The APATA Podcast connects teachers, students and industry practitioners training, working and delivering performance across all disciplines of the performing arts - dance, music, circus, technical, design, wordsmiths, musical theatre, arts managers, directors, theatre, comedy, specialists and everything in between.
Enjoy our conversations with industry leaders and thought provoking guests as they share their stories, journeys and lessons.
Instagram & Facebook: @apatamedia
The Pride of Polynesia - Heimana Tahiata
Meet Heimana Tahiata.
Co-Founder and Co-Director of Heilani Polynesian School of Arts and Heilani Productions.
From travelling the globe with Polynesian performance groups, Heimana Tahiata with his wife and fellow directors Leilani Tahiata and Fati & Waiana Tagata hhave spent the past eleven years bringing a touch of home to the Maori and Pacifika communities around Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
the Heilani Polynesian School of Arts draws from the combined heritage and knowledge of their seasoned directors making them well versed to teach classes in Maori, Samoan, The Cook Islands and Tongan, as well as Tahitian and Hawaiian performance.
The launch of their new Heilani website "where you will be able to join us from anywhere in the world for Pacific Dance, Fitness, Music, Arts/Crafts, Costume Making, etc!" adds a new dimension to their business with cultural dance lessons, breakdowns and new content added weekly, discussion forums and more, this is your chance to find out about your own Pacific heritage or learn something new!
Heimana, grew up surrounded by culture and the performing arts. His mother was a member of the showband, 'The Maori Volcanics' and his father, one of Tahiti's best dancers. It wasn't until looking back at his life globetrotting with his parents surrounded by Polynesian performers and entertainers that he realised the incredible impact these showfolk had on him. He learnt by example how to be a professional performer and how your connection to culture can create a life in the arts. "That is what I want arts people to know. For us, what we do is more than just an artform. It goes so much deeper because you're talking about a people and a culture not just a dance. People can learn a modern dance and have no connect. With our people and with our artforms there is a connection because that art is actually a part of who we are and that is just as important as the artform and that's the difference and what makes us different from others!"
Connecting Education to Industry
Meet Richard Fabb
· Creative Director of LiveLab, the commercial production arm of Griffith Film School, Griffith University, Brisbane.
· BAFTA and Royal Television Society award-winning producer.
· Richard has produced a range of broadcast programs for ITN, Channel 4, CNN, RTE, ABC, SBS, Channel Seven, Channel Ten and The Comedy Channel.
· Graduated with an Honours Degree in Drama, specialising in Film & Television from the University of Bristol.
Creative Director of Livelab & Senior Lecturer at Griffith Film School. The BAFTA and Royal Television Society award-winning producer speaks with Jason Raft, from JLX Productions and Iceworks Design, about his journey into the world of Film and Television.
From the early inspiration of having 'The Omen' filmed in his hometown, to using his 26 years of broadcast experience to bring practical, industry-driven education to his students in Australia's only university-based, commercial, production studio - LiveLab.
Richard shares his schooling and pathway into Broadcast Journalism and beyond, his mentors and teachers along the way and how his own experiences forged his teaching philosophy.
What does it take for students to make it in today's industry during this time of disruption? What does industry want? And how building a network and making connections to industry while you are in school can make all the difference when it comes to starting your career.
All From the Heart
Meet Jonny Ng
• Principal Second Violin and Education Manager, Camerata - Queensland's Chamber Orchestra
• Pianist in Ensemble Entourage for Musica Viva In Schools
• Upper strings and piano teacher at St Margaret's Anglican Girls School
• Tutor for the Queensland Youth Orchestra
• Co-Founder, Music Lab Education Studio
• Music Director, Hong Kong Pops Orchestra
• Guest Conductor, Hong Kong Saxophone Ensemble & Polytechnic University Orchestra
• Artistic Director, Hong Kong Festival Orchestra.
Jonny Ng's passion for music began when he was chosen for his school's strings program and from there he was hooked. Learning violin, viola and piano, Jonny would go on to play with the Queensland and Australian Youth Orchestras and, after gaining a Pharmacy degree on the way to medical school, music took over and thank goodness for us and Camerata - Queensland's Chamber Orchestra. Speaking with Angela Loh, Camerata's Managing Producer, Jonny takes us through his musical journey from those early days of inspiration to his current experience as an educator and professional artist.
"Thinking back on those early years, music really was my first love and it grew into a true passion of mine...I vividly remember my 1st year in Queensland Youth Orchestra, when I was fifteen, and that whole first year was filled with the kind of goose-bumps or spine tingles you get when you listen to or play music. And that really had a huge impact on me."
With music being the driving force of Jonny's passion for education he finds that passion resonating with his fellow Camerata artists, who have almost 300 years of teaching experience between them. Being able to take that experience to regional towns and communities who do not have that resource is a special part of Jonny's work. "At Camerata we're committed to furthering the opportunities for music students & teachers throughout Queensland with a real focus on the communities that we visit through our annual touring program."
Jonny has a light in him that you'll hear in his voice and as a teacher and musician that light shines through. He believes in the value of educators, especially those in the performing arts. "Sometimes I think the biggest challenge we face as teachers is the value that society puts on what we do. As you know in a past life I used to be a pharmacist, so scientific evidence is really important to me. Now there's almost 3 decades of research into the massive benefits of learning a musical instrument and brain development...I find music teachers really struggle with schools and parents believing that music is simply just a leisure activity ...but it isn't, it simply isn't...It's a beautiful art form in itself and it gives us the ability to connect with people, it gives us greater empathy and sensitivity to emotions and it unleashes creativity."
You've Got This!
As a professional performer in the Music Theatre industry, Will has been on stage and in the rehearsal room for 20 years working the national and international touring circuit on productions including - A Chorus Line, West Side Story, The King and I, The Lion King, Aladdin and In The Heights.
After an incredible career there came a point when things needed to change. "Living out of a suitcase and chopping and changing, missing birthdays and weddings etc, this isn't an easy road and I was aware of that. After 20 years of being in the business I realised that I was not that person anymore."
Transitioning to Psychology and integrating his own experiences in performing arts, Will taps into the performer psyche and empathises on a whole other level. "The lived experience of being a performer is so valuable and my own experience with mental health has armoured me for what it is I do today."
Will has developed a range of mental health services that target the needs of Australian performers. One of which is the Teachers Mental Health Tool Kit. With so many teachers being the sounding board for their students it helps to give them strategies and language to do the best by themselves and their students. "It goes back to how I wish teachers had understood me while I was going through my professional development. I had a lot of battles."
"You won't always have an applause or someone telling you're doing a fantastic job and patting you on the back. Sometimes you just have to do it for yourself."
Meet Francis Italiano, Founder and Co-Artistic Director of West Australia's Sensorium Theatre.
Francis was always being taken to a show of some sort by his mum, but it was a switched-on English teacher who introduced 'Frankie' to literature, theatre and poetry turning him into an admitted high school drama dag. Frankie would tell his teacher Val years later, that the stone she cast in his life had rippled beyond himself and into the work he now does with Sensorium.
With a background in community cultural development in the Arts, Frankie is used to 'presenting theatre to people who might not have encountered it before'.
When serendipity stepped in to inspire Frankie and Co-Artistic Director of Sensorium, wife Michelle Hovane, set off on a journey that has led them to creating Australia's leading multi-sensory theatre for children with disabilities.
'There is an impulse...to share stories that is integral to [the] development of humankind and the continuation of cultures'.
Michelle and Francis are dedicated to bringing the thrill of live performance to special needs and inclusive audiences and subsequently their parents, teachers, and carers through the artform of immersive, interactive and participatory theatre.
Winners of the APATA 2020 Social Change Maker Award and the Australian Access Award for Best Not-for-Profit/Community Digital App, Sensorium was fortunate to secure organisational funding well before COVID-19 and as such they may forge ahead with projects addressing the change in delivery of their intimate work and further develop their online presence while they wait for a return to touring next year.
'I'm grateful that we [have been] able to forge our way into the cultural landscape ... the fact that we've kind of stuck to our guns and are now at a point where people not only accept what we do but support it and encourage it and we're getting kids into theatre who hadn't accessed that before... that's great!...it's lucky in life to be doing what we love doing.'
Upping the Game
Meet Sally Andrew.
Director of Radiance Academy Toowoomba, our 2020 APATA Performing Arts Private Studio of the Year award winner. Sally, a mother of 3, has raised a family and built a thriving business and community of fun and learning through her passion for dance.
From an early age there was only one thing Sally wanted to be...a professional ballerina. Throwing herself into ballet from the age of 4, Sally soon became an avid consumer of everything dance. Whatever class was running, she was there.
When the ballet career she had dreamt of didn't come to fruition Sally left dance and entered the business world, but the call to dance was always there. She couldn't leave ballet. It was in her blood. "I just went a different path...when I was a little girl I wanted to 'be' the ballerina. I didn't realise how much fun it would be helping to create little ballerinas...it's pretty amazing."
Running an inclusive and family-focused studio based on excellence Sally believes in finding balance and value among the different syllabus on offer for Australian dancers. With dancers ranging in age from 18 months to 80+, Sally and the Radiance Team champion their ethos that dance is for everyone.
"I think I tumbled...into teaching and tumbled into where I am now. It wasn't in my big picture, but I'm absolutely loving it. I've tumbled into my destiny."