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Meet the Comedy Stars Teaching At Collarts

Oct 04, 2021

At Collarts, we pride ourselves on our talented teachers who come equipped with industry experience and are forces in their respective fields.

Our Comedy team is no exception, with our expert lecturers holding credentials among all sectors of the entertainment landscape. From Netflix credits, globally-appraised stage productions, and sold out shows—we're putting the spotlight on their careers. Get to know them below.

2

Head of Comedy Andrea Powell is best known for her characterisations. She has performed 14 comedies for theatre, for which she has received three Comedy Awards and one Green Room Awards nomination.

Through her best-known character Ethel Chop, she’s published a book titled ‘Strain Your Gherkins’, performed on Triple J and Austereo’s nationwide network. When she isn’t performing as Ethel, Andrea’s TV credits includes The Panel, Kath and Kim, The Librarians, The Games, Whatever Happened To That Guy, Micaleff Tonight, Headliners, Judith Lucy’s Spiritual Journey, Judith Lucy Is All Woman, Please Like Me, Utopia, Get Krack'n, and The Edge of the Bush.

Before joining the Collarts team, Andrea taught comedy writing for television at RMIT University and mentored scriptwriting students at Melbourne’s Victorian College of the Arts.

8

Award-winning actress and writer, Maria Angelico made her mark in the film industry thanks to her lead role in Netflix series Sisters. She’s also played major roles in Stateless (starring and produced by Cate Blanchett), The InBestigators, ABC’s Retrograde, Other People’s Problems among countless Australian films and shows.

She’s made waves in the voiceover circuit in Australia and the U.S, including the Winter Queen in World of Warcraft, alongside audiobooks and animation. And on stage, Maria played the lead in the national tour and premiere of broadway comedy hit Bad Jews.

Her award winning web series, Movement debuted at Tribeca Film Festival. In 2019, Maria was the director’s attachment on the N.Y.C set of Awkwafina’s Nora from Queens—mentored by current Emmy nominated writer, director and producer Lucia Aniello.

7

Meet Laura Milke-Garner, an award-winning producer, mentor and active advocate for Australia’s art industry. For over 20 years, she has been producing events, shows and touring productions. A true champion of the arts, Laura established MILKE, designed to help artists produce and develop their careers, whilst providing one-on-one mentorship, workshops and online courses.

Since its inception in 2008, MILKE has creatively developed and produced work for Sydney Opera House, Brisbane Power House, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Venice Biennale and Edinburgh Fringe Festival to name a few. On top of her many accolades, Laura is also a proud Board Member of the Perth International Cabaret Festival and Golden Gibbo Award.

4

Holding a Masters in Design for Performance from the University of Melbourne, Bronwyn Pringle works as a Lighting Designer. She’s made her way around Australia while working for the likes of ArtPlay, NICA, Ilbijerri, MTC, Australian Theatre of the Deaf, Outback Theatre for Young People and more; working on large festivals, small developmental pieces and everything in between.

She co-founded Making Space to create opportunities for design-driven, immersive works that engage in the tactile qualities of live experience while prioritising a sustainable design. Her work also has a strong focus on art that engages with social justice.

In 2020, Brown received the Green Room Award for Technical Achievement and has previously received Green Room Awards for Alias Grace (Malthouse Theatre) and Letters from Animals (Here Theatre/SRWT) alongside two Melbourne Fringe Festival Design Collaboration awards.

9

A film and TV veteran, Nick Colla comes to Collarts with 25 years of industry experience, having started out as an actor at just eight years old. Since kickstarting his career, Nick has appeared in various comedy series including The Wizards of Aus, Ronny Chieng: International Student, The Slot and Rosehaven.

He’s worked extensively as a director and producer, with his projects screening at festivals including Clermont-Ferrand, Annecy, Austin, Flickerfest and St Kilda Film Festivals.

Nick’s projects include the AACTA nominated short film Rebooted (funded through the Screen Australia Skip Ahead initiative), ABC’s DisRupted project The Legend of Burnout Barry, which he co-created with director Isaac Elliott and writer Nicolette Minster.

3

Self-professed "nerd for all seasons" Ben Mckenzie comes with credentials in acting, comedy, writing and game design. He's spent the last decade writing and performing stand-up, sketch and improv comedy, while also hosting and producing podcasts—most notably Pratchat, currently in its fourth year running.

Though he’s been a voice actor and narrator for video, apps and games, he is best known for travelling through time and space with Jackie Woodburne in the BBC radio series he co-created, Night Terrace. As well as Night Terrace, his writing includes educational video scripts, articles on science and pop culture, the virtual reality videogame Table of Tales: The Crooked Crown (Tin Man Games), and dozens of live games, including Pop Up Playground’s hit bank heist puzzle room Small Time Criminals. As well as teaching at Collarts, Ben is also a workshop facilitator for 100 Story Building, a creative writing centre for young people based in Footscray.

5

For 17 years, Clare Bartholomew has been performing, writing and producing in Australia and globally. Having been a clown doctor in children's wards for 15 years, she's perfectly poised to teach clown masterclasses, assisting in the training and development of clown doctors nationally. In 2014, Clare completed a three-week intensive course in Barcelona with the company of 20 other international clown doctors.

Clare's talent is also seen on stage, with credits as a co-producer of cabaret/comedy act Die Roten Punkte–a Berlin indie pop punk duo that has been on 18 international tours since 2006. Her work has received seven Green Room Award nominations and winner of Best Cabaret. Clare’s latest venture with Bouffon Group We3 resulted in The Long Pigs, which was presented by the Sydney Festival in 2015.

1

You may recognise Alexandra Aldrich from guest roles in Preacher Season 4 (Frontier Productions) and Nine Network’s True Story Season 2.

Since she completed her Bachelor of Dramatic Art: Acting at NIDA in 2012, she’s gained credits in a host of Australian and international productions. From Louis Nowra’s Cosi to an Edinburgh Fringe Festival season of White Whale Theatre’s Macbeth Rearisen to the lead role of The Widow in Rainbow Man (45 Downstairs) and Casca in Julius Caesar (Edinburgh Fringe/Adelaide Fringe), her work has been internationally recognised, earning nominations for the Green Room Award’s Best Actress.

While completing her Bachelor of Creative Arts at the University of Melbourne, Alexandra co-founded the Melbourne University Shakespeare Company to bring together contemporary productions of Shakespeare, Children Classics and other plays. She currently performs in Macbeth at Shakespeare in the Vines for Essential Theatre.

6

Since kickstarting his entertainment career as a baby on TV show Prisoner, Declan Fay has cemented his name in Australian media. He comes with extensive experience as a Writer, Producer and Director, having written for Rove, Dirty Laundry Live, Problems, and You’re Skitting Me to name a few.

Well-versed in the radio world, Declan has worked at 3RRR’s Breakfasters as a co-host, podcast The Sweetest Plum as a host, alongside Triple J, and Triple M. You may have seen him on ABC’s evening program with Lindy Burns, or presenting Hawks TV on the Hawthorn Football Club website.

In 2015, Declan worked as series producer and head writer on the award-winning comedy Fancy Boy, and co-creator and co-writer on Ronny Chieng: International Student. He’s directed a number of successful stage shows, including Dave Thornton’s Different Kind of Normal, which sold out the Melbourne Comedy Festival and later toured to Edinburgh.

10

When he’s not teaching at Collarts, theatre director Stephen Nicolazzo is running Little Ones Theatre, an independent company which he founded in 2009, that’s focused on innovative queer theatre-making. Delivered by Nicolazzo and designers Eugyeene Teh, Katie Sfetkidis and Daniel Nixon, Little Ones Theatre produces bold, brash and energetic interpretations of queer classics that celebrate a highly theatrical aesthetic.

A member of the 2019 Lincoln Center Theater Director’s Lab (New York City), Stephen’s achievements span across 12 Green Room Awards and a Sydney Theatre Award. Having directed for Melbourne Theatre CompanyArts Centre Melbourne and Yirramboi Festival, his works have been critically acclaimed and sold out nationally.

If you want to check out his most recent work, Stephen directed the world premiere of Joel Bray’s dance work Considerable Sexual License for YIRRAMBOI Festival and Darebin Arts Speakeasy, which will tour to Brisbane Festival in association with La Boite Theatre.

Comedy Team

Greg Larsen is a multi-award-winning actor, writer, and director who has spent over ten years creating live stage shows, TV and online content. He boasts multiple industry awards under his belt; including the Australian Writer’s Guild Award for Fancy Boy as best sketch comedy, 2016 Director’s Choice Award in Melbourne International Comedy Festival for True Australian Patriots (alongside Anne Edmonds and Damien Power), and most recently, the Piece of Wood Award for his stand-up solo show, Useful Idiot.

Greg’s writing talents have seen him work on the acclaimed ABC comedy Get Krack!n and Ronny Chieng: International Student and The Project. He also recently wrote and performed in the COVID-19 inspired comedy At Home Alone Together and will soon be seen in the Stan Original series The Tourist. 

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