Management Committee

The Ausdance Queensland management committee members meet up every six weeks. They are responsible for the governance of Ausdance Queensland.

Chair - Renee Place
Vice Chair - Damien Cassidy
Treasurer - Lynne Masters
Secretary - Lisa McCready
Ordinary Members - Clarissa Rayward, Gail Hewton, Jordin Steele, Julie Chenery, Madalaine Nixon and Meg Cooper.


Management Committee Biographies

Renee Place is an Arts Advocate, Dance Educator and Dance Educational Consultant. Throughout her career, she has; taught in range of secondary and tertiary contexts, worked in a range of department positions and has been a consultant for a number of dance companies and independent artists across Australia.  Renee has been a writer for the Curriculum into the Classroom Dance resources, an annotator of the dance work samples for ACARA and is currently running the dance program at the Queensland Academies Creative Industries Campus.

Clarissa Rayward, is the Director of Brisbane Family Law Centre, a multidisciplinary practice where lawyers work alongside counsellors and financial planners to ensure that clients receive the holistic support they need at this challenging time. As a Divorce Lawyer, Clarissa specializes in helping separating families stay out of the Family Courts and stay friends as she believes
that divorce can be a positive end to a marriage. Over the past 14 years Clarissa has worked as a specialist family lawyer and in that time, has helped over 2,000 Australian families through their divorce. That experience has only reinforced her belief that traditional legal processes do little to help separating families find a positive future after divorce. Clarissa started an online education series ensuring separating families all over Australia can share in her knowledge on how to experience a dignified and positive divorce and has published a book Splitsville – How to separate, stay out of Court and stay friends. Clarissa is using her industry knowledge and skill to change the way Australian families experience divorce and separation. She is known as ‘The Happy Family Lawyer’ as she believes that your divorce can be something you can look back on with pride and shares her thoughts on how to have a ‘happy divorce’ on a blog called ‘The Happy Family Lawyer’. In 2016, Clarissa launched her new venture ‘Happy Lawyer, Happy Life’ in response to the growing numbers of lawyers and other professionals reaching out to her looking for ways of finding ‘happiness’ in their careers. Her podcast and book, both titled ‘Happy Lawyer Happy Life’, together with an online course and club, offer insights and resources for legal professionals seeking fulfilling careers and happiness both in law and in their life outside of the law.

Lisa McCready is the Deputy General Manager at Circa Contemporary Circus. She has been working in the industry for the past ten years after studying a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre & English Literature, a Certificate in Event Management and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Arts Management. Prior to Circa, Lisa worked as the Production Manager for Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, a freelance stage and project manager, and as the Project Coordinator for Black Swan State Theatre Company. Lisa currently sits on the Circa Board as a co-secretary, on the Circa governance sub-committee and was a director on the Blue Room Theatre Board in Perth from 2012-2014. Lisa brings a skill set of industry knowledge, grant experience, and a key understanding of governance and risk management to the Ausdance management committee.

Dr Jordin Steele currently works in arts and cultural strategy and policy design for Brisbane City Council. She has a strong performance background and is an experienced Independent Producer. Jordin is the director of Outcast Performing Arts and has a demonstrated history of working across multiple genres to create contemporary Australian work. Jordin’s holds a PhD from Queensland University of Technology. Her practice-led research explores creativity and offers a practical insight into systematic methods for collaboration and strategies for aesthetic decision making in interdisciplinary ensembles.

Meg Cooper founded Mad Dance House 15 years ago. MDH is a staple of the Brisbane community  introducing dance to literally thousands of adults and servicing many great dancers.  Many dancers have started their training at MDH (or have had their fire for dance re-ignited) and have gone on to wonderful careers in dance.  MDH gives regular work to 30 dance teacher's. Meg loves that MDH is part of a massive global dance family with interstate and international teachers visiting regularly. Meg is a fully qualified Ballet teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance and also holds a Cert Iv in dance from Brent Street studios. Her inspiration has come from travelling overseas for several years on and off visiting and training in big institutions in London, NYC, LA and Paris. Meg continues to teach after 23 years.

Gail Hewton is a passionate Community Dance Artist working with older people leading classes, workshops, performances and projects. Gail has 40 years professional experience including as a dancer, choreographer, educator and producer.  As one of Queensland’s dance education pioneers, Gail contributed significantly to dance curriculum development and primary and secondary teacher training and professional development. Gail has extensive dance teaching experience including in primary and high schools, universities, professional dance companies, private dance studios and community.  After 15 years working in arts and event management Gail returned in 2012 to her great passion, teaching and leading dance, establishing RIPE Dance (because dance Really Is Possible for Everyone!) to focus on bringing the joy of dance to older populations. Gail successfully works with active and agile over 60s, aged care residents with and without dementia, and people living independently with mobility or physical restrictions due to ageing issues, ill-health, surgery or particular conditions. Whilst Gail’s work is foremost about dance it has major consideration to improve health and wellbeing and allowing participants to experience the joy and benefits of dance in a fun, safe and supportive environment. Gail’s work is underpinned by a relational approach.  In 2017 Gail received Ausdance Queensland’s Osmotherly Award for her contribution to dance education as well as an Arts Queensland grant to travel to the UK mid-2018 to investigate dance for older people in various settings and contexts. Gail is developing professional development programs for health, care and dance practitioners interested in working in this field.

Julie Chenery Educator, counsellor and long term dance-o-phile. Motivated by creating options and opportunities to help people thrive. Former Ausdance Qld EO (b 92-b 02), Helicon CPR, a community cultural development partnership with Scotia Monkivitch (b 03-b 07), currently working at a Flexible Learning Centre in drama and pathways. Still dancing.

Maddie Nixon is a Brisbane based writer, dramaturg and production stage manager. Since graduating from the Queensland University of Technology (BFA Drama and DipEd Senior Years), Maddie’s artistic practice has focused on the development of new contemporary work, theatre for young people and the integration of the performing arts in education. Maddie is an Assistant Creative at La Boite Theatre Company for 2018. Maddie also works as a consultant for MEAA (Youth & Equity Program). Maddie’s credits include, as Playwright: Cooladdi (La Boite Theatre Company, Queensland Theatre and ATYP), Food Fight (ATYP), The Parable People (FAST). As Contributing Writer: The Children’s Monologue’s (Digi Youth Arts). As Co-Director: Jane + Kel Go To Hell (Sharehouse Theatre Company). As Dramaturg: England (Matt Seery, Nathan Booth and Metro Arts). As Production Manager: Supercell Festival of Contemporary Dance, Cargo Club (Metro Arts and Centre for Australasian Theatre). As Stage Manager: The Dead Devils of Cockle Creek (La Boite Theatre Company), Blue Bones (Playlab), The 7 Stages of Grieving (Grin + Tonic, Queensland Theatre), The Voice in The Walls (Imaginary Theatre). As Assistant Stage Manager: Medea (La Boite Theatre Company), Black Diggers (Secondment - Queensland Theatre).