Staff & Board

STAFF

Director Jacqueline Hornjik
Creative Producer, Programming + New Work Gabriela Green Olea
Creative Producer, Youth + Emerging Bina Bhattacharya
Creative Producer, Community + Engagement Daisy Montalvo
Finance + Operations Manager
Holly Morrison
Marketing + Development Coordinator Yvan Karezi
Technical + Production Manager Elyse Drenth

Senior Teaching Artist Zoe Tomaras
Assisting Teaching Artists Neda Taha, Ayah Darwich, Katelyn Claveria
Companies-in-residence CuriousWorks and Western Sydney University (Curiously West)
2023 Artists-in-Residence Kady Robinson (Stage Soldiers), Bedelia Lowrenčev, Jeremy Lowrenčev (Collision), Eliam Royalness, Jamaica Moana, Rennard Velasco, Neda Taha, Roseleen Maano (Pioneers), Josipa Draisma, Mara Knezevic (The Hen House), Charnel Rizk (Lansdowne Scholarship), Tammy Dang (Lansdowne Scholarship), Azzam Mohammad (Katma), Najee Tannous, Antony Mahklouf, Hayden Tonazzi, May Yousif, Frankie Pelli (Pickled), Gabriela Green Olea (Calle), Sarah Kalule (March Dance), Hasiba Ebrahimi (Sheeshak).

BOARD

Co-Chairs Donna Abela and Najee Tannous
Treasurer
Frank Ashe
General Board Members
Freyana Irani, Dr Rachael Jacobs, Tammy Dang, Kelly Kim


PYT Staff

L-R Jacqueline Hornjik, Gabriela Green Olea, Bina Bhattacharya, Daisy Montalvo, Holly Morrison, Yvan Karezi, Elyse Drenth

Director – Jacqueline Hornjik

Jacqueline is a creative with a passion for innovative community engagement that advocates for real change. She is an advocate for Western Sydney, for people with a disability, for life-changing education and creative learning, the arts and creative and innovative practices.

Jacqueline began her creative story playing the role of baby Jesus in the Nativity scene in Lima, Peru at the age of 6 months old. Since then, Jacqueline has worked across Sydney opening a local theatre company, Liverpool Performing Arts Ensemble in 2007, as Producer/Curator of Theatre at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Deputy Chair of Access Arts Australia, Creative Producer at Critical Stages, Marketing Manager at Monkey Baa Theatre Company, Producer, Children, Families and Creative Learning at Sydney Opera House, as Co-Director and Founder of Toy Diplomacy and now as Director at PYT Fairfield.

Jacqueline has a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Music and Performance Studies at the University of Sydney as well as a Masters in Marketing (MMktg) and Masters of Business Administration (MBA) gained in her attempt to find ways to build commercial opportunities in artistic and creative practice.

Jacqueline has also been nominated for and has won numerous awards for her work in curating and producing various performing and visual arts programs dedicated to young audiences, including nominations for the Vivid Ideas Local Government Award, Women of the West Award, iMAGine Award and many more.

Creative Producer, Programming + New Work – Gabriela Green Olea

Gabriela is a dancer who works across many mediums, with all people and within inclusive environments. Inspired by artists of her homeland Chile, Gabriela is currently interested in Dance as Activism and is facilitating COPE FLOW a multidisciplinary artist lab at Four Winds on Djiringang Land for First Nations artists and artists of colour working in regional NSW.

Gabriela will continue to dive into Dance as Activism in 2021 through a Ausdance Residency and a PACT solo artist residency. Gabriela is a valued Dirtyfeet artist and is part of Emma Saunders ‘We are Here’ company.

Besides dancing Gabriela has worked producing projects with FLING Physical Theatre and Durwali-ngal in regional NSW. She is currently the Creative Producer Programming and New Works at PYT Fairfield and has a passion for empowering and working with diverse Western Sydney artists.

Creative Producer, Youth + Emerging – Bina Bhattacharya

Bina Bhattacharya is an award-winning filmmaker (Writer/Producer/Director) from Campbelltown in Sydney’s southwest and is currently a Writer for the feature film “Here Out West” about the intersecting lives of Western Sydney’s migrant communities produced by Co-Curious.

Bina was awarded Best Screenplay for her short film ‘Musings’ at Sydney’s Made in the West Film Festival, and the Audience Choice Award a year prior for her 2017 short film ‘Wild Dances’. ‘Wild Dances’ was  screened at festivals in the USA, Ukraine, Germany, Czech Republic as well as Mardi Gras Film Festival and Melbourne Queer Film Festival.

Most recently Bina has worked as a Higher Education Worker at Western Sydney’s University’s School of Medicine and also runs her own Production company, Gemme de la Femme Pictures, specialising in showcasing the talents of actors from diverse backgrounds.

Bina is the daughter of a Bengali Indian migrant father and a white-Australian mother and draws on her diverse cultural experiences into her artistic practice, decolonising performance and challenging ideas around “high” and “pop” culture.

Creative Producer Community + Engagement – Daisy Montalvo 

Daisy Montalvo is a Mount Druitt community artist with a focus in film-making and community & engagement. She started her career in the Arts as a performer for the Mt Druitt Press Conference at the ‘FUNPARK’ Sydney Festival in 2014.

Daisy completed a Journalism degree in 2015 and went on to make a documentary called Broadening Horizons (2017) following the stories of six young women from Bidwill on a six day hike in Tasmania. From there she has gone on to direct short films El Baile (2018) and Sydney Festival short film Prone to the Drone (2019). Daisy has also been involved in other film projects as a producer for feature film From All Sides (2023) and short film Tony’s Dream (2023).

In 2019 Daisy went from a participant in FUNPARK to its lead coordinator and is still within this role on a two-day a week basis & is also working three days at PYT Fairfield as their Creative Producer – Community & Engagement since 2022 but has been apart of the team in a different role since 2018.

She is a passionate storyteller who believes in the importance of sharing and giving voice to the stories of young people in Western Sydney and has practiced that daily in her two jobs and in her art.

Finance + Operations Manager – Holly Morrison

Holly Morrison is an arts administrator and certified bookkeeper who has been working in financial management for not for profit organisations for eight years. She holds a Bachelor of Art Theory (Distinction) from the UNSW Art & Design and a Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping.

Whilst studying, Holly worked in community services in Waterloo, Sydney where she experienced the connection between art and social agency, and has worked for organisations who support artists and build relationships with communities ever since.

Holly has previously worked in community development at Cumberland Council’s Peacock Gallery and Auburn Arts Studio and is currently also Best Practice and Finance Coordinator at the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) where she specialises in best practice.

Marketing + Development Coordinator – Yvan Karezi

Yvan Karezi is a Kurdish-Australian Actor and multi-disciplinary Artist. She studied for a Diploma of the Arts (Acting) at Sydney Theatre School and later undertook Screen and Media (Journalism) studies at TAFE NSW. Since then, she has been in a number of stage plays, including performances at both the Sydney and the Edinburgh Fringe Festivals. Yvan decided to further her acting studies, focusing particularly on Screen acting at both Screenwise Australia, and The Actors Centre.

She has been part of the Ensemble program at PYT Fairfield since 2020. During this time she has worked on a number of projects and productions in collaboration with Fairfield City Council, Fairfield City Gallery and Museum, Story Factory, Hume Housing, and Youth Week. She also works as drama facilitator in PYT’s Pilots Program.

Yvan grew up, and has lived in South-West Sydney ever since her family arrived in Australia in 1997. Yvan is very passionate about the Arts and is a firm believer that artistic expression should be accessible to everyone.

Technical and Production Manager – Elyse Drenth

Elyse Drenth is a qualified Lighting Designer and Technician from Western Sydney. With 15 years experience working as a technician she has worked across a broad range of events in Theatre, Live Music and Corporate Events.

Elyse has gained extensive experience and technical knowledge working on concerts and large productions across Sydney. She has provided technical services in Corporate Events as an in-house Technician at the Four Seasons Hotel, providing technical experience to weddings, conferences and corporate events. Elyse then moved into Theatre as a Technician at the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre where she was the Production and Technical Manager for their first in-house production Tough Beauty.

Most recently, Elyse has worked as a freelance Lighting designer/ Technician for various Theatre productions including PYT’s Pioneers for Sydney World Pride and Art and About and has recently been announced as the Lighting Designer for PYT’s Pickled at Belvoir Street Theatre.

PYT Board

L-R Donna Abela, Najee Tannous, Frank Ashe, Freyana Irani, Kelly Kim, Rachael Jacobs, Tammy Dang

Co-Chair – Donna Abela

Donna grew up in Western Sydney, and is a founding member of PYT Fairfield. Her plays have won the Griffin Playwriting Prize, AWGIE awards for Stage and Audio, the Human Rights Award for Drama, and been nominated for prizes including two NSW Premiers Literary Awards. As a dramaturge, she has extensive experience developing emerging writers and new works for the stage. She studied at UTS, NIDA, UNSW, and UoW where she completed a doctorate and taught creative writing. She currently teaches scriptwriting at Excelsia College and NIDA, and in 2017 and 2021 delivered the bespoke year-long Page to Stage course for the National Theatre of Parramatta.

Co-Chair – Najee Tannous

Najée is an interdisciplinary performance maker and arts educator. His work spans across installation, immersive performance and contemporary dance. He is a graduate of the Australian Academy of Dramatic Arts and Australian Catholic University completing a Bachelor of Performance (Acting & Directing), Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts & Theatre Studies) and Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary). He has worked with the Sydney Opera House (Education/Programming), Australian Theatre for Young People (Education), and Barefeet films (Assistant Director). His film and television credits include Home and Away (2007), Gangs of Oz (2008), Dance Academy (2008) and Dream Kiss Cry (2011).

He founded Boombox Performing Arts Centre (BPAC) in 2008; an arts centre dedicated to cultivating youth dance practice in Western Sydney and is currently working on his new work-in-development Pickled (2023).

Treasurer – Frank Ashe

Frank Ashe has extensive Not-For-Profit board experience, in particular as Treasurer and has worked with Arts Access Australia, Incite Arts (in Mparntwe/Alice Springs), and the Attitude Foundation.

Frank currently works as a consultant specialising in risk governance and behavioural finance. He is fascinated by contrasting facets of human cultures and behavioural psychology and how they affect organisational behaviour.

Frank has worked for over 40 years in Australia, Canada, and Asia. He has worked in pro bono positions in Africa and South Asia, and is a regular presenter.

Frank obtained his PhD from UNSW in Statistics and Applied Mathematics. He wishes there were more serious expositions of mathematics in the arts.

General Board Member – Freyana Irani

Freyana Irani is an actor, writer, and human rights lawyer. She has undertaken national inquiries into rights abuses for UNICEF Australia, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce, and the Australian Human Rights Commission. A recognised child rights expert, Freyana was Chair of the Australian Child Rights Taskforce, led the NGO sector’s international reporting on children’s rights, and has represented Australia at the United Nations in Geneva.

Freyana is a graduate of New York’s prestigious Atlantic Acting School (NYU Tisch School of the Arts). Her writing has been published in national and international media, including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, and Womankind magazine.

General Board Member – Kelly Kim

Kelly is a media and entertainment lawyer with a passion for the performing arts and live entertainment. She is currently Legal Counsel at Michael Cassel Group, a live entertainment company formed to produce the world’s greatest theatrical productions and live entertainment.

In 2023, Kelly was named a finalist at the prestigious Lawyers Weekly Australian Law Awards in the Rising Star of the Year (In-House) category. Prior to obtaining her law degree at Macquarie University, Kelly also completed her Bachelor of Music (Performance) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Her passion for the creative and performing arts stems from her personal experience as a performer.

As a first-generation Korean Australian who grew up in South-West Sydney, Kelly is thrilled to be a Board member of PYT Fairfield. She is passionate about supporting and encouraging young and emerging artists in Western Sydney.

General Board Member – Rachael Jacobs

Rachael Jacobs lectures in Creative Arts Education at Western Sydney University and is a former secondary arts teacher (Dance, Drama and Music). She has a PhD on creativity and assessment, and her research focusses on arts for creative and social justice.

Rachael has facilitated art projects in community settings all over Australia, mostly working in migrant and refugee communities. She is also a community activist, aerial artist, South Asian choreographer and runs her own intercultural dance company. She was a founding member of Teachers for Refugees, is on the boards of climate action organisation, Sweltering Cities, and youth theatre company, PYT Fairfield.

General Board Member – Tammy Dang

Tammy Dang is a Western Sydney theatre-maker and filmmaker who makes wholesome, fun and equally emotional stories about dreams, love, and family for young people (think Disney Pixar films!). She was awarded the Mayor’s Creative Artist Award (2023) for her commitment to the creative arts and was a PYT Lansdowne scholarship recipient in 2022.

While currently completing her Law and Media (Screen and Sound Production) degrees, Tammy has directed, filmed and edited her first music video for Charnel Rizk, ‘Mr and Mrs Smith’ (2023); co-devised and acted in the theatre show, ‘KHair’ (2023); worked on numerous theatre shows as [assistant] stage-manager and tech crew, including ‘Action Star’ which premiered at the Oz Asia Festival; photographed at high-end events like the ‘Vogue Convention’ (2022 & 2023) and ‘Exclusive Stranger Things Event’ (2022); and worked on various film and video projects, including second-unit directing a feature film, ‘From All Sides’ (2022-23), and co-creating a short film under the Ensemble Micro-commission awards, ‘For April’ (2022).

Tammy is currently creating a musical theatre show called ‘Little Big Dreams’ which explores dreams, love and family in a Vietnamese-Teo Chew household, as part of her 2023 PYT residency.

Header image credit: Eisha Yawarish