Actor and teacher Dr Elizabeth Jones has been the Artistic Director of La Mama Theatre since 1976. For 20 year prior she was a teacher of English, History, Drama, and Politics in Australia and Indonesia. She has worked over many years as an advocate for refugees and First Nation's peoples, and is invested in La Mama being a place of support for minority and independent artists.
Percussionist, social worker, and Board Member of the Victorian Women's Trust, Duré Dara OAM is Indian by race, Malaysian by birth, and Australian by choice. A proponent of spontaneous and improvised music for more than 40 years, she is well known for her work as a percussionist with the late David Tolley and in the Brian Brown Quintet. She worked alongside Stephanie Alexander in the 1990s and was the first woman president of the Victorian Restaurant and Caterers Association. She's passionate about women and girls having access to education and opportunities in the arts.
*language warning on this episode*
Shirley McKechnie is a dancer, choreographer, and educator. She founded the first tertiary dance course in Australia at Rusden College (Deakin University) in 1975 and has written extensively on dance and dance education. She was a co-founder of the Australian Association for Dance Education (AADE), now Ausdance, has been a professorial fellow at the Victorian College of the Arts, and in 1987 was awarded an Order of Australia.
Born in New Zealand, Jo Jo Smith is a soul singer, songwriter, guitarist, and drummer. She was the first woman to perform at the Byron Bay Blues and Roots Festival in the 1980s. In 2017 she performed 50 shows around Australia with fellow songwriter Lucy Thorne, celebrating 50 years as a professional performing artist.
Feminist playwright, actor, and teacher Sandra Shotlander is a regular feature at Melbourne's La Mama Theatre, and at Women Playwrights International conferences around the world. She has founded several theatre companies including Mime and Mumbles deaf theatre group, and believes strongly in the importance of women creating their own narrative and telling their own stories.
Performance artist Robin Laurie was heavily involved in the infamous Melbourne Pram Factory in the 1960s and 70s, was a founding member of the first Women's Circus in Victoria, as well as Circus Oz. She's a trombone playing, Feldenkrais practicing legend who believes comedy is vital for survival.
Joyce McGrath is a 92 year old portrait painter. She was the first arts librarian at the State Library of Victoria, and received a Churchilll Fellowship to travel to arts libraries around the world and investigate their collections. Joyce spent years in hospital as a child with tuberculosis - she emerged with a lifelong love of colour, an incredible sense of humour, and enormous passion and drive for the arts.