2023 Participants

Sofia Abbey

Sofia Abbey is an award-winning playwright and theatre-maker based in Gympie, Queensland. Her emerging talent was first recognised through the Queensland Theatre Young Playwrights Award. Her more recent work has featured in the La Boite Theatre’s Assembly program, the Anywhere Theatre Festival and YIPA – a gala showcasing young artists and performers. Her play Lizard has toured into Queensland secondary schools throughout 2022/2023. Sofia has completed a Bachelor of Creative Industries with Honours in playwrighting. She is a creative producer and co-chair of Perseverance Street Theatre Company.

Maxene Cooper

Maxene Cooper has been involved with theatre for many years and has experience as an actor, director, stage manager, set designer and playwright. As a secondary drama teacher, she wrote plays for her classes to perform and penned a school musical appropriate for the cohort and their level of experience. She wrote a one act play, Body Corporate, which was performed at Brisbane Arts Theatre, and has written several scripts for variety performances on the Sunshine Coast.

Now residing in Monto, Central Queensland, Maxene instigated the formation of Monto Performing Arts, and she wrote the script for their first production in 2022, Monto Christmas Spectacular. Maxene also runs creative writing workshops and acting workshops to share skills with the residents of Monto. Maxene is passionate about exploring the stories of strong, progressive women from the past, and inspirational women of today and developing these into compelling theatre.

Jessica Fallico

Jessica is an interdisciplinary artist working across many creative fields. She has worked as a Director with shows on the Riverside Theatre Main-stage and winning a Sydney Broadway World Award for Best Direction of a Musical for Kinky Boots, 2022. Jessica’s writing has seen her work published in countless magazines and anthologies both nationally and internationally. As a dramaturg she has worked on the cabaret-comedy Hornsby’s Golden Girl and the new Australian musical Aaliyah. Jessica was selected for National Theatre of Parramatta’s Page to Stage program with acclaimed playwright Donna Abela, in which she developed an adaptation of the YA novel Bro, by Helen Chebatte (published by Hardie Grant Egmont) for the stage. Her animated short film, A Baker’s Sweet Tale (co-write, Kay Bell) reached the semi-finals in ScreenCraft’s Family Screenplay competition, USA.

Jasmine Story

Jasmine is an emerging performer and writer who has collaborated in numerous local theatre pieces in Mparntwe/Alice Springs, and participated in Zen Zen Zo’s Stomping Ground workshop in Meanjin/Brisbane in 2022 & 2023. Jasmine is currently developing her own writing for theatre, and previewed her work in development ‘Claypans & Chill’ at Thorn & Thistle in the Desert Festival 2022. Jasmine also performed in Betty Sweetlove’s debut performance of ‘The Nestmakers’ at the 2022 Desert Festival. In the 2019 Alice Springs Short Play Festival, Jasmine performed in Bianca Gonos’ work ‘Lady Haha’ and ‘The Sippers’. Jasmine is a counselling student at the Australian College of Applied Professions, whose interest in mental health infuses into her writing. She is interested in using theatre to craft transformation in people’s lives and stories through the emotive force of theatre. In 2023 Jasmine will be participating in the Zen Zen Zo Internship Program in physical theatre.

Stanley Benjamin

Stanley grew up on the East Coast of Australia, in Meanjin, Brisbane, loving ever moment he was making up and enacting stories with his friends. His creative tendencies and inquisitive nature ended up getting the better of him as he grew, seeing him veer off the course of his Bachelor of Education and develop his love of stories and his skills as a teller of them.

Studying a bachelor of Fine Arts (Creative Writing) at Queensland University of Technology, Stanley sought out disciplines that would challenge his ambition and growing ego as a writer. Applying for a position in QUT’s student run magazine, ScratchThat, he fell in with the podcast writing team, his first experience writing a script professionally and forging a relationship with the new medium and a new producer that would see a jump into writing for the stage in his future. He has published one short story, one collaborative short “interactive fiction” piece, co-produced a live performance installation and co-written the interactive play “Parasocial Parallax” which featured at the 2022 Anywhere Theatre Festival, and will be remounted at Pip Theatre in 2023.