Room to Play 

This initiative supports performing artists by providing a home to hone their skills, collaborate, experiment and perform their wonderful shows.  Audience engagement and creating a community of performers that provide quality entertainment and provocation to the community is our mission.

Room to Play is keen to provide our local, talented performing artists a space to collaborate and showcase their work. We believe the artist is always emerging and development is in the doing.  Room to Play is interested in shaping the community by what they do and not always by what they spend.

Room to Play thrives on cooperation and the generous spirit that working in the arts promotes whilst ensuring  sustainable growth for artists that encourages longevity in the industry.

Room to Play  Production Company

Room to Play is an independent theatre group that works with local, professionally trained artists to create awesome, intimate spectacles in theatre. Our determination is to keep excellent performing artists in Brisbane, working sustainably and creating innovative theatre that is part of the growing cultural hub of Brisbane. This initiative calls on the richness and diversity of local performers. Our team includes Heidi Manche’ (Director), Chelsea Jewell (Designer), Trudy Gunston (Producer) and Desley Martin (dramaturge). Our aim is to broaden the scope of voices seen and heard onstage. We perform in spaces that are intimate, industrial and surprising with the desire to activate spaces in adventurous ways.

Heidi Manche’ – Founder and Director of Room to Play

Heidi Manché studied theatre at Macquarie University in Sydney and was granted a scholarship to study at La Sapienza Rome University in Italy, with a project to work alongside Nobel laureate Dario Fo. Heidi translated many of Dario Fo’s texts into English whilst enrolled in the performing arts department. She was a core ensemble member of the theatre troupe, Stalker, touring throughout Italy. On her return to Australia, Heidi joined a Commedia troupe in Sydney, founded an independent theatre venue, The Crypt Theatre, and continued to direct plays whilst enrolled in the Sydney Film School with a focus on directing. Here she won the award most popular documentary, Charmayne.  Moving to Brisbane, Heidi founded Brisbane Youth Theatre and the independent theatre company Room to Play which toured to the Melbourne Fringe Festival with Ionesco’s The Bald Prima Donna. Manche’ has recently directed Dario Fo’s, The Virtuous Burglar and One Was Nude and One Wore Tails and Brian Friel’s Afterplay to sell-out seasons in Brisbane as well as touring to Sydney Fringe Festival. Room to Play produced Tom Holloway’s Red Sky Morning. Heidi collaborated as co-director with Valerio Binasco and Alex Forero on Dario Fo’s Mistero Buffo, supported by Queensland Theatre and presenting at Billie Brown Theatre in 2017. Recently she directed Lally Katz’ The Eisteddfod as part of the Metro Local program and Tillie Olsen’s, I Stand Here Ironing and is excited to direct the staged reading of The Hanging by Angela Betzien, hosted by Hotlines at Playlab.

Trudy Gunston – Production Manager

Professionally trained and qualified in Business and Event Management, Trudy describes herself as a little out of the box and a lot organised.  With a passion for all things creative, Trudy’s organisational skills, which she honed working in many sectors of business management, have created a second career for her in production management.  In the life cycle of any project, Trudy is all about details when it comes to the practicalities of running a production on budget and on time.  Cultivating understanding through collaboration with all stakeholders, while ensuring the needs of individual creatives are met, Trudy’s interest is in producing both sustainable and authentic productions with a point of difference.

Identifying as Aboriginal, of the Kullilli people, the traditional owners of 32,000 sq km of land in south west Queensland, Trudy believes that storytelling is at the heart of communication. By sharing our stories through theatre, we learn, a moment of human connection is defined and from that grows a deeper understanding and respect for each other’s differences.

Chelsea Jewell – Designer

Chelsea Jewell is a Brisbane based Architect and designer.  Initially admitted to the Academy of the Arts to study Visual Art at QUT, Chelsea moved into Architecture at The School of Design at QUT.

After graduating in 2007 and registering as an Architect in 2008 Chelsea worked in a commercial office setting whilst returning to QUT as a sessional academic and expanding her design practice into fashion design at TAFE.

Chelsea is now the director of her own design practice, JewellCreative, which delivers architectural projects as well as producing graphic design, fashion design and millinery. Recent commissions have seen Chelsea supporting designers in fashion and theatrical realms, including Ladies in Black at Queensland Theatre.

Desley Martin – Dramaturg

Desley has a degree in Fine Arts, Townsville and worked with Townsville Civic Theatre. Recently she has been dramaturg for Eugene Ionesco’s The Bald Prima Donna, Dario Fo’s The Virtuous Burglar and Afterplay by Brian Friel.  Anywhere Festival 2014, 2015. Melbourne Fringe 2014, Sydney Fringe 2015. Martin currently studies Drama and Dramaturgy at University of Queensland.