Meet Super Sasha - Midsumma's Manager for Production and Operations
With international arts and festival knowledge and experience, we are very excited to have Sasha on board. More excited about diverse art and cultural experiences than we are, she started out running venues and producing events before traveling the world and landing in our Melbourne laps (for good!).
With a tough job on her hands for Midsumma Festival 2021, we reckon she's totally up for it!
This month, we introduce Sasha Catalano – our Manager for Production and Operations.
Q: Describe yourself in three words: Bubbly, passionate, organised.
Q: What were you doing before Midsumma?
Most recently, I was the Production Manager in Logistics with the wonderful team at Melbourne International Comedy Festival. I also worked for Perth Fringe World in a similar role in 2019. Prior to that, I spent around 8 years living in London and working around the UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa. I’m passionate about using my skill set to help create exciting and diverse art and cultural experiences. I have been lucky enough to work on some amazing International Festivals such as Edinburgh Fringe, Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and in world-renowned venues like Village Underground. I’ve officially been back home in Australia for 6 months and am thrilled to be part of the dynamic team at Midsumma, preparing to deliver an incredible program of events.
Q: Best festival experience?
I’ve spent years working at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the largest International Arts Festival in the world. For the month of August, the whole city comes alive and more than doubles in size. With such an immense collective of creatives from all over the world performing in every venue, café and corner, the opportunity to be part of something unique, bizarre and/or challenging feels unmatched! Being part of a passionate and hard-working events team that makes such a large-scale event happen was incredibly rewarding and kept me going back year upon year.
Q: Where is your favourite place in the world?
I’ve travelled all over, but London holds a special place in my heart (despite hating the cold!). It really is the city that never sleeps. Life in Brixton, South London, fed my soul with live music, culture, markets and great food, right on my doorstep. Its proximity to Europe also meant weekend escapes were extra fun!
Although new to living in Melbourne, I’ve already seen some fantastic arts initiatives and enjoyed the influence of multi-cultural living. There are pockets that certainly remind me of London. I look forward to exploring more and finding all those special and distinctive aspects soon!
Q: What drew you to working in the arts industry? I originally studied both a Media and an Arts Degree at University and thought I’d end up in radio! As an Adelaide girl, I grew up surrounded by festivals and events and what I thought would be a couple of fun summer jobs, redirected me as I discovered a world that intrigued me to explore live performance further. My skills and interests transferred into running venues, producing events and production and logistics, and the ever-changing environment kept me inspired and challenged. What keeps me passionate about the industry is the power of art; I get to witness people finding joy, being challenged, being united and being exposed to people and cultures that are different from their own.
Q: What’s your favourite way to spend a weekend? I recently bought an awesome little motorbike so I’m pretty keen to hit the road, go camping, hiking and explore Victoria. If I’m not chasing an adventure out of town, I’ll often seek out a show, check out a new bar, find a music venue (that will encourage/put up with my excellent dance moves…) or during Covid-19 enjoy a good red wine at home in my favourite flannelette pj’s!
Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever been given? My Grandpa always said, “If you’re doing something you love you’ll never work a day in your life.” That’s how he felt about his career and he encouraged me to follow suit by finding what I truly love and am passionate about. This doesn’t mean there are not challenges or rough days – working in the arts can be particularly demanding with irregular hours, travelling away from home for long stints and often in conditions that are far from glamorous! However, the people you meet, the weird and wonderful creations that happen, the different things you learn, are what makes it all worthwhile. I feel fortunate that I am in a position to be able to do what I love and wouldn’t change a thing!
Find out more about Sasha on LinkedIn.