MATT REUBEN JAMES WARD
Raised in regional WA in Carnarvon, Katanning and Albany, Matt has gone on to lead an international career as a performer and creative director. As a performer Matt has toured extensively throughout the United Kingdom to over 75 venues. Credits include the Messenger in Stephen Fry’s Life to Come (Britten Theatre) and Western Union Boy in English Touring Opera’s Olivier Award Winning Paul Bunyan (Linbury Studio Theatre Royal Opera House Covent Garden, UK tour).
As a creative director Matt has created and directed numerous performances, with commissions from plays to research & development programs. Working extensively in singing community engagement, Matt has worked with Operasonic UK, Royal College of Music Sparks Family Orchestra & Chorus London, BBC Symphony Family Orchestra & Chorus, BBC Proms Sing Plus and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Glyndebourne. Matt has taken workshops as part of these programs to over 50 schools and choirs between the UK and Australia.
Director of Music
Jonathan Brain - A performer of broad interests, Brain sings opera and sacred music, plays rock’n’roll, composes music, conducts choirs and teaches music. Since studying jazz, classical music, theatre and literature at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and the University of Western Australia, Brain’s performing career has seen him sing opera in the outback, play original music across Australia, perform regularly with West Australian Opera Company and the renowned St George’s Cathedral Consort, compose music for films and spend many late nights playing loud guitars in rock bands.
As a composer and arranger Brain has scored numerous independent films, written for schools and community groups. In 2017 Brain composed music for the community opera Pilgrims of the Sea celebrating the cessation of whaling activities in the Great Southern, and in 2018 co-composed and produced music for the VAC Noongar Song Project 2018.
Running parallel to this, Brain is a respected songwriter and contemporary musician, performing in his own right and as a sideman with numerous original music projects, touring and recording regularly. As a classical musician, Brain has performed regularly with the chorus of West Australian Opera (WAO) since 2008 and as a freelance vocal soloist.
Emma is a Soprano living in Toodyay, Western Australia. Emma studied at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts where she was awarded the Barbara McCleod Scholarship for most outstanding graduating student before continuing her opera training at the Sydney Conservatorium and the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.
Emma made her debut as a principal with West Australian Opera as Valencienne in the world premiere of Graeme Murphy’s The Merry Widow and has since performed the role of Johanna in Sweeney Todd. She has performed as a soloist at the Perth Concert Hall at numerous events including the Vienna Pops Orchestra New Years Eve Gala and several Best of British performances. Emma has been a regular performer for the West Australian Opera outreach program, performing in regional schools all over WA and was also Director of the St Hilda’s Anglican Girls School Choirs for 5 years, as well as a classical voice teacher at WAAPA. Her performance highlight to date is singing for the late Dame Joan Sutherland’s 80th birthday in her presence.
Noongar Elder, Cultural Consultant, Engagement Coordinator (Albany)
In 2018, Eliza was central to delivering the By Other Eyes project in Albany and the Great Southern coordinating engagement with elders in a number of towns and language rejuvenation sessions with youth.
Eliza’s father served Australian in WWII and she had numerous uncles in WWI. Eliza is experienced as an education mentor for children and youth, in Prisons and runs the Yongerup Aboriginal Corporation with her family. Eliza is passionate about sharing important stories about her family’s past and that of other Aboriginal people as a step towards building a better future for the community. Eliza has close family contacts in Bunbury and Perth.
Devising Director & Workshop leader (Albany)
Born in Yarloop and raised in Albany, Rachael has always been interested in the performing arts. In 2000, she successfully auditioned and was offered a place at the WA Academy of Performing Arts (WAPPA). Rachael went on to play Monica in the new play Out in the Open as part of the 2004 Mardi Gras Festival at the Darlinghurst Theatre in Sydney. In 2007, Rachael appeared as Doctor Wallace in the TV series Lockie Leonard which was filmed in Albany.
Having taken time out to start a family, Rachael graduated from University of WA with a Masters of Primary Teaching in 2016. She currently teaches and mentors Indigenous students in local arts programs while continuing to use her passion for acting in teaching drama at Southern Edge Arts in Albany.
Young Artist: Singer & Actor (Albany)
Jarrad is a young Noongar man born and bred in Albany, Western Australia. He has an outgoing, effervescent personality and enjoys being the lead singer and front man for various bands, including Overated. Jarrad has sung at many events in Albany such as Radioactive 2017 & 2018, NAIDOC school events and other community events.
Jarrad’s acting career has included performances in the ALOTCO (Albany Light Opera Theatre Company) Sound of Music and Magic of Musicals. He has also performed for the local Spectrum Theatre in An unwritten page. Jarrad has completed Certificate 2 in Music Industry, and completed Year 12 in 2018. In 2020 Jarrad commences studies at WAPPA in contemporary voice and hopes to be able to share his new skills with other regional youth.
Sheyan & Shantay TIDSWELL
Young Artists: Vocal (Albany)
Aboriginal twins, Shantay & Sheyan grew up in Burndaberg, Queensland and moved to Albany in 2013, graduating from school in 2018. Together they sing under the title of the Kyanga Sistaz, performing at various Albany events including The Queen’s Baton Relay; Sports Person of the Year; Local Government Week; City of Albany Citizenship Ceremony (Australia Day); and, several NAIDOC school and community events.
The sisters recorded two original songs for the WAM album Sounds of the Great Southern 2017. This year Sheyan performed Kawaar with at the City of Joondalup festival showcasing Noongar culture in Perth. The sisters were soloists as part of the Vancouver Street Festival 2018 and 2019. Sheyan starts Aboriginal Performance at WAAPA this year, but looks forward singing again with her sister back in Albany.
Pia Harris is an Australian-Italian soprano recently relocated to Western Australia after several years in London. Since her training programme with English National Opera, she has sung extensively with Opera Holland Park London, Royal Albert Hall, New York Lyric Opera, Carnegie Hall (US), The National Opera Center (US) and Symphony Space (US) and for the West Australian Opera. In 2019 Pia performed with local companies Lost & Found Opera and Freeze Frame Opera; as Kate Kelly in the world premiere of Lost & Found’s Ned Kelly as part of Perth Festival and Spoletta in Freeze Frame Opera’s Tosca. This year Pia is singing Gretel in Hansel and Gretel (West Australian Opera, Perth Festival), Jou-Jou in Merry Widow (Opera Holland Park London) and ‘Susanna’ in Le Nozze di Figaro (New York Lyric Opera).
For Breaksea, Pia has led numerous vocal workshops bringing her international experience to regional WA, performed the role of the whale in Drift (2018) and has sung alongside community participants in By Other Eyes (2018) and Shoal (2019). This year, Pia will deliver singing workshops as part of the By Other Eyes 2020 program across the South West, Great Southern and Perth metro areas, with performances at the Perth Concert Hall and Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre.
Film Maker (Denmark)
Rob Castiglione is an awarded filmmaker with over 20 years experience in drama, documentary and commercial productions. Also involved in writing, filming, editing and directing, Rob’s films have been screened internationally for the Australian Broadcasting Commission, Tura Totally Huge Music Festival, Fremantle Film Festival, OTO London, Not Waste Festival (Denmark), and Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival. Rob has created music videos for the likes of John Butler, Felicity Groom and San Cisco and his music videos Awkward and Fred Astair for Mama Kin have achieved over 11 million and 4 million views respectively on youtube.
Film credits include: Three Dragon Tenors, a half hour documentary nominated for best documentary and direction at WASA (ABC Arts); My Nan and the Yandi (edit, cinematography, colourgrade), a collaboration with Denise Groves and Jag Films, which won the WASA award in the documentary category and was shown on the ABC as part of their message stick series in 2011; The Well Weathered Piano recently shown at film festivals internationally; Remembering Sensei (Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival); Homeland Dreaming (edit, cinematography, soundscape and colour grade) with Denise Groves for Weerianna Street Media, a half hour film about the indigenous homeland movement shot at Youngaleena in WA; and, Two Sisters directed by aboriginal filmmaker Denise Groves for the Festival and Television Institute of WA.
Rob is currently filming and creating Forest Guardians, The Singer and a three-part documentary on the asylum seeker crisis.