About Us

Our History

In early 2004 a group of parents, artists and friends gathered together to create a vision for a community arts initiative in the Adelaide Hills. What unfolded in the ensuing months was the desire to create an Arts organisation which brought together professionals and members of the public to work on artistic projects which have meaning for the community, and Ink Pot Arts Inc was born. Growth and transformation of the individual through arts engagement is at the centre of the vision, based on a holistic philosophy. There has been a focus on Arts practice to foster creativity, enhance wellbeing and to develop a sense of community. With this in mind, our program has offered festival days as well as workshops and performance projects.

Since our beginning over 6200 children, teenagers and adults have taken part in workshops and productions. Participants have come from near & far, including Mount Barker, Littlehampton, Nairne, Woodside, Hahndorf, Echunga, Meadows, Prospect Hill, Mylor, Aldgate, Stirling, Crafers, Lobethal, Callington, Kanmantoo, Strathalbyn, Murray Bridge and Adelaide. We promote local artists and specialise in creating original works across a variety of genres. The participants of our workshop programs (drama & improv, theatre productions, musical theatre, ukulele, singing, creative writing, Arts for Wellbeing, Heart Lands Aboriginal Cultural Program) perform regularly at community events across the region. We are passionate about offering opportunities for young people, including mentoring and skill building for pursuing a career in the Arts.

Our professional tutors have both teaching and performance experience, thus being able to provide expert guidance for all involved. Workshops have been offered in movement, clowning, circus, singing, drama, dance-drama, musical theatre, physical theatre, storytelling, audition preparation and improvisation. We have a gallery space which enables Visual Arts exhibitions and intimate performances, whilst our Arts-based Wellbeing Program features various visual arts techniques. Performance projects have ranged from street theatre performances, opera, and intimate devised theatre pieces to large scale in-theatre productions.

The founding Artistic Director Jo-anne Sarre has a Creative Speech and Drama Diploma (from The Harkness Studio, Sydney), is a qualified teacher and in 2009 completed her BA Honours, First Class (Drama) at Flinders University. She has worked across Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Europe, China, India, the US and Canada as an actor, storyteller, director and workshop facilitator.

We gratefully acknowledge the ongoing support of our Friends of Ink Pot Arts, Mount Barker District Council, Mount Barker Waldorf School,  Janesce and Reid Print. With special thanks for project funding and sponsorship from CarclewCountry Arts SAArts SA, YMCA, Office for Ageing Well and the State Emergency Relief Fund.

Meet the Board

Michelle joined the Board in 2021 and has extensive experience in local government, community development, governance of not-for-profits and community board management. She has worked with and supported community groups in rural and remote South Australia. She has an MBA as well as degrees in tourism, cultural heritage and human geography. She strongly believes that the Arts positively impacts on the health and wellbeing of both individuals and communities by creating opportunities to participate, express creativity and share skills. She also believes that the Arts contributes to a sense of place and social cohesion and is a way for communities to heal from disaster and hardships faced.  

Jo-anne Sarre’s professional career has spanned over 30 years, taking her throughout Australia, New Zealand, UK, Europe, USA, Canada, India and China. Now based in the Adelaide Hills, Ink Pot Arts’ Artistic Director is committed to creating innovative theatre with good tales to tell. Specialising in Creative Speech and the Michael Chekhov Acting Technique, Jo-anne has performed as a storyteller and actor. She has also worked as a free-lance director, ran Speech and Drama courses at Emerson College, UK, and was an assistant Voice Coach at Flinders University (2016). 

Jo-anne completed her BA Honours research project that investigates the presence of the poetic in Theatre for Young People in 2008- 2009. As Artistic Director of Ink Pot Arts, she and her colleagues have received a Merit Award for 2015 Community Event of the Year with the Mount Barker District Council (for new work From Footprint to Footplate) and a Finalist, Brand SA Regional Awards – Arts and Creative Industries 2015. The latter is “for outstanding achievements and significant contributions demonstrating excellence in South Australia’s regional communities. The former was a new theatre work, which placed the history of the Adelaide Hills in the context of the custodianship of the traditional owners of the land, the Peramangk people.

As co-founder of Ink Pot Theatre and founding Artistic Director of Ink Pot Arts Inc, she has been actively engaged in bringing high quality theatre as a catalyst for personal transformation, cross-cultural learning and Community Cultural Development.

Simon has been treasurer of Ink Pot Arts for many years now. He came into this position after working as a bookkeeper in a small/medium Adelaide business. His involvement in community theatre goes back to 1988. He has been part of local productions as well as a 6-month season touring in a big London-based show. He was able to closely watch the producer manage the finances of a show with a cast of 30 touring Europe and North America. He then worked in admin for a smaller UK dance company. Simon can always found behind the scenes, running our weekly fundraising stall at the Adelaide Hills Farmers Market or at the front-of-house during performance seasons – but never onstage in the spotlight unless he is hiding behind a ukulele! In his day job he is a horticulturist on an organic farm.

Since graduating from a Bachelor in Creative Arts/Theatre Performance at the University of Wollongong in 2002 Jessica has worked as an actor, creative, facilitator, director, theatre maker and visual artist. A focus has been in exploring contemporary forms and performance making with young people through her role of Artistic Director of Rising Damp Youth Performing Arts.

Jessica has developed a number of new works, including site specific hybrid works ‘Virus Detected’, and ‘Focalize’, dance theatre work ‘Iris’, and a viewpoints exploration which resulted in the physical theatre work ‘I Am Here… Waiting’. Jessica is a key creative, actor and story consultant for the complex and exciting hybrid work ‘If There Was A Color Darker Then Black I’d Wear It’, winner of the Ruby Award for Innovation in 2013. She has undertaken professional development with My Darling Patricia, a Jump mentorship in design for hybrid contemporary performance, and an Australia Council Community Partnerships program with Darwin Community Arts. 

Jessica has developed animation and projected image installations for the CHAN Contemporary Arts Space, design for theatre, and live projection/new media collaborations with the Mimi Artists. And PUNCTUM. In 2011 her digital work was featured at the Australian Business Arts Foundation State Awards in SA. In 2013/2014 Jessica was contracted by Country Arts SA to work on the Cultural Places program in the Alexandrina, working with Youth Arts organisations in the area in program development and project management and mentoring young artists and facilitators. Most recently she has been engaged in the SPINBACK arts and health project for Country arts SA. Jessica joined the Ink Pot Arts Board in 2019. Her artistic contributions include being Creative Producer for Whispering Walls – If the Walls had Ears, a theatre promenade project in Nairne SA, and most recently as director for the Secret Garden Project 2020-2021.

Fiona Campbell PhD is an artist, researcher, lecturer, arts educator, and founder of Painted Space Studio. Originally the name of her mural business, the Studio offers programs and intensives in the visual arts, creative writing, cultural history, philosophy, and Steiner arts education.

Her core artistic medium is painting, specialising in a non-traditional approach to watercolour that focuses on creating liminal spaces through mood and colour. Her mural work of 600 sq.m in Australia, New Zealand, and Belgium, most frequently in medical and therapeutic centres, exemplifies her distinctive approach.

Fiona trained at Emerson College (UK), Tobias School of Art and Therapy (UK), Macquarie University (English and Linguistics) and University of Technology Sydney (Media and Communications), where she later taught information science for 10 years. With three research degrees in Communications, she has a wide range of skills that enable her to teach across disciplinary boundaries and diverse fields, skills which have directed her 30-year teaching career in adult education. From community to postgraduate and professional development levels, she has taught subjects such as creative thinking, consciousness studies, academic writing, web design, research methods and mythology, as well as her core profession, painting. She is also a trained musician. 

Fiona is currently researcher and creative consultant for Ink Pot Arts Parsifal Project, using her visual arts training and extensive research into the Grail legends to the project.

Lauren Holdstock Inkpot Arts Board Member

Lauren Holdstock is an Adelaide Hills-based jazz musician and vocal teacher. She has been performing since the age of 2. Her musical endeavours have brought her to the stages of the Sydney Conservatorium and the Opera House with Gondwana National Choirs.

She completed her Bachelor of Music (jazz performance) in 2020 which included a study trip to New York and Washington D.C. where she participated in workshops and attended gigs by top professionals in the industry.

Lauren performs in her self-titled jazz quartet with fellow graduates and teaches voice lessons and choir at multiple schools.

As an Ink Pot Arts Alumni, she is really excited to be sharing her vocal coaching skills with Ink Pot Arts students and contributing to the Board as the Youth Representative.

Our volunteer Board is made up of active & highly experienced artists, Community Cultural Development consultants, HR personnel & Arts administrators. We are very fortunate to have such generous donations of time and skill from our exceptional people.

Meet the Artists

Curtis Shipley has been a performer and entertainer for many years, mastering all the skills required to present stand-up comedy, immersive and interactive theatre and games, quiz nights and custom-designed birthday parties. His main passion is improv, which he performs professionally as well as running workshops at schools and for community groups. Curtis was part of the recent SA Theatre sports Cup for schools and is a teacher and mentor at the local improv company On the Fly.

Jen Lush is a multi-disciplinary performing artist and educator who is passionate about delivering high quality arts experiences to people of all ages. Her background in music, dance, and theatre has taken her across the country and overseas performing and teaching. Jen has recently worked as guest song writing tutor at the Adelaide Guitar Festival and Fleurieu Folk Festival. Besides contributing to our Arts for Wellbeing program continues to facilitate a music/song writing program at Eden Hills Kindergarten.

Since graduating from a Bachelor in Creative Arts/Theatre Performance at the University of Wollongong in 2002 Jessica has worked as an actor, creative, facilitator, director, theatre maker and visual artist. A focus has been in exploring contemporary forms and performance making with young people. Now a regular contributor of the Ink Pot Arts team, she is looking forward to supporting more young people in the Adelaide Hills.

Ink Pot Arts’ Artistic Director Jo-anne Sarre’s career has spanned over 30 years, taking her throughout Australia and internationally as a performer, director and workshop facilitator. She has been actively engaged in bringing the oral Arts, including high quality theatre, as a catalyst for personal transformation, cross-cultural learning and Community Cultural Development.

Max Tulysewski is an Adelaide-based musician, composer, producer and teacher. He took up drumming at age 7, started playing professionally in his early teens and entered his 20’s as one of South Australia’s busiest and most in-demand musicians. Max first began experimenting with the ukulele in 2011 and has brought it with him into a variety of different musical situations both on stage and in the studio. As a songwriter, he has used the instrument in acoustic &electric formats to gain access to new sound and ideas. Max has garnered a wide range of musical and professional experience, something he proudly brings to his work as an educator. This coupled with his enthusiasm and unique approach to the ukulele is sure to open the door to a world of uke-inspired fun!

Nathan Douglas Day is a hills-based published poet (Dip Arts, Creative Writing, Tabor Adelaide) who has diverse artistic pursuits including music, song writing, woodwork and creative writing. He aims to surprise his readers into laughter through his poetry, focusing more on nonsensical/dreamlike themes to break down what is expected from poetry and poets, but is equally at home with the honing of serious creative expression.

Sally Hardy is a playwright, author and producer whose work has won awards both nationally and internationally. An AWGIE winning playwright, her work has featured in the DreamBIG Children’s Festival, the Come Out Children’s Festival, the World Festival of Children’s Theatre, the Trinity College London International Festival of Playwriting and Performance, and the Adelaide & Melbourne Fringe Festivals. For Ink Pot Arts Sally has written and directed “Unravelled” with our teen ensemble, adapted “Wind in the Willows” as a musical for the stage and in 2020 taught on two of our Arts for Wellbeing pilot programs – Affinity Theatre Group for neurodiverse teens and Acting for Fun for over 55s.

Ren Williams is a recent 2020 graduate from the Flinders Drama Centre. Finding her passion within theatre-making and creating, Ren is looking forward to bursting into the industry in 2021 with her interests also including playwriting and directing. She is looking forward to contributing to the Ink Pot Arts programs.

RubinA is a multi-lingual actor, creative writer, poetess, and Spoken word artist (South Australian Summer slam 2020 second runner up), of Indian origin now settled in South Australia. Since 2008, she has done screen writing for TV and Cinema and creative writing for commercial ads, but finds intuitive writing most satisfying and fruitful. She has written songs and contributed poems and short stories to many reputed publications, and has been an Acting Teacher for children in India and Australia.

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