DR CHRISTIAAN (CHRIS) WILLEMS
Director of Higher Education
As APAC’s Director of Higher Education, Dr. Christiaan (Chris) Willems brings to the organisation an extensive and uniquely diverse career in: music, theatre, television, tertiary education and professional communication.
A Fellow of the international Higher Education Academy (FHEA), Chris’s international conference presentations speak to his position as a leader in Higher Education, whilst his consistently innovative, transdisciplinary creative approach is evidenced by ABC-featured music recordings; extensive theatre performance and touring; professional publications, and award-winning international television.
Integrating creative industries leadership and practice-led research, Chris identifies and reconciles areas where often incompatible fields of professional practice intersect, interact, inform and enhance each other – producing innovative, productive solutions.
His multi-disciplinary Doctoral research and qualifications have informed the development of APAC’s Bachelor of Screen & Stage (BSS) Degree, which reconciles academic rigour with professional relevance.
Course Coordinator - Acting
“Give yourselves the permission to be excellent”
A passionate acting teacher Sean teaches from the film set to the classroom, from the stage to the studio straight to the students of APAC. An independent actor, director and producer he has travelled his way round the world and through the industry. His credits include:
Appearing in TV Rake, Home and Away , All Saints films Don’t Tell, Sanctum 3D, his latest film JIVA is showing at Cannes Film Festival in 2020. Theatre As You Like It ,Mercy Thieves , Rigoletto, and Hamlet.
QLD Executive Producer of the Short+Sweet Theatre + Cabaret Festival, Sean provides a professional pathway into the industry. Director and producer for OperaWorks LA, Taiwan International Arts Festival, Regional Theatres such as the Brolga and independently in Australia and U.S.A.
Course coordinator – for the past 3 years he has been helping artists realise their passion by turning their talent into a career.
Born and raised in Italy, Mirko graduated in performing arts early 2000s. With a background as a Chef Presenter, he devotes his life to performance on both screen and stage as actor, accomplishing to date over 200 screen productions and hundreds of live performances. Roles include Narnia, The Leftovers, Home and Away, Wanted, Neighbours, Joe Exotic and a array of international & Domestic Feature Films. Mirko has won several awards as an actor and as a director/writer and run classes in QLD, NSW and VIC as mentorship for artists who wanted to deepen their understanding of truthful performance and business growth in the industry.
His goal is to allow each student to unleash the artist inside, make it boundaryless and curious and find the freedom to learn, reflect and create while maintaining a vision and be abreast of the constant evolution of the Film/Tv industry. Understanding the business allows the artist to be like water and filter through the gaps constricting creativity and successful outcomes.
Course Coordinator - Screen Production
Julia has over twenty years of experience working in Sydney, London and Brisbane in Broadcast TV on documentaries and sports programs as a producer, director and editor. Julia has worked on a wide range of training, corporate productions and television commercials.
Julia is currently developing a documentary on Australian skateboarders and mentoring some of APAC’s graduates in producing their own programs and features. During her career Julia has worked at Australian Associated Press, Channel 7 and has had her own production company Lewis Media since 2006.
Julia brings extensive marketing, producing and editing experience, formal qualifications BA in Film and Media (Hon), a Diploma of Business (Entrepreneurship) and has just completed a Grad. Cert. E-learning, excellent communication skills and production expertise. She has been a Judge for PROMAX INDIA 2019 & 2020, ATOM Awards 2019 & 2020 and a presenter at the ATOM Queensland Conference 2020.
Luz has been teaching at APAC for many years. She brings a wealth of professional experience in the performing arts, having collaborated with some of Australia’s most prestigious music, theatre, and screen creatives. Luz first studied in Sydney with iconic teachers from Hayes Gordon and Tony Knight to Janise Slayter and Max Lambert. This resulted in successful practical applications of a rich repertoire of performance techniques that she guides students through from foundational classes to final rehearsals and performance. As a Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner®, Luz enhances students’ psychophysical and creative capacities through a unique somatic approach to their learning. Luz continues her passion for the arts and personal learning processes. She is currently embarking on a master’s research project through Central Queensland University, focused on nurturing actors’ self-image and learner autonomy to support their ongoing health and wellbeing throughout their careers.
Joe’s extensive Film and TV career – as a photographer, cinematographer, editor, producer, and teacher – commenced in the late 70’s in special events, as well state-wide TV commercials, documentaries, corporate, marketing, entertainment and instructional videos. In the late 90’s Joe established his own successful professional photography business, specialising in portraiture, fashion, commercial and advertising – as well as video editing and film production.
Over the span of his career he has also worked alongside Brisbane based cinematographers producing work for a wide range of advertising agencies, as well as significant large-scale Queensland government projects.
Joe brings extensive technical and creative skills and experience to APAC, as well as formal qualifications in a GradCert in Tertiary & Adult Education, excellent communication skills and complete professionalism. All of direct benefit to the students he teaches and the professional colleagues with whom he works on a day-to-day basis.
Hannah Reardon-Smith (she/her) is a flutist, improviser, composer, radio presenter, podcast producer, curator, lecturer, yoga teacher, and writer living on the unceded land of the Jagera, Yuggera, and Turrbal People. She performs solo on Ableton-extended flute as cyberBanshee, and is an active member of Brisbane’s experimental music community, performing in numerous collaborations and ensembles. She has played at national and international music and performing art festivals, and she is currently serving as a peer assessor for the Australia Council. Having previously completed an Advanced Master in Contemporary Music Performance at the School of Arts in Ghent, Belgium (2014-2016), Hannah is a current PhD candidate at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University, and her research and thinking are rooted in queer and feminist collaborative and contaminative co-creation with other soundmakers and artmakers, physical and social environments, ecologies, histories, and narratives, exploring the possibilities of making-kin and finding agency within community. She is passionate about sharing the potential for artistic growth through writing and research with her students, along with her love of the unusual in music and art.
Julia Nilon is an Australian contemporary singing pedagogue and performer. Throughout her career Julia has performed as a soloist and ensemble member in venues such as The Brisbane Jazz Club, QPAC, The Powerhouse Museum, Taikoo Li Sanlitun Beijing and the Queensland Conservatorium in a variety of contemporary singing styles such as jazz, musical theatre, pop and RnB.
As an educator Julia has worked with vocal clients in both Australia and Beijing from beginners to professional performers across various contemporary singing styles. Graduating from Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Performance (Voice) and a Master of Music Studies (Vocal Pedagogy, Academic Excellence) in 2016, Julia is currently working towards her Doctorate at QCGU and continues to develop her professional skills in both pedagogy and performance. Julia has had the pleasure of learning from teachers and musicians of the highest calibre including Assoc. Prof. Irene Bartlett, Mary Saunders-Barton (Penn State), Elly Hoyt, Kristin Berardi and David Spicer. In addition to her education and performance pursuits, Julia directs a YouTube channel sharing her insights as a singing educator as well as her love and passion for music with her growing audience.
Brendan grew up in Brisbane and began dancing at an early age. Brendan was accepted at Queensland University of Technology to one of twelve national places to study a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance.
Brendan has performed alongside Australian national icons such as Kylie Minogue and Dame Edna Ethridge, and after leaving Australia in 2006, began performing for some of the largest cruise lines and entertainment studios in the world such as Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises and Universal Studios Japan.
Brendan has since retired from his professional performance career and has returned home to Brisbane, Australia to focus on his career in dance education. Brendan is very passionate about providing industry level experience, mentorship and professional performance training to students who wish to embark on a career in the professional dance industry. Brendan provides years of international performance industry experience to dance and focuses on the key elements of dance performance training that aims to provide realistic, relevant and current training.
Brendan’s unique and invaluable approach to dance education offers something few studios can – education drawn from professional dance performance industry experience that focuses only on the key aspects of readying the young dancers of today for the real stages of tomorrow.
Heidi Manché is an awarding-winning theatre director. Most recently, as Co-Artistic Director of The Hive Collective, Heidi produced a season of three plays and directed The Bull, The Moon & The Coronet of Stars by Van Badham in 2021 at the new Metro Arts in Brisbane. Heidi directed The Eisteddfod by Lally Katz as part of the Metro Arts’ Local season.
Heidi studied theatre at Macquarie University in Sydney and was granted a scholarship to study at La Sapienza, Rome University, in Italy, working alongside Nobel laureate Dario Fo. Heidi translated many of Dario Fo’s texts into English whilst teaching and translating in the performing arts department at La Sapienza, Rome University. Heidi was also a guest lecturer at Universitá 3 in Rome.
In Brisbane, Heidi founded the independent theatre company Room to Play, touring with Ionesco’s The Bald Prima Donna, directing Dario Fo’ One Was Nude and One Wore Tails and Brian Friels Afterplay, which had sell-out seasons in Brisbane as well as touring to Sydney Fringe Festival. In 2017 Heidi directed Tom Holloway’s Red Sky Morning and co-directed Dario Fo’s Mistero Buffo, supported by Queensland Theatre independent initiative and presented at Billie Brown Theatre.
Recently she directed Tillie Olsen’s, I Stand Here Ironing and the staged reading of The Hanging by Angela Betzien, hosted by Hotlines at Playlab. Heidi co-created and directed I AM KING. I AM QUEEN, touring to New Zealand. This show won the Anywhere Sydney Fringe award and Brisbane Powerhouse Award. Heidi is currently developing a show to be creatively developed at a residency in Finland.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Chair, Non-Independent Director
DR SUSANNA CHAMBERLAIN