Who we are
We are makers.
We make stories come to life. We make shows with First Nations people.
We make new artists. We make our theatre here.
We make work that reflects the Northern Rivers.
NORPA is a company that makes theatre from the ground up. We take inspiration from the country and culture around us, and we take risks in bringing homegrown stories to life.
Sure, we program and co-produce works by leading national companies as well, but making original Australian work is at the heart of what we do and why we exist.
We love our subscribers too, but we’re lucky, because we know they’re up for an adventure. So for every classic play, we’re comfortable taking them on an experimental journey, as we explore different forms of storytelling, and push new boundaries in how theatre is created.
Based in Lismore, on the Northern Rivers of NSW, NORPA is a not-for-profit, led by a small team of theatre professionals, and supported by a generous group of volunteers.
Building opportunities, and nurturing local artists, NORPA is proof that small towns have big creative potential.
David Wolff (Chair)
Dorothy Locke (Treasurer)
Peter Wood (Deputy Chair)
Julian Louis — Artistic Director
Patrick Healey — General Manager
Kirk Page — Associate Director
Valley Lipcer — Creative Programs Producer
Jo Porter — Producer
Lorissa Barrett — Marketing Manager
Rick Shearman — Designer
Clare McGregor — Publicist
Pauline Hooper — Administration and Finance
Karl Johnson — Technical Manager
Dan Jackson — Senior Venue Technician
Amy Shaw — Venue Services (Lismore City Hall)
Ajita Cannings — Education Coordinator
Frankie Robertson — Facilities Coordinator
Ryan Virtue — Audience Services (Front of House & Box Office)
NORPA is thrilled to announce an incredible cadre of theatre makers will be taking centre stage in the company as Associate Artists. All are respected makers in their own right and represent the cutting edge of Australian talent across a multitude of forms. Together they form the thumping heart of NORPA’s artistic vision for the future. They will fuel the creation of inspiring new devised works and a creative program that is physical, visceral, ambitious, inclusive and occupies a unique place in the national theatre landscape.
Our Associate Artists will join Julian Louis (Artistic Director) and Kirk Page (Associate Director). Together they will invigorate and inspire NORPA as a brave artist-led company. Our artists are Janis Balodis, Caroline Dunphy, Darcy Grant, Mitch King, Jade Dewi, Kate McDowell, Emma Saunders and Valley Lipcer.
My work over the last 20 years has developed in parallel with the evolution of NORPA, engaging with regional communities and stories, and reinvigorating and enriching my creative practice through collaborative processes with like-minded artists.
Janis Balodis is a freelance writer, director and dramaturg. He trained in and taught directing, improvisation and devised work at E15 Acting School in London. He has been Associate Director at MTC, Artistic Associate at QTC and a member of the Literature and Theatre Boards of the Australia Council. He is a recipient of Victorian Premier’s Literary Award (1985), Australia Council Literature Board Fellowships (1985 and 1994) and Theatre Board Fellowship (2001). He has written numerous works for NORPA including The Mercenary (1997), Mr Barbeque, (2001) Electric Lenin (2006), Engine (2010), Railway Wonderland (2012, 2015) and Dreamland (2016). His writing credits also include Too Young for Ghosts (1985), No Going Back (1992), My Father’s Father (1996) that premiered at Melbourne Theatre Company; Red Cap (2007) at Mt Isa and La Boite; The Red Tree (2004) and The Flying Orchestra (2012) for Out of the Box Festival, QPAC and The Tale of Samulnori (2015) for Legs On The Wall/AsiaNow.
Photo | Kate Holmes
Growing up in the Northern Rivers region I often felt a sense of ‘otherness’. Now I have returned home with my unique inter-cultural inter-arts dance experience. I am energized by working alongside other artists, collaborators and within the community. It is rewarding to promote ‘balance in diversity’ through honest research and magnetic performances.
Jade Dewi Tyas Tunggal is a direct descendent of Kangjeng Sultan Hamengku Buwana, the first Sultan of Djogyakarta Java. Born in Awabakal country (NSW Australia), her heritage extends from Djogyakarta Keraton to Borobudur Temple mixed with English, Scottish and Viking roots. She is an award winning dancer, choreographer and teacher with 20 years of international performance and touring experience. Worldwide studies in ballet, modern, improvisation and cultural dance forms led to an expansive freelance career with many diverse companies and unique artists. Inspired by travel, architecture, film, music, choreographic and somatic practices she returned to Australia to achieve a Master of Choreography (High Distinction) from Victorian College of the Arts. Jade’s practice led research explores cultural bodies in resonance with place. Through movement and touch her dynamic work evokes stories of transformation with seen and unseen forces. She makes innovative solo and ensemble performances during international choreographic residencies, global inter-arts projects, dance company and tertiary dance commissions, and intensive cultural programs in remote communities.
Photo | Kate Holmes
I’m excited to be joining NORPA, Australia’s leading regional theatre company, to share practice and get close to land, our people, artists and audiences. It feels timely to continue my contemporary theatre-making work on a national scale with these experienced and generous artists/practitioners.
Caroline has worked over the past 20 years as an actor, director, theatre maker and educator and has extensive screen experience in Australia and the UK. She specialised in avant-garde theatre in the Suzuki Actor Training Methodology for 15 years both in Australia and Japan as a senior company member of Frank Theatre. Caroline has a repertoire of original theatre works dedicated to developing innovative performance and has embarked on interdisciplinary projects as actor, deviser and director with independent makers and major organisations in contemporary theatre, drama, cabaret, comedy and opera. Caroline was on the board of Queensland Theatre from 2003-2006, has taught at universities nationally, most recently the QUT Acting Program, and co-founded award-winning independent company, Belloo Creative. Recent years have seen Caroline devise, perform and direct shows for Brisbane Festival (I Just Came To Say Goodbye 2017, Hanako 2016, I Want To Know What Love Is 2014 and The Wizard of Oz 2013) and Queensland Theatre (Motherland 2016, co-produced with Critical Stages NSW). In 2017 she worked as Assistant Director for the Queensland Theatre and MTC co-production Noises Off, was a movement coach on a young adult TV series, and devisor and performer with two of Brisbane’s best-known companies of contemporary theatre, The Danger Ensemble and The Good Room.
Photo | Kate Holmes
NORPA represents the vanguard of theatre making in regional Australia and as a passionate performance maker and artist based in the country, I’m thrilled to be part of the team.
Darcy is a classically trained acrobat, award-winning fine art photographer, physical theatre director and founding member of Circa, revered as one of the world’s most adventurous, genre-defying circuses. He has trained, taught and toured work on the cutting edge of New Circus to some of the world’s most prestigious venues. Where theatre, dance, circus and visual art meet is where Darcy likes to practice. His visual aesthetic is foundation and scaffold to his show making. In 2017 Darcy was commissioned by Adelaide International Arts Festival to direct Backbone by Gravity and Other Myths. The show premiered to 5-star reviews and standing ovations, also attracting three Helpmann Award nominations including Best Choreography and Best New Australian Work. Also a brilliant photographer, Darcy regularly shoots live performance for companies such as Opera Australia and The Farm. Darcy has had solo photographic exhibitions in Brisbane, Melbourne and Berlin.
Photo | Kate Holmes
NORPA is killing it at the moment - it’s a very exciting, inspiring time to be involved with the company.
Mitch King is a Yaegl Bundjalung man from the Far North Coast region of NSW. He is a creative producer specialising in hip hop music and dance and has been working at NORPA as an Associate Producer and Associate Artist since 2014. He is one part of local hip hop group Teddy Lewis King and teaches dance with young people around the region. He has a background in youth work, collaborating with young people on community events and programs. Mitch combines his passion for hip-hop dance and music with theatre, movement and creative writing to connect with people who want to engage with the performing arts. As a workshop leader he develops people’s unique movement and voice within the rhythm and aesthetic of hip hop.
Photo | Kate Holmes
I am excited to be working with NOPRA in the capacity of creative programs producer, helping to facilitate creative pathways, training opportunities and artistic explorations in our region. As an associate artist with the company I am passionate to continue my exploration in interactive and immersive theatre for young people and curated theatre and arts events that bring community together in imaginative play.
Valley Lipcer is a creative producer, director and performer with over 20 years experience working in outdoor theatre, children’s theatre and arts events. She is founder and Artistic Director of Roundabout Theatre, one of Australia’s most popular outdoor theatre companies creating whimsical, visually spectacular and highly interactive shows. She is also the co-director of 100 Wonder Place producing ‘The Arty Party’ outdoor multi-arts events for children and families. Valley performed with physical theatre company Strange Fruit (1996 - 2002) at over 200 International Arts Festivals and was a puppeteer with The Snuff Puppets (2002-2004) touring nationally in Europe and Korea. She has written and directed issue-based and educational street theatre projects for numerous local and state government bodies and NGOS, taught theatre and run youth arts programs. She has also worked as a freelance director on large-scale performance installations and co-directed the immersive children’s show Journey to an Unnamed World with NORPA (2016).
Photo | Kate Holmes
NORPA’s new works smash together dance, theatre, physicality, music and song and are thrilling, joyous and powerful with a genuine connection to this place and it’s people. It’s a dream to work with a company dedicated to experimenting with form at the same time as telling new important stories and in my hometown!
Kate McDowell, originally from Lismore, holds a NIDA Postgraduate Diploma in Writing for Performance and is trained in dance, puppetry and performance. Kate was Assistant Director/Stage Manager for NORPA’s Dreamland and was design intern with Ed Horne for NORPA’s immersive production for children Journey To an Unnamed World. She was NIDA Independent Resident Artist under the mentorship of Erth Physical and Visual Inc (2014) and her collective Wonderbabes were resident with NORPA The Adventures of Wonderbabe the Terrible (2016). The same work was presented as part of La Boite HWY Festival. Kate was Literary Intern at Belvoir (2012), and her play Its Fashionable to Fuck up Your Life was shortlisted for the National Script Workshop with Playwriting Australia. Kate wrote, produced and directed the short film Wiwi Yamba and wrote a 7-part You Tube series Inherit The Earth for 22 young actors and Theatre Theatre Productions. As Creative Producer Kate developed Icarus Falling and Who Is Dani Cabs? for Australian and UK tours. Icarus Falling was nominated for Best Emerging Artist, Total Theatre Awards, Edinburgh Fringe 2015. She is Dramaturgy Mentor to Sprung!! Integrated Dance Theatre for their new work Share House, to be presented at ArtState 2017.
Photo | Kate Holmes
NORPA is renowned across Australia as a special company. Their work is generous, innovative and relevant! And secretly, I have always wanted to have an opportunity to give something of my current dance practice back to an area where I was born, on a stage where I did my first-ever public dances at 7 years old!
Emma Saunders is an artist, originally from Lismore, who works as a dancer, curator, choreographer and educator. She graduated with a BA in Dance and Grad Dip Ed (Dance/Drama) from the University of Western Sydney. She is interested in the simplicity of dance and the complexity of choreography. Utilising a visceral, instinctive attack, her work is immediate, often working with humour, everyday movements, repetition, duration and abstraction. She co-created The Fondue Set– a formidable Sydney based dance trio well known for their signature theatricality and comedic style. Emma was the inaugural Dance Curator at Campbelltown Arts Centre (2008–2012), where she co-curated a series of dance projects that examine community, location, exchange, culture, age and the interdisciplinary nature of making dance work. Currently, Emma is creating The Austinmer Dancing Project — a large scale, intergenerational, inclusive, en masse site specific beach project for New Year’s Day 2018 and looking forward to developing and presenting her now solo dance work, DANCING WITH MYSELF, commissioned by FORM Dance Projects, Sydney.
Photo | Kate Holmes
When you come to NORPA performance the people who greet you at the door, or show you to your seat, are all volunteers, doing it for the love of the arts. We thank each and every one of them for their help and support. NORPA could not survive without them!
If you are interested in volunteering for NORPA please contact Ryan Virtue, Audience Services Coordinator on 1300 066 772 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Banner image | Lisa Sorghini