Rollercoaster is a not-for-profit ensemble of trained actors with intellectual disabilities from a wide range of backgrounds. We formed as a company to create ongoing opportunities for actors with disabilities in Melbourne.
Artistic Director Sarah Sutherland
Associate Director Carolyn Bock
Company Manager Kate Kahn
Creative Facilitator Maddie Nunn
Musician/Facilitator Tim Knowles
Guest Director (Film) Rory Kelly
Past co - director/Consultant Jess Huon
David completed Ignition theatre Training (2005, NMIT), VCAL Arts and Multimedia (2007, Swinburne TAFE) followed by a Diploma of Theatre Arts (2009, Swinburne TAFE).
Following completion of his Diploma course, David has been regularly employed as a stilt walker and balloon artist at Community Events. In 2011 David completed a two year Internship at Red Stitch Actors Theatre, he was ASM for their productions of “The City” and “The Laramie Project Ten Years Later,” returning as ASM when this production was remounted at the Fairfax Studio, Melbourne Arts Centre in 2012. David is a founding member of Rollercoaster Theatre, is a volunteer with FOG Theatre, is a member of RAG Theatre and Dream Theatre. David also volunteers with DMA (Disability Media Australia) as a Camera Operator and Floor Manager. In 2013 he was a member of the cast of “Casa Del Crip,” a pilot sit com about people with disabilities. He was honored to be selected for a Professional Development opportunity at the Unlimited UK Arts Festival in London in 2012. David is employed as an Usher at The Melbourne Arts Centre.
Shea has a long performance history, beginning when she was just 10 years old. It’s just what she loves. Her most recent performance was in Monster Pies, a feature movie directed by Lee Galea. She has completed a number of short video/commercial projects with the Department of Health & Community Services, produced by Suitcase Murphy, and performed in the Big Idea, a video project directed by Sarah Barton and screened at Signal Theatre. Shea hosts the Club Wild Dance Parties at Arts House @ North Melbourne Town Hall and is also a Committee member of Freeza. She attended Ignition Theatre at NMIT and was mentored by Leesa Nash, learning stage & lighting and was a member of Family Dog Theatre for many years, performing at suburban festivals. Shea is a member of emotion21 dance group and Rollercoaster Theatre, where she learns as much about acting and dance as she can.
Michael graduated from Ignition Theatre training (NMIT) in 2005 and is an original member of Rollercoaster Theatre. He now works extensively in theatre with companies including FOG, DVA, and Rawcus and has performed in Tall Words (DVA 2010), Small Odysseys (Rawcus 2011), Cumulus Nimbus (FOG 2011), realeyes (Rollercoaster 2011), The Noah’s (Rollercoaster 2013) and Shine a Light (FOG 2013). He is currently developing a new work, Catalogue (Rawcus 2015) and was selected as one of only 9 performers from all over Australia to be part of Weave movement Theatres inclusive workshops with Caroline Bowditch (2014). His short film credits include Rodney (dir. Andrew Coyle) and Wake (VCA).
India has been dancing and performing for many years, giving her an opportunity to perform both nationally and internationally. As a member of e.motion21 performance dance company, India was invited to travel to Cape Town, South Africa in 2009 to be part of the opening and closing ceremonies for the World Down Syndrome Conference (WDC). In 2012 India was again asked to be a member of the company travelling to Chennia, India to be part of WDC.
India has appeared in a number of promotional videos as well as a feature length Documentary 'Enter from the Wings’ which captured the dance company’s preparation, journey and performance in Cape Town.
India appeared as an extra in Summer High Heights with Chris Lilly.
Ryan describes himself as a physical performer. Ryan hopes to be able to perform overseas both in mainstream and disability theatre and one day be able to go on tour and take his own show about his life experiences on Autism to a wider audience. Ryan has performed extensively with Rawcus Theatre Company, Weave Movement Theatre, Family Dog Circus, Platform Youth Theatre Company, Ignition Theatre and Chamber Made Opera.
Erin studied with Ignition Theatre Training at NMIT in 2002-03, performing in The Lounge and It Was Something That Happened the Day Before. She is a founding member of Rollercoaster Theatre and has performed in Gawk (2006), Real Eyes (2011), Born as a Frog and The Noahs (2013). She acted in a short film, Lost in Confusion (2011) for Grand Media. Erin worked at Club Wild and sang as part of the group ‘Wild Divas’, writing a song about her feelings towards the word 'disability' and how people are treated. The song is called Differently. Erin is also a member of the Laverton Community Choir.
Sarah Sutherland completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in psychology and literature (University of Melbourne) before studying acting at the National Theatre Drama School. In 2007, Sarah completed her Masters (RMIT) in integrated drama and therapeutic methods. Sarah is an ensemble member of Red Stitch Actors Theatre, and has worked extensively as an actor in theatre, film and television. Acting credits include Red Sky Morning,The Realistic Jones and Desert 6.29 pm for Red Stitch, Dead Man’s Cell Phone and The Water Carriers for MTC, and Angry Boys for ABC, BBC, HBO.
Since graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts, Carolyn’s diverse career has encompassed dance, theatre, television and film. In theatre, she has worked with the MTC, Playbox, La Mama, Stork Theatre, and on a myriad of independent productions. Recent credits include Penelopiad by Margaret Attwood for The Stork Theatre and The Girls In Grey co –written and produced with Helen Hopkins for their company The Shift Theatre, which they created in 2009. Recent TV includes, Dr Blake Mysteries, INXS:The untold Story, Winners and Losers, Neighbours and City Homicide. With numerous film credits, Carolyn also works with children and youth devising dance- theatre experiences.
Madelaine Nunn is a Melbourne-based actor, writer and theatre maker, graduating from the VCA in 2015 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Theatre Practice). Madelaine is the 2018 recipient of the Rebel Wilson Theatremaker Scholarship and was the 2014 recipient of the Irene Mitchell Award for an outstanding actor. Since graduating Madelaine has been nominated for two Green Room Awards and cofounded the female led theatre company, Three Birds Theatre. Madelaine has written for, and performed in many theatre festivals including, Poppy Seed Theatre Festival, CRACK, Metanoia, the Adelaide Fringe, Melbourne Fringe and has toured multiple times with Regional Arts Victoria.
Creative Facilitator - Music
Tim Knowles is a Melbourne based singer/songwriter, musician and professional actor. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in audio engineering with a specialty in post-production audio for film.
With a career spanning two decades, Tim has performed on stage and screen to audiences in countries all over the world, including the UK, Spain, Greece, Egypt and many others. In 2016, he was a finalist on channel 7’s The X Factor Australia and has several other television and film credits to his name.
Tim has been working as a support facilitator and audio specialist with Rollercoaster Theatre since July 2016. His roles have included writing and performing music, engineering stage plays, and working with the ensemble in writing, acting, and performing workshops.
Cameron delights in performing. He studied Ignition Theatre Training at NMIT and is a founding member of Rollercoaster Theatre. He has also worked with Just Us (Melbourne), Break of Day Players (Warrnambool), and the Awakenings Festival (Horsham). Cameron specialises in mime and has twice performed solo at L'Arche Fundraising Dinners. He was one of three actors in 'Public Spaces Private Places' performed at Memo and directed by David Baker. For Rollercoaster Theatre, Cameron has performed in Big Life, Real Eyes, The Noahs, For the Love of Pina, and Fish.
Andrew Tresidder graduated from Live Production, Theatre and Events (Ignition Theatre Training, NMIT). He has also completed a mentorship with the Darebin City Council’s Kite Festival as a member of the Event Management Team and completed a Stage Management Mentorship for the Ignition 2008 Major Performance. In 2009 Andrew joined Family Dog Circus to train and be mentored as a Performing Facilitator. He joined Rollercoaster Theatre company in 2009 and is loving every minute of it.
Melissa graduated from Ignition Theatre Training (NMIT) in 2007. She joined Fog Theatre in 2008 and has performed in Forest of the Gongs (2010) and Cumulus Nimbus (2011). As a member of Rollercoaster Theatre (2010) she has performed in Realeyes (2011), The Noahs (2013), For the love of Pina (2015), and Fish (2017) at the Melba Spiegeltent. Melissa has studied rhythmic gymnastics (Australian Champion Special Olympics), voice, piano and dance. Currently she is a dance member of e.motion 21 and travelled to India and performed at the World Downs Syndrome Conference in Chennai, the Australian Embassy in New Delhi and at the Taj Mahal (2015). “When I perform on stage inside of me is like a star and my heart comes out”.
Jarrod is the Co-Founder and CEO of Kinfolk Enterprise, a social enterprise that operates hospitality businesses that create more inclusive communities.
Kinfolk distributes 100% of its surplus to Australian charities according to customer nominations. Embedded in the operation of Kinfolk is an inclusive training program for volunteers that creates opportunities for people marginalized in the community to gain training, build their confidence and build a social network.
Many volunteers face barriers to employment which can include transitioning from prison; people with learning disabilities; mental health challenges and those who have experienced long-term unemployment or who have never been employed before. Kinfolk is unique as a social enterprise as it has operated in a self-sufficient manner for a large part of its existence. Jarrod is inspired to help Rollercoaster develop self-sufficient income streams to build resilience in the organization for the future.
Emily is Head of Marketing and Communications at the Wheeler Centre. Prior to this, she was Head of Marketing and Communications for Melbourne’s pre-eminent independent bookseller, Readings, since 2005.Emily has broad marketing and communications experience in arts and cultural organisations in Melbourne including Mollison Communications, Australian Film Institute (AFI), Playbox Theatre – where she managed the launch and transition to Malthouse Theatre - and in an arts marketing agency in London where she managed the marketing for the opening of a new Salvador Dali Gallery in County Hall. Emily was on the Committee of Management for La Mama Theatre in Carlton from 2010-2013 and Back to Back Theatre in 1997 - 1998.
Krissy’s mission is to bring capital choice to specialist markets, providing clients with alternative sources for acquiring business-critical assets that underpin growth and improve balance sheet efficiency.Working in partnership with all her clients, Krissy has more than 20 years’ experience in financial management, analysis and consulting in large multinational organisations.She is tenacious about exploring all available options to create the right capital solution for each client and the long-term health of their business. She strongly believes in building capital solutions that consider all of an organisations financial requirements, optimising resources for sustainable growth and development.
Fiona is an actor and producer based in Melbourne, she is a graduate of the full-time programme at 16th Street Actors Studio.
Fiona completed a BSC in Psychology at the University of Edinburgh in 1996 after which she started her first career in the Fashion Merchandising. Over 20 years in the industry Fiona gained ten years of leadership experience, delivered profit against large budgets, managed large teams, reported strategically to board level and travelled and lived in many places around the world.
Fiona has also previously held the treasurer position for two years at Kindred Clubhouse Pty a mental health NFP based in Frankston, Vic.
My daughter, Shea who is 34 years old and was born with Downs syndrome, has been an ensemble member with Rollercoaster Theatre for approximately 7 years. I’ve worked most of my early years within the airline industry, a Flight Attendant with Ansett Airlines followed by 18 years managing the Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge at Melbourne Airport.In 2000 I was employed as an Integration Aide at Oak Park Primary School where I felt I could bring my knowledge to the position, and put in practice what I’d learnt over the 14 years supporting and advocating for my daughter. Shea has taught me so much with regard to the inclusion and acceptance of those who may be marginalised. In 2006, I started working in the school office, where I am currently employed as the Office Manager.
Jacinta Parsons is co-host of the Breakfast Program on ABC Radio Melbourne and is also a writer and public speaker. After a decade working at community radio station 3RRR, Jacinta began working at the ABC in 2015 as Music Director for Local Radio and has held roles across both programming and content creation. Jacinta has also been involved throughout her working life with community arts and music organisations and has a passion for ensuring the growth, strength and diversity of arts and culture.Jacinta is an ambassador for Crohns and Colitis Association Australia and in that role advocates for people living with chronic illness and IBD.