Artist of the Month
In 2023, we're making it our mission to highlight a new artist from the Australian theatre scene each month.
This individual could be a performer, director, writer, reviewer, sound designer, musician, lighting designer, set designer, stage manager and so on.
If you feel like you'd know someone who would be perfect, contact us or hit us up on our socials @theatrethoughtsaus.
September - Bria McCarthy (she/her)
Bria McCarthy (she/her) is a Wiradjuri/Irish writer and theatre-maker working on Dharug and Gundungurra land. In 2019 she wrote and directed her debut play ‘A Game For Flies’, which played at PYT Fairfield. In 2022 her debut manuscript ‘Finding Liminas: The Sudden Tree’ was shortlisted for the Text Prize 2022.
In 2022, she also wrote and created a shadow puppet short film called ‘Murriyang: Seven Sisters Rising’, and a solo show called “Dragon Hearts”. In 2023 she is creating a series of fantasy puppet shows called “Tales From Liminas” whilst preparing Dragon Hearts for its Fringe Festival tour. Her work is characterised by an interest in environmental philosophy, a sense of wonder and playfulness, and her experimental approaches to storytelling.
What inspired you to get involved in theatre?
When I was 5, I was very energised by art, always singing, dancing, making up stories about fantasy creatures, or playing dress ups. I think it was out of the pure necessity of my parents to burn some of this steam that they sent me to drama classes. Since then I've always had at least some part of my time dedicated to theatre-making, be that writing, directing shows, teaching classes, or making puppets. I feel that in some way it was a calling, or maybe I was the one calling out for art. I find constant inspiration in Country, in nature, animals, mythology, and still to this day I love a fantasy creature. In my theatre practise I want to create work that is multi-species, decentres the human, and lets life back into our stories.
What have been the highs? What have been the lows?
The greatest treasure of my career is definitely the friendships I've made amongst other artists. To be amongst like minded people, with whom you can constantly share inspiration and perspectives is something that has enriched every part of my life. There's also the literal high that I can get from creating performances, puppets and music. I love to get all my friends together, turn the lights down low and give them some music and puppets to play with, and it's seriously the best time ever.
The lows I try not to count. But I was just reflecting the other day about my early years as a very emerging artist (as opposed to now... an emerging, maybe almost there artist). I was taught all through school about artists who challenged perspectives, changed the artform of theatre by breaking it. I had a strong vision of what I wanted, and I think this was my greatest strength at the time. However there were mentors in the scene who would preach how much they didn't understand the work, how much they wanted it to be like this show that they made last year, or that show that used the format right. I heard this all over from the more established generation of artists, so I found a happy medium where I made a debut play that was only mildly confusing. I'm glad I stuck to my guns, but looking back, I hope that any other young women with strong visions stay true to themselves. We aren't here to stick to the formula. We're here to break it.
Where do you see yourself going/want to go?
I have lots of aspirations and no five year plan. But I'm driving towards a practice that can exist in both film and theatre, where I can make my own short films with puppets and tour my shows around Australia. I have my eyes set on Edinburgh Fringe festival as well, because I think they'd love Dragon Hearts. And I want to get chickens this spring!
Our Artists of the Month Gallery
Who will we highlight this year? Sign up to our Monthly or follow our socials to find out.
Lily Hayman (she/her)
Lily Hayman is a young writer, director and producer who lives and works on unceded Gadigal Land. She is the current Young Leader and Associate Producer at Shopfront Arts Co-Op, and one half of the all-female team behind Purple Tape Productions. Having received a Bachelor of Performance and First Class Honours (Theatre) at the University of Wollongong, Lily has since created and presented two fully realised productions: Fledgling (KXT 2022, MerrigongX 2021) and The Infinity Mirror (Shopfront ArtsLab 2021, BrandX Flying Nun Residency 2022). She has worked as Assistant Director to Margot Politis with Milk Crate Theatre and has been a member of the Harness Ensemble of artists with and without disability since 2021. In 2023 Lily is looking forward to directing Expiration Date and Party Girl as well as developing her own works Preparing for the Inevitable and Perfect Match.
Hayden Tonazzi (they/him)
Hayden Tonazzi (they/he) is a theatre and musical theatre director, and creative producer based in Gadigal. A graduate of the NIDA MFA Directing program, this year they commence their appointment as Artistic Associate with the Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP), after being an Associate Artist at the Kings Cross Theatre (KXT).
As Director, their play credits include Shack by George Kemp for ATYP, Tell Me Before The Sun Explodes by Jacob Parker for KXT, the Australian Premiere of Significant Other by Joshua Harmon for The New Theatre, This Genuine Moment by Jacob Parker for La Mama & The Old 505. Their musical theatre credits include Miracle City by Nick Enright for NIDA, Carrie: The Musical for The Depot Theatre, Parade at The Seymour Centre, and The Hatpin at The King Street Theatre. This year they will be developing a new work titled Pickled (كبيس) for PYT Fairfield, creating a new youth-devised work titled Stop. Drop. And Listen. for Shopfront Arts, and directing a new Australian play, The Last Train To Madeline by Callum Mackay for Fever103.
Sarah Carroll (she/they)
Sarah Carroll (she/they) is an award winning Pasifika queer and neurodiverse writer, performer and producer working on Dharug Land (Western Sydney). Sarah has two successful one woman shows under her belt, ‘Cherry’ (Sydney Fringe Award Winners and Hollywood Fringe Nominee) and ‘Unkissed’ (Developed with Shopfront – ArtsLab). They also run their own production company Sour Cherry Productions that has successfully produced works in the indie theatre scene and fringe circuits.
Maeve Hook (she/her)
Maeve Hook is a queer director, writer and actor, and co-founder of TART Theatre Collective. Maeve has a rich performance history in circus and is a BFA Acting graduate from Queensland University of Technology. In the final year of her studies, she received the Jennifer Blocksidge Memorial Award, allowing her to train with Shakespeare and Company (Massachusetts USA) post-graduation. She has several independent performance credits, some of which include the title role in ‘Anna Bella Eema’ (Dir. Anja Homburg), Mercutio in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (Dir. Shaz Mullens, Fresh Theatre) and the lead in Queer historical short film ‘Ballad’ (Dir. Roe Bonnici). Maeve was a chosen playwright for ATYP’s Emerging Playwrights National Studio (2021) and is currently a part of She Writes at Theatre Works (2022-2023). Her directing work has most recently been seen by national and international audiences with the 2022 tour of ‘POLES: The Science of Magnetic Attraction’.
Tyler Fitzpatrick (she/her)
Tyler (she/her) is a stage and production manager, producer, lighting designer and theatre maker currently based on unceded Dharawal Land. She graduated with distinction from the University of Wollongong, earning the Merrigong Theatre Company Production Prize. Tyler has been the Production and Operations Manager at Shopfront Arts Co-Op since 2020 and services arts organisations as a Production Associate with The Paperjam Partners. With Paperjam, she has production managed Jailbaby and Pony (Griffin Theatre Company, 2023), A Practical Guide to Self-Defense (National Theatre of Parramatta/Merrigong Theatre Company, 2022), Nothing (NTofP, 2022), and Dust (Milk Crate Theatre Company, 2022).