• regional

13 May 2021

Backed by the Victorian Government, a team of Ballarat artists are preparing to take to the stage for the world premiere of their play Coconut Woman as part of Melbourne’s Yirramboi festival.

Backed by the Victorian Government, a team of Ballarat artists are preparing to take to the stage for the world premiere of their play Coconut Woman as part of Melbourne’s Yirramboi festival.

Writer, director and producer Maryanne Sam, actors Deb Lowah Clarke and Tobi Sam Morris and musician Jayden Lillyst are among hundreds of Victorian-based artists whose work has been supported through the latest round of the VicArts Grants program.

Maryanne Sam received a $25,000 grant to present the show which explores and celebrates her Torres Strait Islander culture.

The play features comedy, drama and music to tell the story of a woman from the city whose work draws her to the Torres Strait Islands, the ancestral home of her late mother. There, a comedy of errors ensues as she navigates Ailan culture and her newfound Ailan family.

Coconut Woman one of almost 100 diverse creative projects to share in funding totaling more than $2.5 million for the independent artists and small organisations through Creative Victoria.

The latest recipients include artists working across the breadth of the creative industries, including theatre, dance, literature, visual art, community collaborations, works for children and more.

The program has also provided grants for the presentation of creative events including the upcoming Yarra Valley Writers Festival, support for a 12-month mentorship initiative for emerging artists with Disability and a program addressing gender diversity in the music industry through mentoring of girls and gender diverse youth.

Coconut Woman runs from 12-15 May at the Meat Market, North Melbourne as part of the Yirramboi First Nations arts festival, for tickets and more details go to yirramboi.com.au

See the full VicArts Grants recipient list below


Recipients - VicArts Grants grants and strategic partnerships

Abbotsford Convent Foundation, Abbotsford, $59,000

Development of Pivot, a nine-month program providing artists and small organisations with creative space and support at the Abbotsford Convent.

Arts Access Victoria on behalf of CB Mako, Sunshine, $19,000

Creative development of a non-fiction literary work.

Priyanka Ashraf, Pascoe Vale, $21,750

Creative development and publication of a collection of short stories and illustrations by migrant women of colour from across Victoria, by the Creative Co-operative.

Auspicious Arts Projects on behalf of Alisdair Macindoe, Fitzroy North, $15,000

Final development, rehearsal and premiere of REFERENCE MATERIAL, a dance work that explores the history of contemporary dance.

Auspicious Arts Projects on behalf of Anna Rodway, Yarraville, $20,000

Creative development of Garage Girls, a theatre work exploring the paths forged for women in industry in the 1920's with a focus on the story of Melbourne woman Alice Anderson, the trail-blazing founder of Australia’s first all-girl garage, by Three Birds Theatre and The Shift Theatre.

Auspicious Arts Projects on behalf of Aviva Endean, Brunswick East, $19,584

Creative development of a sound performance work that incorporates video and audience participation.

Auspicious Arts Projects on behalf of Catherine Ryan, Brunswick, $5,000

Creative development and presentation of A Perfect Day, a new performance by Catherine Ryan, mentored by Mish Grigor, in partnership with APHIDS.

Auspicious Arts Projects on behalf of Chelle Destefano, North Wonthaggi, $9,769

Creative development and presentation of a poetry, performance and textile work exploring the idea of safe spaces from the perspective of a Deaf person.

Auspicious Arts Projects on behalf of Ewen Soo, Heidelberg West, $9,982

Creative development of Omoon, an online participatory project that aims to document collective memories and experiences of COVID-19, by Youbi Lee and Yee Wen Soo.

Auspicious Arts Projects on behalf of Harley Mann, Malvern East, $17,712

Creative development of Invisible Lines, a physical theatre work by four Indigenous acrobats exploring what it means to be part of the oldest living culture and the unique bonds that connect Aboriginal people.

Auspicious Arts Projects on behalf of Heidi Everett, Eaglemont, $5,000

Creative development of a new theatre work about mental health and classical music.

Auspicious Arts Projects on behalf of Jennifer Ma, South Yarra, $19,646

Creative development and presentation of a dance work merging styles such as krump, contemporary dance, and hip-hop with spoken word.

Auspicious Arts Projects on behalf of Jo Lloyd, St Kilda East, $17,000

Final creative development of a new dance work.

Auspicious Arts Projects on behalf of Joel Bray, West Footscray, $31,000

Creative development and presentation of a new dance-theatre work.

Auspicious Arts Projects on behalf of Kate Fryer, Brunswick West, $29,400

Development of Looking Up, a new acrobatic aerial work that imagines a future where science, technology, and industry work together. Delivered by Dislocate in collaboration with the Royal Botanical Gardens Victoria.

Auspicious Arts Projects on behalf of Katerina Kokkinos-Kennedy, Richmond, $24,178

Creative development of an immersive and interactive performance exploring the topic of climate change in empowering and playful ways for young children, by Triage Live Art Collective.

Auspicious Arts Projects on behalf of Leah Vandenberg, Brunswick West, $19,976

Creative development of a series of online interactive music, art and dance play dates for children from refugee backgrounds living in Melbourne’s public housing towers and/or immigration detention.

Auspicious Arts Projects on behalf of Louise Marson, Clifton Hill, $11,183

Creation of new works for a solo exhibition at The Dax Centre.

Auspicious Arts Projects on behalf of Meegan May, Brunswick, $9,500

Production and release of Starship Gold Star, a queer sci-fi podcast following the adventures of the crew of an Australian starship after their home world is destroyed, to be written by Meegan May and Lauren Anderson and performed by a collective of Melbourne-based comedians and actors.

Auspicious Arts Projects on behalf of Mitchell Jones, Brunswick, $19,000

Development, rehearsal and documentation of a physical theatre work.

Auspicious Arts Projects on behalf of Moira Finucane, Southbank, $116,000

To support Phoenix State, a two-year program of creative projects that will involve more than 60 Victorian artists and partner with many local, national and international cultural organisations.

Auspicious Arts Projects on behalf of Nazaree Dickerson, Mernda, $19,569

Creative development and presentation of What Mothers Do, a play about three generations of women.

Auspicious Arts Projects on behalf of Rebecca Reid, Seddon, $40,000

Creative development of three projects for children to be delivered by All The Queens Men in 2021.

Auspicious Arts Projects on behalf of Siobhan McKenna, North Melbourne, $17,135

Creative development of a contemporary dance work exploring time.

Auspicious Arts Projects on behalf of YOUNG WOMENS MUSIC INCORPORATED, Alphington, $78,000

Support for a two-year mentoring program to encourage young women and gender diverse youth in high schools to play music and develop skills in bands.

Trace Balla, Castlemaine, $25,000

Creative development of a graphic novel about a fence coming down both literally and figuratively between neighbours.

Sofi Basseghi, Brunswick East, $12,000

Presentation of a multimedia video installation.

Shauntai Batzke, Laverton, $19,998

Creative development of a theatre work inspired by the life of the late Indigenous Australian Boxing Champion Wally 'Wait a While' Carr.

Nana Biluš Abaffy, Coburg, $19,000

Final development and presentation of a dance and live cinema project performed by four dancers.

BLINDSIDE, Melbourne, $59,350

Development and delivery of a 2021 program of activities including a range of exhibitions, events and education programs.

Born in a Taxi, Altona North, $14,374

Presentation of Front Yard Frolics, a theatre project that will present live, interactive performances in residential streets in Maidstone, Laverton and Brooklyn with accompanying online engagement activities.

Bureau of Works Pty Ltd on behalf of Jackson Castiglione, Northcote, $18,000

Creative development of One Night Only, a contemporary performance work, by Bureau of Works, Jackson Castiglione and Rawcus Theatre Company.

Andy Butler, Preston, $15,725

Creative development of a video and performance work, by Andy Butler and Diego Ramirez.

CAVES INC, Melbourne, $90,000

Delivery of the gallery's 2021-22 visual arts program, comprising a series of exhibitions and artist talks.

Centre for Projection Art Inc, Fitzroy, $36,000

To support a five-month residency program for 12 artists.

Lara Chamas, Armadale, $13,983

Creative development and presentation of an exhibition of sculptural works exploring faith, family and love and war in the Middle East.

Chester Creative, Launching Place, $20,000

Delivery of the Yarra Valley Writers Festival in 2021, including events for writers in the Yarra Valley and online.

City of Darebin, Preston, $29,040

Presentation of Talking Back, an art project by Darebin City Council in partnership with Multicultural Arts Victoria.

Nicholas Clarke, Cheltenham, $35,000  
To establish a trans-Tasman touring program where Victorian-made performances will be presented in New Zealand with Australian and New Zealand cast and crew, and New Zealand made works will be presented in Victoria with Victorian cast and crew.

Cluster Arts Pty Ltd on behalf of Spenser Inwood, Brunswick, $18,056

Creative development of a large-scale outdoor circus/physical theatre work, by A Good Catch.

Cordite Poetry Inc., Carlton, $60,000

Delivery over two years of the Cordite Poetry's activities, including eight online journal issues and 10 printed books.

Dancehouse on behalf of Victoria Chiu - Chiucox, Northcote, $16,013

Final development and presentation of Genetrix, a cross-cultural, multi-disciplinary dance work to be presented at Theatre Du Galpon, Geneva and Theatre Arsenic, Gindou France in 2021.


Dancehouse on behalf of Kevin Jeynes, Brunswick East, $20,000

Development and presentation of Now Pieces, a monthly event series that brings together dancers and artists across a range of disciplines to create improvised performances and to exchange ideas and inspiration, curated by Kevin Jeynes and Paea Leach, presented throughout 2021 at Dancehouse.


Joao Marco Deloie, Northcote, $6,500

Creative development and presentation of Aîkugûabeté, a publication and art exhibition that aims to decolonise representations of Brazil.

Djerriwarrh Community and Education Services on behalf of Felipe Cornejo, Kurunjang, $18,000

Development and presentation of a live streamed multi-artform event involving artists, youth performing groups and diverse community cultural groups including local First Nations and Pasifika communities, by The Melton Dream Big Artists Team.

Tara Leigh Dowler, Malvern, $6,290

Creative development of a new musical theatre work, by Tara Leigh Dowler, Kit Richards and Karissa Taylor.

Russell Dumas, North Melbourne, $19,000

Creative development of a dance work about change, repetition and transformation.

Sarah Catherine Firth, Brunswick East, $20,000

Creative development of illustrations for a new graphic novel.

Footscray Community Arts Centre on behalf of Daniel Seifu, Strathtulloh, $15,000

Creative development and presentation of The Spirit of Nile - East Africa, a concert and masterclass at Footscray Community Arts Centre featuring local musicians and traditional artists from the Ethiopian community in Victoria.

Forest Collective, Brighton East, $60,000

Creative development, presentation and documentation of a series of four chamber music experiences featuring a diverse range of works by premiere composers and sound artists from Australia and overseas.

Freeplay Inc, Melbourne, $19,500

Development and presentation of the Freeplay Independent Games Festival in 2021, including talks, exhibitions, public programs and events that showcase the works of independent game makers and artists.

Samuel Gaskin, Briar Hill, $39,000

Creative development and presentation of a cross cultural performance combining personal stories of Indigenous cultures from Aotearoa, New Zealand and Te Whēnua Moemoeā (Land of the Dreamtime), and Australia, by Samuel Gaskin, Candance Lorrae, Kristel Kickett, Piri Neho, Paula Barbee and Mahana Maihi-Taniora.

Victoria Hannan, Preston, $20,000

Creative development of Marshmallow, a fiction novel set in Melbourne that explores privilege, trauma and grief.

Miranda Hill, Fitzroy, $29,438

Presentation of Homophonic!, a concert of new classical music written by queer composers to be presented at five regional pride festivals around Victoria.

Luke Horton, Coburg, $15,600

Creative development of a fiction novel that follows a documentary filmmaker over a month-long period of solo parenting, exploring themes of masculinity, mental health, parenting and grief.

Reuben James, Malvern East, $12,990

Creative development and presentation of a cross-disciplinary work exploring the LGBTQIA+ community, by Variation Three.

Jolt Sonic Arts, Fairfield, $79,000

Delivery of two-years of the AMP program (Artists to the Mountain Peak), a multi-disciplinary artist mentoring program created to help artists with disabilities establish professional arts careers.

Karma Dance Inc, Footscray, $19,200

To support a four-week residency at Arts House focused on the creation of a new dance work

Jade Kennedy, Grovedale, $16,220
The creative development and presentation of an immersive and interactive VR experience, created and developed by Jade Kennedy with technical support and tutoring from Lee Nickless.

Kill Your Darlings Pty Ltd, Footscray, $17,526

Delivery of Kill Your Darling's 2021 program, including online and print publications, podcasts and events with debut authors.

La Mama Inc on behalf of Glenn Shea, Corio, $40,000

Presentation of An Indigenous Trilogy, an original play exploring issues facing young Indigenous people, family and racism, written and directed by Glenn Shea.

Genevieve Lacey, Brunswick, $19,500

Creative development of a creative work delivered through an app, podcast and broadcast platforms by Genevieve Lacey, Alexis Wright and a team of artists of different generations and cultural backgrounds.

Leon Leung, Melbourne, $10,980

Creative development and production of an online graphic novel, by Leon Leung.

Jessie Lloyd Music Pty Ltd, St Albans, $50,000

Creative development of an album of songs of the Torres Straits to preserve and promote folk songs, stories and histories.

Magic Lantern Studio, Fitzroy, $39,922

Creative development of Conan the Bacterium, a puppet show about life in extreme environments.

Tariro Mavondo, Brunswick, $12,192

Creative development of We Too, Roar, a work of music, sound art and spoken word poetry by spoken word artist Tariro Mavondo and trumpeter/composer Reuben Lewis.

Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio Ltd, North Melbourne, $36,193

Delivery of the Mess Recovery Residencies program which will commission 20 new works from Victorian electronic artists, with support from Multicultural Arts Victoria and Liquid Architecture.

Melbourne Jazz Co-operative, Bentleigh, $120,000

Development and delivery of a 2021-2022 program of concerts and performances.

Monash University, Caulfield East, $39,000

Research and development of GATHER, an exhibition celebrating the work of Koorie art practitioners by curator Kate ten Buuren.

Multicultural Arts Victoria Inc on behalf of Nebahat Erpolat, Brunswick, $19,900

Creative development and presentation of an interdisciplinary work challenging preconceptions of Middle Eastern women’s identity in contemporary multicultural Australia.

Phuong Ngo, Sunshine West, $20,000

Creative development of a series of paintings exploring issues of race, racism, othering, colonialism and questions of authorship and power.

Nyadol Nyuon, Lynbrook, $20,000

Creative development of a collection of essays on race, identity and belonging.

Sonia Orchard, Preston, $10,000

Creative development of a non-fiction book incorporating memoir, evolutionary science, anthropology and social commentary to investigate some of the dilemmas of modern-day womanhood.

Pacific Island Creative Arts Australia (PICAA) on behalf of Cinespace Incorporated, Ardeer, $6,000

Development of Smartphone Stories, a community arts project for Pasefika Youth in Brimbank.

Performing Lines, Redfern, $40,716

Delivery of HYPERLOCAL, a pilot project creating opportunities for independent performance-makers in collaboration with four Melbourne venues, The Substation, Darebin Speakeasy, Dancehouse and Abbotsford Convent.

Photo Australia Ltd., Richmond, $53,015

To support the New Photographers Program which will commission eight emerging photographers and artists to present work at PHOTO 2022.

Photo Australia, Richmond, $18,400
Creation of a body of studio portraits by Atong Atem, inspired by her 7-image series, To Be Real, created for the Immigration Museum, presented as an artist book as part of PHOTO 2021.

Play On Arts Ltd, Carlton North, $23,077

Creative development of a contemporary cross disciplinary work exploring culture and diversity through music and movement, in collaboration with Eric Avery and Ella Havelka.

Michael Prior, Northcote, $9,660

Development of a six month studio based project that will expand the artist's sculptural practice.

Chloe Powell, Northcote, $22,790

Development and presentation of Radiant Pavilion 2021, a program of exhibitions and events showcasing contemporary jewellery.

NUSRA LATIF QURESHI, Eltham, $15,165

Research, development and presentation of a solo exhibition comprising a new mixed media installation works and existing paintings, to be exhibited at Warrnambool Art Gallery.

Raspberry Ripple, Preston, $29,759

Presentation of That's Why the Lady Needs a Ramp, an original play exploring the reality, quirks, and misconceptions of living with disability, by Kate Hood and Raspberry Ripple.

RMIT on behalf of Nicola St John, Brunswick East, $14,503

To support a series of capacity building workshops and industry mentoring for 10 Victorian First Nations creatives in the design industry, culminating in an exhibition.

Briar Rolfe, Brunswick West, $17,800

Creative development of graphic novel Get Your Story Straight, a character-driven romantic comedy about a trans man and his friend.

Maryanne Sam, Sebastopol, $25,000

Presentation of a comedy drama performance Coconut Woman.

Shir Madness Melbourne Jewish Music Festival Inc, Melbourne, $25,000

To support the delivery of the Festival of Jewish Arts and Music (FOJAM)'s 2021 six-month program of online events.

Cyrus Tang, Vermont, $7,500

Creative development and presentation of Sky Orchestra, a multi-artform project exploring Chinese history and pop culture.

Aseel Tayah, Reservoir, $33,300

Creative development of a weekly online video series featuring an interactive art show that supports and connects culturally diverse families and service providers through information, activities, and interactive content, to be filmed in Arabic, English and Auslan.

The Listies, Southbank, $19,850

Creative development of Moosick, a comedy show for children and adults.

Ciara Elizabeth Thorburn, Prahran, $8,020

Creative development and a short season a one woman circus-theatre show.

un Projects, Collingwood, $35,000

Creative development and publication of un Magazine vol. 15, a biannual independent journal on local contemporary art with a focus on First Nations practice, guest edited by Steven Rhall.

Victoria University on behalf of Lyn Thorpe, Shepparton, $38,500

Creative development and presentation of a Fight for Survival, a cabaret developed with, for and about a community of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people from the northern suburbs of Melbourne.

Sarah Walker, North Geelong, $9,000

Creative development of The first time I thought I was dying, a collection of non-fiction essays.

Sam Wallman, Brunswick, $15,000

Creative development of a graphic novel.

Wild@heART Community Arts, North Melbourne, $39,000

Delivery of AMPLIFY, a year-long artistic development program for emerging songwriters who live with disability in metro Melbourne and regional Victoria.

Chelsea Wilson, Northcote, $19,500

Creative development of a new live show by Women of Soul, with accompanying online content and marketing materials.

wreckedAllprods, St Kilda, $13,248

Creative development of a musical theatre work exploring the queer community.