News & Media


08 October 2020


Theatre Network Australia is today announcing the second cohort of the Victorian Independent Producers Initiative (VIPI)’s Producers Mentorship Program: Kuichiang “Kush” Tut Kuiy, Eliki (Alec) Reade, Takashi Takiguchi, Eva Sifis, Steve Mayhew, Tegan Nash, Lana Nguyen and Ade Djajamihardja.

These eight independent producers, based in both metro Melbourne and regional Victoria, work across the performing arts, including dance, hybrid and experimental live arts and comedy. They will participate in a 12-month independent producers lab. Some of the artists, collectives and communities who will be supported by these independent producers include Japanese-Australian choreographer, Yumi Umiumare; the New Wayfinders collective; and By Accident, a business that supports artists with Acquired Brain Injury.

A full list of the bios of the producers can be found below. The third and final round of the VIPI Producers Mentorship Program will open in early 2021.

Open to independent producers across Victoria, the VIPI Producers Mentorship Program aims to develop the skills of underrepresented independent producers, with a particular focus on First Peoples, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse people, people of colour, Deaf and Disabled people and people based regionally.

Independent producers in the Producers Mentorship Program engage in monthly group learning sessions to explore new models of independent producing. In addition, they also work in a self-directed way to support the artists in their portfolio. The producers also receive one-on-one mentorship, access, mental health and artist fees.

The Victorian Independent Producers Initiative (VIPI) supports independent producers, and through them, independent artists and companies in the performing arts, based in Victoria. This initiative has been designed in consultation with the Victorian independent performing arts sector, specifically independent producers, with round two reformatted directly in response to COVID-19.

Quote attributable to Minister for Creative Industries, Danny Pearson

“Independent producers have always played a vital role in the performing arts scene and in the careers of artists and collectives and they will be crucial in our creative recovery. Through the Victorian Independent Producers Initiative, the Victorian Government is proud to support the next generation of independent producers to build their skills and networks. This initiative isn’t just about fostering more indie producers, it’s also about bringing new perspectives and voices into our performing arts sector. I wish the latest mentees all the best in the year ahead, and beyond.”  

Quote attributable to VIPI Program Producer, Rani Pramesti  

“When the COVID-19 shut downs began to deeply impact the performing arts sector, Theatre Network Australia took the time to listen to how this was being felt specifically by independent producers. The result is the independent producers lab model, where we support diverse independent producers to engage with one another. This cohort are reimagining the contribution that independent producers can make in addressing the multiple crises of colonialism, climate change and capitalism and how they manifest in the performing arts.” 

VIPI is an initiative of the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria, delivered in partnership with Theatre Network Australia.


Kuichiang “Kush” Tut Kuiy

Kush is a second generation Australian of South-Sudanese heritage. She brings her lived experience of suburban life to her producing practice, as a lifetime resident of the South-East of Melbourne- one of Australia’s most diverse, and fastest growing regions. 

Eliki (Alec) Reade

Eliki is a person of kailoma-Fijian heritage and a settler, who seeks to interrogate their positionality on this vast and complex continent. Eliki is an emerging producer, artist, and community arts facilitator, who is invested in representations of autonomy within the Oceanic community. This includes many forms of storytelling and the ways it is creatively embodied, engaging with work that centres the practice as a form of liberation, analysis and connection, whilst prioritising cultural exchange. As part of Eliki’s practice, they co-facilitate New Wayfinders.

Takashi Takiguchi

Takashi Takiguchi is an independent Creative Producer and an artist of Japanese heritage based in Naarm (Melbourne).  Following a career as a social worker, he founded ImPermanence Productions in 2014. Takashi has an interest in working with varied ensembles of performers and non-performers who have a diverse skill set and lived experience, come from diverse backgrounds, ages, body types and varying levels of training.  Major projects that he has produced/co-produced include ButohOUT! Festival (Melbourne 2017-2020) with the Japanese-Australian Butoh dancer and choreographer Yumi Umiumare; The Embodied Landscape (Rainbow, Regional Victoria 2018) with the Indonesian-based dancer, choreographer, Agung Gunanwan; and MAP Festivals (Rainbow 2018, Brunswick 2019) with the Melbourne based dancer and visual artist, Tony Yap.

Eva Sifis

Eva’s practice is spread over many years in sporadic periods over varying industries. There have been injuries and illnesses, acquired disability, extended recovery times, life in different countries and cities, experience of self-doubt and, ultimately, questioning the validity of my ownership of the label ‘artist’. Finally, Eva lands here with a desire to explore how circumstances have affected other artists with Acquired Brain Injury. Eva also established a training business, By Accident- bringing peers with Acquired Brain Injury together through facilitated discussions, sharing how to build A New You after injury.

Steve Mayhew

Steve is passionate about supporting artists, venues and festivals who have a diverse and contemporary (eg: relational, experimental, installation, sound and dance) approach to making, curating and programming. He works strategically, creatively and bravely in the production, curation and presentation of successful contemporary cultural projects that understand the locality and multidisciplinary contexts of the place and region he works from, an approach that speaks of and advocates contemporary regionality. Steve is investigating with regional artists how this approach holds coherency and presents alternatives to current venue and festival programmers, local government community & cultural development and delivery teams, in regional Victoria and Australia now during and post COVID19.

Ade Djajamihardja

Diversity and inclusion are at the core of Ade’s purpose, identity and activity. Ade strives for both integrity of product and integrity of process. As a survivor of a near fatal stroke, Ade has reflected, assessed, analysed and scrutinized the opportunities he has been afforded. Ade’s goal is to progressively evolve the attitudes of the mainstream with Disabled and non-disabled performers working alongside each other. He does this in the most holistic inclusive way possible, respecting people’s access requirements and wellbeing whilst providing cultural safety. Ade also loves to use humour where he can. After all, it is the ultimate universal connector.

Tegan Nash

Tegan’s producing practice traverses both dance and the visual arts across regional and metropolitan communities. It is unique, as it is informed by her work as an independent artist, teacher, arts manager, and producer; in a range of contexts including small to medium arts organisations, regional councils and companies, and in direct partnership with independent artists. Currently situated in regional Victoria, Tegan is striving to develop a practice that is responsive to the particular needs of artists working in these areas and which acts to both serve and challenge the interests of audiences living in these communities. She is passionately focused on advocating for an inclusive and diverse arts sector, developing community and sector opportunities to encourage this shift. 

Lana Nguyen

Lana Nguyen is a producer, curator and community arts worker interested in site-specific, experimental, context-driven work. Interested in the space where community and contemporary practice align, she looks to create work that drives conversation, complex thought and connection. She works by listening, asking questions and through collaboration with others. 

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