Meet the exceptional humans who make Vulcana happen!
Celia White – Artistic Director
Celia is the Artistic Director of Vulcana. She has worked for over 30 years as a performer, maker and director of contemporary circus and performance, exploring the potential of meaning originating from the body and visual languages, from circus, dance, the visual arts and other inspirations. Her feminism informs all her work. She is passionate about getting people passionate about and involved in making performance that changes our view of some small corner of the world or each other or the act of performance.
She needs to remember to drink more water when running from the office to the workshop floor and back. She wishes she had more time for dancing.
Jo Pratt – General Manager
Jo is the General Manager of Vulcana and loves to fill her time facilitating the governance, strategic and operational viability aspects of the organisation. Jo has around ten years in the arts sector in senior management roles, most recently as the CEO / Artistic Director of the Brisbane Multicultural Arts Centre. In her spare time she loves working with musicians on their career planning and business development and also manages a couple of bands.
Passionate about travel and food, Jo is currently also learning to hula hoop!
Angela Willock – Workshops Coordinator
Angela is the workshops coordinator for both Vulcademy and Vulcana kids. Her background is in youth work and workshop facilitation so you may be unsure how she arrived in circus. The answer to this is simple. Whenever Angela sees an opportunity in life and she is unsure if it is the right one, she asks, what would 5 year old Angela do?
Angela is also a performance poet and co-directs Ruckus Slam, a company that produces slam and live art events across Brisbane and Melbourne. And in case you are wondering, 5 year old Angela thinks grown up Angela is pretty great.
Angie Spencer – Marketing Coordinator
Joining Vulcana as the former Executive Manager of Corporate Communication and Business Development at MDA, Angie held responsibility for the delivery of signature state events and arts partnerships with Queensland Theatre, BEMAC, Belloo Creative and La Boite Theatre Company. With a diverse and successful career in the Government and Not-for-profit sectors, Angie has led strategy and delivery of divergent external relations ranging from corporate communication, organisational marketing, traditional and social media to strategic partnership development and business diversification.
Having given up on ever mastering the harmonica, Angie is a committed bibliophile who loves the water and great coffee, and spends her spare time as a crazy sideline sports mum of two even crazier kids, and her gorgeous adopted deaf cattle dog, Mally.
Yonna Simon – See Saw Project Officer & Administrator
Yonna works at Vulcana as a Project Officer for See Saw Circus as well as being the Administration superstar. When she isn’t in the office, she’s working as a kids circus trainer in both our Vulcana Kids program, and on community outreach projects. Her favouritate circus skill is Acrobalance and she performs in a group called Juxtaposer. She’s also very excited to be in the Vulcana Ensemble!
During school holidays Yonna heads off to Sydney and Melbourne where she’s studying to be a Feldenkrais Practitioner- and is learning more fluidity in her movement. If you don’t know what Feldenkrais is – basically she rolls around on the ground. And one day – she hopes to get you to roll around on the ground too.
Vulcana is super proud to have an amazing bunch of trainers who teach on our workshop program, deliver our community work and perform at Vulcana events. Our trainers are incredibly skilled not only in circus, but also in their teaching and training techniques. Our trainers perform and teach all over the world … but we love it best when they’re in Brisbane!
Shannon Stuart – Chair
After joining the Vulcana community as a student and emerging performer in 2011, Shannon has become a strong advocate for circus as a powerful tool for personal growth, community development and social change, prompting her to join the management committee in 2015.
Shannon comes to the Vulcana management committee with a strong background in marketing, support work, and applied research. Over the years she has been involved in a number of community oriented projects, including street outreach with Rosies Youth Mission, as a High Risk Presentation Counsellor during ‘Schoolies Week’ and providing frontline care in the ‘Chill Out Zone’ – a government supported Drink Safe initiative in response to alcohol-related violence.
After completing her Bachelor of Psychological Science (Hons) in 2013, Shannon was employed as a Research Assistant by the University of Queensland on an ARC Linkage Grant Scheme in conjunction with the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, investigating blood donor motivation and retention.
Currently, Shannon is undertaking her PhD at the University of Queensland’s School of Psychology, investigating the impact of stereotypes on legal decision makers’ perceptions of same-sex intimate partner violence. During this time, she has also conducted and published research in the area of gendered violence and social/legal policy.
Roslyn (Roz) Howie – Treasurer
Roslyn has been a member of the Vulcana community since 2007 as a student and performer, and has also been involved in various amateur theatre projects around Brisbane as an actor and director. She believes firmly in the capacity of circus to enrich people from all walks of life by providing a safe, non-judgemental space in which they can develop and hone their skills of physicality and creativity; and identifies strongly with Vulcana’s philosophy of circus as a tool for empowering and strengthening both women and communities.
Roslyn brings a strong background in government administration, applied research and education to her role on the Vulcana board. She has experience in interpreting and applying government legislation, team leadership, and project management. Roslyn has BA (Humanities) and a graduate certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), and has worked as a teacher in Australia and overseas. She is currently completing a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Science through the University of Queensland with a view to continuing on to post-graduate research.
Roslyn has a particular interest in community engagement and social enterprise, having spent some time in South Africa and seen first-hand the benefits that can accrue to a community from a well-conducted social enterprise model. She is therefore particularly interested in the steps that Vulcana is taking in this direction and fully supportive of this model.
Nadia Okorn – Secretary
Nadia Jade Okorn’s career began with theatre and street performance training, before a gift for practical systems development saw her focus shift to hospitality venue management. She has lived in Brisbane, Melbourne and Glasgow, Scotland, and during this time has worked in a plethora of spaces including large-scale music venues, stadiums, fine dining restaurants, fast paced cafes and bars, and alternative culture venues and festivals. She has developed innovative training, stock control and accountability systems hospitality business of all styles. She is particularly adept consultant for venue openings. She has worked as a music booking agent for a number of years as well as a radio presenter. Select venues include O2 ABC (Glasgow), Woodford Folk Festival, Island Vibes Festival, 4ZZZfm, SubCity Radio (Glasgow), Maz Salt venues (Melbourne), Ric’s Bar, Lock’n’load. She is currently retained by Wilde Applause as a public relations specialist.
In the last 18 months, Nadia has developed her skills as a live theatre and cabaret producer and promoter, working in conjunction with Brisbane circus, theatre and performing arts companies and individuals to create an ever-growing number of eclectic live performances. She is currently producing shows for the West End Festival, and developing her own performance skills. She recently debuted her hula-hooping skills as part of the Vulcana Incubator program.
Ali Thompson – Member
Ali has had a career spanning 25 years in youth homelessness, housing and homelessness research and more recently she managed a consortium of agencies addressing young people’s disengagement from education. Ali has been a member of various committees since she began working in human services. She is passionate about supporting people who experience a whole range of disadvantage as well as the agencies that support them. She feels privileged to be supporting Vulcana on their committee.
Ali is currently the Executive Officer to the CEO at Tenants Queensland, a statewide tenant advice service. She soaks up all things about natural textiles and indigenous cultures and her favourite places to be are in the garden and at the beach.
Kate (Kati) Murphy – Member
Kate studied a Justice Studies degree at QUT (2001-05) majoring in Critical Criminology, completing subjects ranging from various aspects of law and governance to sociology and economics. She started volunteering with Vulcana Women’s Circus during this time (2003) and has experienced many aspects of the business, from being a consumer and taking part in community shows and mentorships for performers, through to learning about business planning and governance in her previous role as Secretary on the Vulcana Management Committee (2011-13).
Kate has been a strong advocate for disability and mental health going back to the days of her very first committee experiences at QUT, as the undergraduate student rep for the Law Faculty’s Teaching and Learning Committee (2003) and Academic Appeals Committee (2004).
Her other arts sector experience includes, character work for Santaland Brisbane (2005, 2006, 2007) and volunteer work backstage and front of house for other arts companies and shows.