Staff & Board
Midsumma Festival Team 2023
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 18 years!).
- Chief Executive: Karen Bryant ([email protected]) - she/her
- Partnerships Development Manager: Thomas Hunt ([email protected]) - he/him
- Program Manager: Brendan Cooney ([email protected]) - he/him
- Program Coordinator: Aamer Ahmed ([email protected]) - he/him
- Program Coordinator - Eventful Melbourne: Shian Ching Lee - he/him
- Program Administrator: Martin Broadley ([email protected]) - he/him
- Programming Administrator: Gabriel Taburet - he/him
- Artist Development Manager: Harriet Devlin ([email protected]) - she/her
- Midsumma Pathways Program Coordinator: Ebony Rattle ([email protected]) - they/them
- Head of Production & Operations: Sasha Catalano ([email protected]) - she/her
- Production Coordinator: Connor Jolly ([email protected]) - he/him
- Finance & Administrative Manager: Mark Griffiths ([email protected]) - he/him
- Marketing & Communications Manager: Felicity McIntosh ([email protected]) - she/her
- Social Media and Content Coordinator: Emily Rose ([email protected]) - she/her
- Ticketing & Presenter Services Manager: Emily Holland ([email protected]) - she/her
- Volunteers Coordinator: Ida Talback ([email protected]) - she/her
- Administration / Stalls and Vendor Coordinator: Kat Celikaite ([email protected]) - she/her
- Summer Work Placement - Marketing: Isobel Brownbill ([email protected]) - she/her
- Summer Work Placement - Marketing: Sanduni Jayasekera ([email protected]) - she/her
- Summer Work Placement - Production: Flynn Smeaton ([email protected]) - he/him
- Summer Work Placement - Production: Laura Darling ([email protected]) - she/her
- Summer Work Placement - Programming: Luke Fryer ([email protected]) - he/him
- Summer Work Placement - Programming: Iris Simpson - she/her
- IT & Applications: Alan Drummond ([email protected]) - he/him
Midsumma will again deliver Victoria’s Pride in partnership with the Victorian Government.
- Production Manager: Siobhan Briggs ([email protected]) - she/her
- Project and Program Manager: Bec Cooen ([email protected]) - she/her
- Community Engagement Manager: Ashlee Hints ([email protected]) - she/her
- Precinct Liaison & Stalls Coordinator: Helen Adams ([email protected]) - she/her
- Summer Work Placement - Programming and Event Management: Agnese Perri ([email protected]) - they/them
- Regional Community Engagement Coordinator: Danae Reid ([email protected]) - she/her
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.
Rhys Cranney (he/him) is a communications, change, Communication and Impact expert passionate about inclusion, sustainability, social change, First Nations justice and the arts. With a professional background spanning across education, government, business, non-profit and politics, Rhys 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.
Maria Dimopoulos AM
Maria has a legal background and is internationally recognised as an expert specialising in the intersections of diversity, gender equality and the law. She is the Chairperson of Safe and Equal, and a member of the Coronial Council of Victoria. Maria’s work has been instrumental in ensuring the meaningful inclusion of diverse women’s voices in legal reform processes. In 2020 Maria was awarded Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order Of Australia for significant service to women, cultural diversity, and prevention of domestic violence. In 2017 she was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award by the Migration Council of Australia.
Rita Nehme (she/her) is the Social Impact and Sustainability Manager at Richmond Football Club. She leads Richmond’s Environmental Sustainability and Social Impact strategies and initiatives with her Diversity and Inclusion work focusing on multiculturalism, LGBTQIA+ inclusion, and people with disability.
Rita was born and raised in Lebanon and had the opportunity to live, work, and learn in the US, Jordan, India, and Australia, now calling Melbourne home. Previously, she worked with a range of not-for-profit, business, and for-purpose organisations including being Head of Operations at the Foundation for Young Australians.
Rita is passionate about the unique power of sports, arts, and culture to create spaces of inclusion, celebration, and conversation while being catalysts for positive social and environmental change.
Rohan (he/him) is a senior corporate affairs leader with experience across corporate, not-for-profit and government organisations. He is currently Head of Advocacy, Impact & Reputation at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, overseeing corporate communications, stakeholder engagement, corporate social responsibility and the Club Melbourne Ambassador program, which helps attract major global events to Melbourne. Previously Rohan was Director of Public Affairs and Sustainability at Yarra Trams, and has held senior communications and marketing roles at numerous cultural organisations, most recently the Australian Museum in Sydney. Formerly a non-executive director on the Board of Critical Stages Touring, Rohan joined the Midsumma Board in August 2022.
Emily has worked for over 14 years as a mental health professional and software engineer. They are passionate about creating innovative solutions to systemic inequalities.
Emily grounds their work in their lived and living experience of mental health, disability, LGBTQIA+, homelessness, suicide, and being a young carer from a refugee and migrant background.
They were recently the Mental Health Advocate of the Year, Youth of the Year, and Young Non-Binary Person of the Year.
Emily endeavours to use both their professional and lived experience to help design a world for all people, regardless of background, identity, or intersectionality.
Coby is an experienced mental health practitioner with a passion for life, health, and healing. As an advocate for good mental health, he regularly presents at conferences and cross-cultural workshops across different states in Australia and internationally. He owns a thriving and reputable psychology clinic in West Melbourne, specialising in gender and sexuality, complex trauma, and grief work. Coby recently joined the Midsumma Board as a general board member. Besides that, he is also the Director for Volunteer Support at GLOBE Victoria, supporting LGBTIQA+ students, professionals, and business owners. He has experience living in different countries and speaks fluently in several languages.
Jaclyn Booton (she/her) is an arts and cultural industries leader with a background across the performing arts and literary sectors. She is currently Executive Director of the Stella Prize, where she leads an annual program of initiatives that champion books and writing of women and non-binary writers. Jaclyn is passionate about supporting artists and connecting them with audiences. She joined the Midsumma Board in November 2022.
- Rohan Astley
- Jaclyn Booton
- Maria Dimopoulos AM
- Coby Liew
- Rita Nehme
- Emily Unity
Midsumma is supported by core staff, that assist the organisation year-round.
Chief Executive (she/her)
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.
Marketing & Communications Manager (she/her)
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.
Program Manager (he/him)
Enthralled by the weird and wonderful world of theatre during a backstage visit of a musical, Brendan's desire to work in the arts was realised. Excited by the fresh works of artists, Brendan loves being at the crux of connecting these works to audiences. With an appreciation and drive for hard work, Brendan still manages to slow down the pace for a breezy weekend.
Head of Productions and Operations (she/her)
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.
IT & Applications (he/him)
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!
Program Administrator (he/him)
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.
Artist Development Coordinator (she/her)
Harriet is our Artist Development Manager and manages our Midsumma Pathways program. Outside of Midsumma, Harriet is a performer, producer and arts worker, a freelance Auslan interpreter, and a parent of two.
Production Coordinator (he/him)
Connor, aka Job Done Jolly, the man behind the scenes who brings together our major events. Before joinging Midsumma, Connor has worked on Handpicked Festival, Illuminate Adelaide, Rising Melbourne, Adelaide Fringe and Adelaide Festival.
Midsumma Pathways Program Coordinator (they/them)
Ebony is a non-binary, queer, disabled multidisciplinary artist living and working predominantly on Wurundjeri Land. They are a disability advocate, a sound technician, and a fierce contender for coolest hair in the office.
Social Media & Content Coordinator (she/her)
After a busy year attempting the world record for most drag shows seen, Emily is now living her dream of promoting queer artists. When she's not crafting our Facebook and Instagram posts, Emily can generally be found spending time with her two cats or rewatching Glee (again).
Ticketing & Presenter Services Manager (she/her)
If you've registered an event for Midsumma Festival you've most likely spoken with Emily! Emily has worked in events in London, Edinburgh, Adelaide, Perth and now Melbourne, bringing a wealth of experience to the Midsumma team.
Administration / Stalls and Vendor Coordinator (she/her)
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.
Volunteer Coordinator (she/her)
We're thrilled to be welcoming back Ida after she completed a Summer Work Placement with us during Midsumma Festival 2022. Ida brings big Capricorn vibes to the team - an essential component in her role as Volunteer Coordinator, a big job ensuring we have smiling faces ready to help attendees at all our major events.
Midsumma will again deliver Victoria’s Pride in partnership with the Victorian Government.
Community Engagement Manager (she/her)
Ashlee Hints is an experienced Producer, Operations, Tour and Event Manager, now using her skills as our Community Engagement Manager. This is a vital role ensuring recipients of the Regional Activation Program grants are fully supported to deliver incredible events.
Regional Community Engagement Coordinator (she/her)
After growing up in Albury, Danae is fulfilling her younger selfs dream of bringing queer arts to regional communities as our Regional Community Engagement Coordinator.
Precinct Liaison & Stalls Coordinator (she/her)
Working as our Precinct Liaison & Stalls Coordinator, Helen will be helping to engage traders and stallholders to deliver an even bigger and better Victoria's Pride Street Party.
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