Board Members - Ulumbarra Foundation
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Mentor Program

The Ulumbarra Foundation is devoted to supporting performing artists, organisations and audiences in our Greater Bendigo community through inspirational programs and funding initiatives.

We are proud to offer a performing arts Mentor Program to support young – and perhaps not so young – people in our community with an interest in pursuing a career or furthering their passion in the performing arts.

Our mentors are established performing arts professionals, all industry leaders in diverse fields, who have volunteered to provide professional guidance and mentorship to Bendigo performing arts aspirants and participants.

We invite Bendigo’s up-and-coming performers and those interested in career development in any aspect of performance or production to apply for the program.

This opportunity is provided free of charge, supported by the Ulumbarra Foundation and program mentors who are generously providing their time and services in a voluntary capacity.

To apply for inclusion in the Mentor Program please complete the Expression of Interest at the bottom of this page.

For more information, email or phone Ulumbarra Foundation Board Member Rob Blum on 0428 373 455 for more information.


Brett Beckhurst

 A performer and choreographer with national and international experience, Brett Beckhurst is trained in Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Contemporary, Singing, Musical Theatre, Acrobatics, Hip Hop Lyrical, Commercial and Circus performance. Melbourne-based Brett is a performance industry leader who has previously worked with a range of international artists and performers including; Du0, Lorenzo, Nat Ho, Kris Wu, Jolin Tsai, Yoga Lin, Wilber Pan, Fatai, Jessica Mauboy, J Williams, Zoe Badwi, Jason Dy (The Voice PH, Champion), SONY Music PH and Gforce Dance Centre PH. 


 Kyrilee Bodin 

 VCA graduate Kyrilee Bodin is a big believer in enjoying all aspects of live performance. Kyrilee has excelled in various roles in premier Melbourne and Bendigo arts companies and organisations. Whether as Stage Manager, Technical Operator or Logistics Coordinator Kyrilee is a much sought after industry professional, recently returning to her hometown Bendigo and delivering technical services to Bendigo Venues & Events, Arena Theatre Company and her own multifaceted theatrical company, That’s Classic. 


Rachel Burke

Rachel Burke has an extensive and highly awarded body of work over three decades for main stage companies, independent theatre, and architectural lighting design both nationally and internationally. Industry acknowledgment includes eight Green Room Awards for Theatre Lighting Design, IES Victorian and National Awards of Excellence for Lighting Design in 2005, 2010 and 2019 and Helpmann Award nominations in 2005 and 2015. Rachel held a part time academic position at Melbourne University/VCA Production and Design 2017-2019. She is a graduate from Rusden Victoria College with a Bachelor of Education Secondary in Drama and Dance.


Ben Van Dillen 

Currently working as the Technical Operations Manager for the Geelong Arts Centre, Ben Van Dillen’s career started at 16 as a trainee. He has since worked in and toured to numerous countries, undertaking a variety of roles in theatres, concert halls and arenas: notably working as the Touring Production Manager of Circus Oz, Technical Co-Ordinator at fortyfivedownstairs, the Touring Head of Lighting for Opera Australia, managing an onboard lighting department for Princess Cruises and Production Manager for Arena Theatre Co.


Paul Jackson 

Paul Jackson APDG is a multi-award winning lighting designer and theatre maker whose practice encompasses theatre, opera, dance, music theatre, concerts and live events. He is a graduate of the University of Melbourne and RMIT. Paul has designed lighting for The Australian Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Berlin Staatsballett, West Australian Ballet, Victorian Opera, West Australian Opera, Sydney Theatre Company, Melbourne Theatre Company, Gordon Frost Organization, TML, The Production Company, Bell Shakespeare, Playbox, Malthouse, Belvoir, Ballet Lab, Lucy Guerin, Chunky Move, World of Wearable Art New Zealand, Kage, Australian Art Orchestra, La Mama, Chamber Made Opera and others. 


Stephen Phillips 

Stephen Phillips is a 2002 graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts, and is a Melbourne based theatre-maker, actor, voice over artist and teacher. He has appeared variously with several Australian main-stage theatre companies including Melbourne Theatre Company, Bell Shakespeare, Malthouse Theatre, Black Swan and Chunky Move; Stephen appeared in The Odyssey for Malthouse and Black Swan in conjunction with the 2006 Melbourne and Perth International Arts Festivals and continues to tour internationally with Complexity of Belonging and Lucid for Chunky Move.


Ania Reynolds 

Ania Reynolds is a composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist and installation artist who works and collaborates across a range of disciplines. She speaks four languages and has presented her original music and work across five continents. As a composer and performer Ania has worked with Circus Oz, Yothu Yindi And The Treaty Project, Arena Theatre, Extraordinary Bodies (UK), Circus Cirkor (Sweden), Honk! Festival (Rio de Janeiro), choreographer Ghenoa Gela, Arcadia Winds, Toni Childs and Femi Kuti.


Alice Topp 

Alice Topp was born and raised in Bendigo and started dancing at the age of four. After two years with Royal New Zealand Ballet, she joined The Australian Ballet in 2007. Her passion for choreography began when she created her first work, Trace, for the 2010 season of Bodytorque, the company’s choreographic showcase. Her work Aurum (created with the support of a Rudolf Nureyev Prize for New Dance) appeared at New York’s Joyce Theater in 2019, and won the 2019 Helpmann Award for Best Ballet. She was nominated for a Green Room Award (Little Atlas, 2017) and for two Australian Dance Awards (Same Vein, 2014 and Trace, 2010). She has choreographed music videos for artists including Megan Washington and Ben Folds, and created works for Houston Ballet II and Queensland Ballet. She was appointed one of The Australian Ballet’s resident choreographers in 2018.


Alana Tranter 

Alana Tranter is a VCA graduate with theatre credits including the Australian premiere of Georgy Girl – The Seekers Musical, ‘Ernestina’ in Hello Dolly for The Production Company and lead vocalist in California Dreaming-The Music of the Mamas and the Papas. Alana has created roles in two new Australian works, ‘Clarice’ in Dreamsong and ‘Maggie’ in NED – The New Australian Musical and was involved in the STC workshop of Muriel’s Wedding. She is currently a cast member of Come From Away the musical.


Abe Watson 

Abe Watson is an experienced arts manager and creative based in Central Victoria with specialist skills in theatrical production and operations, producing, and technical theatre. Abe is currently the Production Manager at Melbourne Theatre Company, has spent more than 10 years on the Committee of Bendigo Theatre Company (including a combined six years as President and Vice President), and worked with the Bendigo Venues & Events Team in various roles including production, technical, event, and front of house services management. Abe holds a Bachelor of Arts (French/MediaComm) from the University of Melbourne, and is currently studying a Master of Arts and Cultural Management. 

Expressions of Interest

Thank you for your interest in the Ulumbarra Foundation Mentor Program.

The Ulumbarra Foundation is fortunate to have attracted a range of high-quality mentors with experience in various performing arts fields. They have been chosen based on their capacity to help others pursue their interests. All mentors are providing this generous and skilled support on a volunteer basis.


Our guidelines for mentoring include the following:

  • Mentors will work with just one mentee, matched according the interests of both parties
  • Contact may be face to face or remote, depending upon the availability and needs of both parties
  • The frequency of contact will be determined by both parties; as a guide this may be 30-45-minute conversation every 2-3 months, but may be more frequent depending on the needs of the individual.
  • The initial mentoring period is 12 months
  • It is likely the greatest benefit for the mentee will be derived from the opportunity to discuss their current performing arts involvement and to use the experience of the mentor to guide their thinking and development about their future goals.
  • It is not intended that mentors replace any existing coaching or tuition arrangements


The Ulumbarra Foundation takes seriously its duty to provide participants with a professional service and a safe and healthy working environment. We are a child safe organisation. All mentors will have a current Working With Children Check (depending on your age it may be necessary for you to obtain parent approval to participate).


If you are selected to participate in this program you will:

  • Be introduced to your mentor and helped to understand their history of involvement in the performing arts and what they are currently doing
  • Be supported through an induction program
  • Agree with your mentor how and when you will contact one another
  • Consider your goals for the program and discuss this with your mentor
  • Be contacted on a quarterly basis by a member of the Ulumbarra Foundation’s Community Connection Committee to discuss the progress of your mentoring
  • Have a liaison person within the committee to whom you can direct any questions or concerns

If you are interested in being a part of the mentor program, please fill out the expression of interest form below.