and the ABC. He has served as a Curator at TEDxSydney since 2016. Fraser joined the Midsumma Board at the 2020 AGM and has served as Secretary since March 2021.
Rhys Cranney (he/him) is a communications, change and impact expert with a passion for inclusion, sustainability, social impact, First Nations justice and the arts. With a professional background spanning across education, government, business, non-profit and politics, he is excited by complexity and always seeks innovative solutions to mobilise audiences behind important causes. Rhys has worked with RMIT University, City of Greater Geelong, Pay The Rent, Victorian NAIDOC Committee and provided community-focused consulting advice to developers, politicians and global health experts. Rhys joined the Midsumma Board in 2016.
Chloe Gordon (she/her) is a fundraising and communications professional with extensive experience in the arts and cultural sector. She has held marketing, publicity and development roles at Malthouse Theatre, The Australian Ballet, National Gallery of Victoria and Bangarra Dance Theatre. She is currently the Philanthropy Manager at Melbourne Writers Festival. Chloe joined the Midsumma Board at the 2021 AGM.
Amity Mara (she/her) is a proud thirunangai Tamil woman and the Director of Advocacy at the Foundation for Young Australians, where she supports movements of young people to organise against injustice. She has previously led national campaigns at GetUp, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Democracy in Colour, and Economic Justice Australia. She currently serves as an Advisory Board member for Trans Health Research and is a practicing volunteer solicitor for local community legal centres. Amity joined the Midsumma Board in August 2021.
Joel McGuiness (he/him) is an experienced creative entrepreneur, producer, advocate and executive administrator who is passionate about performing arts, communities and the vital role of culture in change-making. Joel is currently Chief Executive Officer and Creative Director at Geelong Arts Centre, leading the organisation through a $186m capital redevelopment, designing and implementing a Ten-Year Vision’ and Strategic Plan for the organisation, and launching Geelong Arts Centre into a new era that celebrates creativity, diversity and community as the ‘heart’ of the organisation. Joel joined the Midsumma Board at the 2021 AGM.
Richard Noonan (he/him) is an accomplished senior telecommunication professional with extensive experience across product management, product development, program management, and new business development. He is collaborative in his approach and has delivered results across a number of key organisations in Australia including Telstra, Vodafone, Optus and FOXTEL. Richard joined the Midsumma Board at the 2020 AGM.
Aaron O’Shannessy (he/him) is a project director with extensive experience in the leadership, design, delivery and evaluation of international development and public diplomacy programs across 23 countries in the Asia-Pacific. Aaron’s expertise is in grant/contract management, stakeholder relationships and program implementation. Aaron joined the Midsumma Board in 2013 and was elected Co-Chair at the 2019 AGM.
Midsumma is supported by core staff, that assist the organisation year-round.
Contributed to the arts nationally for over 35 years with extensive experience and networks built as a performer, writer, director, Artistic Director, programmer, artistic consultant, venue manager and in policy development and funding assessment. Has been in this role with Midsumma for five years and was named by Deloitte's within 50 top LGBTQ leaders nationally 2020/21 and is a current peer assessor for the Australia Council for the Arts. She was Associate Director (Deputy CEO) and Head of Programming at the Adelaide Festival Centre where she had responsibility for the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, OzAsia and Adelaide International Guitar Festival as well as a yearlong program of theatre, visual arts, dance and music and responsibility for the management of five venues. Chief Executive at Adelaide Festival of Arts and previously worked in various capacities with a range of arts organisations including Magpie Theatre Company (Writer, Director and Associate Director), Vitalstatistix Theatre Company (Director), CIRKIDZ (Artistic Director), and The State Theatre Company of SA (Director/Physical Theatre Coordinator).
At a national level - served on Theatre Board and the Youth Panel Advisory Committee of the Australia Council for the Arts, chaired the Loud National Youth Arts and Media Festival Committee for the Commonwealth Government, chaired the National committee for the JUMP arts mentorship program, and been a member of the National Executive of the Australian Performing Arts Centres Association and a Board Director for Festivals Adelaide.
IT & Applications
The absolute beating heart of the Midsumma core team, Alan has been volunteering his time, almost every day, to Midsumma over 16 years! If you want to know the history of Midsumma, Alan knows it. If you want to find where something is, Alan knows it. If you want to do something and don't know how to do it, Alan knows it!
Production & Operations Manager
Sasha Catalano is a senior events and arts professional with over 12 years experience working throughout Europe, the United Kingdom, Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia. She holds a wealth of experience in project and event management, logistics, operations and production across international festivals, NGO's and corporate and creative industries. Sasha worked hard to gain traction in fast paced competitive environments, finding employment in world-class organisations, events and festivals. Prior to being the Production and Operations Manager at Midsumma Festival, senior management roles included the Promo and Activations Awards Manager at the prestigious Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity (based in London and other international satellite locations), Venue and Operations Manager for Assembly Festival at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the largest arts festival in the world, and Event Producer and Venue Manager for Village Underground, a multi-disciplinary arts space and venue in London. Other experiences within Australia include Production Manager at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Venue Operations Supervisor for Federation Square.
With qualifications including a Bachelor of Media & Bachelor of Arts majoring in Anthropology from Adelaide University, South Australia and a Certificate III in Events Management, Sasha brings both a formal education and practical experience to every opportunity. Her extensive experience creating live entertainment events, large-scale performances and experiences, and international festivals demonstrates her passion and dedication to the arts and culture sector.
Marketing & Communications Manager
Specialises in communication strategies, digital media, marketing, public relations, and brand development. Dynamic in content creation (both digital and traditional), brand management, digital media management and online marketing. Over 10 years experience in developing social media communities, content marketing and campaign strategies, managing search engine optimisation (SEO), social media advertising and search engine marketing (SEM). Following a Bachelor of Communications at USC, Felicity has worked across public, private, and non-profit sectors in the arts and creative industries, consumer goods, and health services. Marketing and events experience is evident in the contribution to Sunshine Coast Pride Festival, Big Gay Day in Fortitude Valley and Caloundra Music Festival. Has been in this role with Midsumma for three years and is deeply connected to the LGBTQIA+ arts community, contributing time through volunteer positions at queer Australian radio station JOY 94.9 and holds a volunteer Media Officer position with the board of DOB Melbourne.
Ticketing & Producer Services Manager
Jason has worked extensively at various festivals across Australia as a Festival Coordinator and creative. Following studies at the Adelaide College of the Arts and the University of South Australia, he began his career in his hometown of Adelaide working on Adelaide Fringe, the largest festival in the Southern Hemisphere. Throughout his time at Adelaide Fringe, he worked in various fields, initially producing events then moving to roles in marketing, ticketing and artist services. He has contributed to Sydney Film Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival, Melbourne International Comedy Festival Melbourne Fringe in various coordinator positions. He currently works at Midsumma Festival, where he manages the Open-Access component of the festival and the ticketing systems. He is very proud to support the community of queer artists and creatives that deliver exceptional events as part of Midsumma Festival.
Administration / Stalls and Vendor Coordinator
If you've emailed Midsumma with your general queries, chances are you've already had a chat with Kat (virtually of course). From being a TV child actor in Europe, to having a journalism degree up her sleeve, Kat is full of surprises. With a self-described ability to read news in expired milk, it's no wonder she is our back-to-back trivia champ at Midusmma.
With a camera roll full of cute doggo pics and a suave British accent, we have no doubt that there will be herds of volunteers signing up to work with Martin. A people person at heart, Martin loves working his magic behind the scenes to see our queer arts and cultural industry fly.
Social Media and Content Coordinator
With a background in performing arts, Jacqui has a lot of passion for theatre and live performance. We first met Jacqui as a Summer Work Placement in 2019-20 and now she's back with more experience, an expensive piece of paper and a couple more smile lines.
Work With Us
With a small core team working from the Midsumma Office in Melbourne's CBD all year round, we increase our team size with seasonal staff, summer placements and volunteers from September to February each year.Work With Us
Want to know what else we do (apart from run a fantastic arts festival each year, of course)! Check out our mentorship programs and year-round activities.Midsumma Year Round