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Team AWESOME

Jenny Simpson

CEO/Artistic Director

Jenny joined AWESOME in 2007, bringing to the role extensive experience as a business manager, festival director, performer and teacher. Jenny has previously held several board positions including Treasurer of Canberra Arts Marketing, President of KULCHA, Multicultural Arts WA and board member for the Chamber of Arts and Culture. Jenny is currently the Musical Director of Mosman Park based choir, the Mighty Camelot. At AWESOME Jenny combines her passion for presenting high quality and innovative arts with community cultural development and working with regional communities.
Jenny’s super power is: the ability to sense the location of hidden animals.

Alexandra Biddle

Operations and Marketing Manager

Alex joined Team AWESOME in 2013 and currently looks after the marketing and communications and operations of the organisation. A passion for theatre and drama lead Alex to complete a Bachelor of Creative Arts in Drama Studies, a Bachelor of Arts in Education and a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Relations. Alex has a background in cinema exhibition marketing, and loves film.
Alex’s super power is: cat whispering.

Brianna Wotzko

Administration, Education and Volunteer Manager

Brianna joined team AWESOME in 2015 and loves to explore the limitless potential of creativity! Brianna studied Professional Writing and Publishing and Literary Cultural Studies at Curtin University and has an Associate Diploma in Drama and Performance with the Australian Music Examination Board which qualifies her as a Speech and Drama Teacher. She is currently undertaking a Graduate diploma in Creative Arts Therapies. Brianna has a strong background in education in Arts Management and Education having worked at various schools and festivals in Perth. When she’s not arranging flights and visas for AWESOME artists, Brianna oversees the volunteering program, writes the educator’s resource kit and books in school excursions to the festival.
Brianna’s super power is: her exhaustive knowledge of obscure character actors and finding recipes that harness the flavours and potential of potatoes perfectly.

Miranda Stephens

Community Cultural Development Manager

Miranda joined Team AWESOME in 2013 and is passionate about contemporary art and its ability to create powerful social change. Miranda graduated from Curtin University with an undergraduate degree in Cultural Heritage Studies and an honours year in Anthropology. Last year she completed a Graduate Certificate in Social Impact through the University of Western Australia with support from AWESOME’s Principal Partner BHP. Miranda’s background includes curation, education and events and has worked is various arts and not for profit positions in Perth. Miranda runs AWESOME’s core community development program Creative Challenge and loves working with artists and schools to bring artist in residence projects to communities around Western Australia.
Miranda’s super power is: the ability to find amazing op shop bargains and keep an exceptionally neat notebook.

James Savage

Production Manager

James has worked in the arts industry for many years and has worked his way up to production manager to the stars! In recent years he has been production manager at the Fairbridge Festival, Joondalup Festival and the Adelaide Fringe Festival in addition to touring the world over with Australian comedy act Frank Woodley and his show ‘Possessed.’ James looks forward to coming back and working on the AWESOME festival in the second half of the year.
James’ super power is: the ability to charm.

Amanda Scoble

Accounts Manager

Amanda became a member of the AWESOME Team in 2017. After many years in sport and corporate accounting, she decided to change it up and spent a couple of years behind the scenes with The State Theatre Centre of WA. Needless to say, she fell in love with the arts industry and hasn’t looked back.
Whilst Amanda does love a great spreadsheet or a shiny new calculator, she also loves to put a smile on people’s faces and is never short of a pun or a bad mum joke!
Amanda’s super power is: giving the best hugs.

James Campbell

Festival Photographer

The AWESOME Festival has been an annual highlight in James’ photographic career since he began working on the project in 2013. He looks forward to its return in October every year and loves exploring and learning what the program has
on offer in and around the Perth Cultural Centre. James keeps extremely busy however, when spare time is available you will find the adventurous James,
kitesurfing, volunteering at his local men’s shed or taking his bike out for a spin.
James’ super power is: the ability to capture special moments with ease.

Board

Professor Jonathan Carapetis

Patron of AWESOME Arts Australia Ltd. & Director of the Telethon Kids Institute

Jonathan is a paediatrician, researcher and Director of Telethon Kids Institute. He has been a patron of AWESOME Arts since 2015. This combination of skill and experience allows him to blend his passion for improving the health
and wellbeing amongst disadvantaged kids with his interests in the arts. During university, Jonathan was a frequent visitor to Africa where his father lived. It was in Tanzania where he saw first-hand the challenges facing many local families. Their struggle with poverty and major health crises such as HIV, malaria, pneumonia and malnutrition fuelled him through his studies and had a major influence on his future career path. In his dim dark past, he miss-spent many years as an amateur thespian, and wonders to this day whether he should have followed his mates into professional acting. He watched them go on to become famous with Working Dog Productions, while he continued with intensive study to become a doctor… Sigh… Jonathan and his family continue to be strong supporters of the arts as well as health focused organisations who advocate for social justice and equity.

Derry Simpson

Chair

Derry is a highly intuitive, well credentialed and award-winning brand and communications strategist with a passion for interactive, transformative ideas. Currently a Director at 303LOWE, Derry has over 15 years in the media and marketing industry. As an expert in behaviour change, Derry has worked with numerous not-for-profit organisations over the years, both as a Board member and in a consultant capacity, assisting them to transform their brands and succeed in today’s cluttered environment. A Mum of three little ones and an advocate for building the creative capital in Western Australia, Derry was thrilled to be appointed to the AWESOME Board. She is excited about the wonderful opportunity that it presents for her to put her skills to good use in an area she is passionate about.

David Lee

Vice Chair

David’s first stage experience was very traumatic… at least for a four-year-old!
Mr and Mrs Lee’s eldest son forgot all the words to Jesus Loves Me while performing solo in front of the Bethel Baptist Church congregation in the Llynfi Valley, South Wales. This unfortunate event led to tears, followed by a misspent youth dabbling in snooker, rock bands and socialism. David partially recovered and spent the early part of his career working as a tradesman in Europe, the Middle East and South-East Asia, before coming to Australia in 1982. After completing a degree in Communications and Chinese studies at Murdoch, David worked as a radio broadcaster, a trade unionist, a shire councillor, a best practice consultant, mine manager, marketing director, chief executive officer and a political staffer. David has also had a broad range of experience in working with community arts organisations. For the past seven years, David has been working in the resource sector and continues to play music and broadcast on RTR FM. David loves the energy, enthusiasm and professionalism of AWESOME and still harbours a dream that one day Willy Nelson will cover one of his songs!

Mary Bretherton

Treasurer

Mary is a retired tax accountant who has spent 40 years in the profession. Over the years Mary has raised three sons and has served on various kindergarten and school committees/boards and recently spent 11 years on her local church finance committee. Mary has always enjoyed all types of theatre and performance and now as a grandmother of 3 young girls, is keen to be part of a team who are dedicated to providing exciting arts and cultural activities for children that encourage the development of their young creative abilities.

Liz Chester

 

Elizabeth is an experienced communications professional who loves to work with others to inspire, challenge and bring about positive change.

Since the start of this millennium, she has worked with the very clever researchers at the Telethon Kids Institute to make sure that the results of their amazing work is communicated to those who can use it – to improve healthcare, change policies and attract vital funding.

During that time, she’s also kept her hand in as a television producer and journalist with 7 News and loves training and mentoring people in all aspects of media.
She’s been a TV and radio presenter, had a short stint in Theatre in Education, and is an enthusiastic, but not particularly talented musician. Liz believes that every child should have the joy and proven benefits of the arts — that’s why she is delighted to join the Awesome Arts Board.

Danielle Benda

 

Danielle Benda grew up on a farm in a small community with a passion for amateur theatre. Her first stage appearances as a primary school kid were as a dancing fairy or naughty elf in the annual pantomime. An avid reader, her passion for theatre was reignited at university where she was heavily involved in the dramatic society before finally abandoning any ideas of a career in the arts for a cadetship at The West Australian and a future in journalism. In addition to The West, her career has encompassed stints at ABC Radio, Curtin University, Scoop Magazine and five years as an adviser in the office of Premier Colin Barnett. Along the way she has done a great deal of arts writing, many theatre reviews and book reviews. She worked for the Perth International Arts Festival for two years, running the Perth Writers Festival. She is now Content Director at ABC Radio and continues to pursue her interests in theatre, visual arts and literature.

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