Leigh Boswell is the founder and General Manager of The Young Company. Leigh completed a Bachelor of Arts (Drama) and a Bachelor of Education (Secondary) at the Queensland University of Technology where she graduated with Honors, and continued on to study a postgraduate degree in Creative Industries (Arts and Cultural Management). She is currently a part of the Australia Council for the Arts Leadership Program and most recently was nominated to be part of the Commonwealth Games, Queens Baton Relay. Leigh has been an Executive Board Member at Backbone Youth Arts and Youth Arts Queensland in Brisbane, as well as JUTE Theatre in Cairns. Leigh has worked for organisations such as QPAC, deBase Productions, Brisbane Powerhouse, Metro Arts, Brisbane City Council as well as a number of youth arts festivals including Out of the Box, Stage X Festival, The Two High Festival, Visible Ink Festival, Sheila’s Shorts and many more. She has been involved in drama education for the past seventeen years in both the United Kingdom and Australia. Leigh has worked with students from pre-prep right through to university level, where she was a tutor and lecturer at James Cook University in the field of Education. She is a registered member of the Queensland College of Teachers and her most recent teaching posting was at St Augustine’s College where she also resided on the Senior Drama Panel for QCAA. She has been performing on stage since the age of 3 and has completed examinations with Trinity College of London and local Cairns eisteddfods as well as performing with the Cairns Choral Society and backstage with the Rondo Theatre.
Mike Elliott is the Artistic Director of TYC and has been working for the company for the past nine years. After graduating high school, Mike studied a Bachelor of Creative Industries, majoring in Theatre at James Cook University. During his studies, he played a role in Louis Nowra’s 'Summer of the Aliens'. In 2010, Mike joined the ensemble cast of Scott Wit's 'Macbeth' at JUTE Theatre and starred in Ben Ellis' 'Falling Petals' directed by Victoria Carless for Pop Robot Theatre. Along with facilitating TYC's weekly & holiday drama programs, Mike directs the company's MainStage Production program. Productions have included George Orwell’s, ‘1984’ (2014), 'Macbeth Re-Arisen by David Mence (2015), Bram Stokers 'Dracula' (2016), ‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding (2017) and ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ by Joan Lindsay (2018). He also facilitates the inter-school 'OTSIC' improv competition (2016-present), TYC's FRINGE (2018-present) & Platform Youth Theatre Festival (2017-present) along side the TYC Creative Team. He has also performed in (2016-2017) and directed (2018-2019) TYCs Mainstage Production of ‘Wishfly’ written by Jane Modric. Mike is extremely passionate about young artists and performers realising the power of their own potential in creating exhilarating theatrical experiences!
Liz Christiensen is TYCs Artist in Residence at The Young Company and graduated from James Cook University where she studied a Bachelor of Creative Industries. Liz Christensen leads our Creative Writing Program as well as o number of other classes at TYC. She has been writing poetry since she was a teenager. She achieved a bachelor of Theatre from James Cook University straight out of school with dreams of becoming an Actor. She began participating in JUTE Theatre Company’s Enter Stage Write program in 2012 and wrote her first full length play, “The Threesome”, which was developed by JUTE in 2013 and performed to a live audience as a workshop show. Liz also participated in the Brisbane & Cairns Writers’ Festival 2014, collaborating on “Cyclonic Reuinion”, wrote a short piece as part of her Directing work with The Young Company. In her spare time she writes poems, songs and short scenes.
Anthony Ring is TYCs Artist in Residence and has enjoyed an international career as a professional actor working extensively in theatre, television and film in the UK, Australia and Japan since 1988. More recently he has focused on writing and producing both feature length and short films. In 2014, Anthony co-produced and acted in the micro-budget feature film Throwback, written and directed by Travis Bain, which established itself as an *award winning genre movie on the international film festival circuit. Further film credits in 2014 include the award winning short Parrot Ice Tours in which Anthony acted in, co-wrote and co-produced. It won Best Film and People’s Choice Award at the inaugural Understory Film Festival in Cairns the same year. He also leads Ring of Fire Productions and has a vision to increase the profile of Cairns as a viable film making centre locally, nationally and eventually, internationally. As film and video production increases, the opportunities for Anthony’s film making and acting students will be available to utilise their skills in a professional context, giving them invaluable hands on experience. *Best Foreign Film - Famous Monsters of Film Land 2014, Best Film – Tri Cities Film Festival 2014.
Dr Jane Modric is TYCs Playwright in Residence and holds a PhD in Creative Arts (JCU) and a Master of Letters (CQU). Her first play ‘Soph and the Real World’ was produced by JUTE Theatre Company in 2013, and was written as part of JUTE’s Enter Stage Write program. She has a background in music and song writing with two solo albums and a number of collaborations to her credit. Her research examines the creative process, and her interests lie in finding practical ways to enhance creativity in her own life and the lives of others. Jane has a long history with TYC, and worked on their most recent community cultural development project, Headstart, which transpired into a production called Wishfly and staged in 2015 by both professional as well as young and emerging performers. production called Wishfly and staged in 2015 by both professional as well as young and emerging performers. She has also most recently had her work, Propelled, published by Playlab. Her most recent written work, ‘Aura’ (Film: Directed by Karen Jackson) won The She Shot International Women's Micro Film Festival award for Best Film and has been selected for numerous other awards including the UK Screen One International Film Festival.
Yasmin Lancini is TYCs Artist in Residence (Musical Theatre) and holds a Bachelor of Theatre, with a specialization in Musical Theatre from Central Queensland University. She has performed in numerous productions including Cairns Choral Society’s The Producers, Malanda Theatre Company’s productions of Godspell, Razzamatazz as well as Guys and Dolls. And also most recently with Cairns Dinner Theatre Bravo: The Best of Broadway and Tony n Tina’s Wedding. Yasmin has also been the children’s show hose for Little Charley Bear (Just Promotions) and toured with Central Qld University’s productions of Choices and Safety Circus.
Evelyn McGuinness is TYCs Production Manager and Associate Artist. She is currently studying Primary Education at James Cook University and has been involved with TYC for the past 5 years. Evelyn holds a Certificate III in Live Production, Theatre and Events. and has performed in Cairns Choral Society’s, Legally Blonde and played a leading role in St Monica’s school musical. She has also performed in, produced and directed numerous productions with TYC including Christmas Unwrapped, Neverland, Australian Horror Story, Animal Farm, The Experimental Conundrum and many more. 2016 saw Evelyn perform in TYCs Theatre-in-Education production of Wishfly by Jane Modric and The Grumpiest Boy in the World by Finegan Kruckemeyer.
Hayley Gillespie is our Artist in Residence for our Holiday Drama School Programs. Born in London in 1972, Hayley Gillespie relocated to Cairns in 1996. She has been a professional artist since 1989, in a variety of guises. From theatre and set design, artwork for London Council and Royal Park's, and designing and decorating children's furniture for the exclusive retail stores of London. In Australia she has worked in painted advertising, brochure design, signs and murals. Deciding to concentrate on canvas in 2003, she has drawn inspiration from her own childhood in 1970`s, Australia`s colours and lifestyle, and the iconography of both. She has a live model who comes home from school everyday, full of material which is incorporated into her work.
Dell Beckman is TYC's Associate Artist and has been involved with TYC this year. He is currently studying his Bachelor of Creative Arts at CQU. Last year, Dell performed his lead role as Pertruchio in Tropical Arts "The Taming of the Shrew" at the Shakespeare at the Tanks. Dell is also a regular stand up comedian with Guilt Free Comedy at Eato's, and is very well known for his role as the Parking Fairy for the Cairns Airport.
Imani Williams is one of TYCs Associate Producers. She is a Sydney born singer, musician, dancer and actress, Imani Williams has always dreamt of a career on the stage. Now residing in Cairns she has just finished her performances of Wicked, is an associate artist at the Young Company, a piano teacher at Buzz Music, a resident artist at The Cairns Voice Studio as well as completing her Bachelor of Creative Arts at CQU. She has performed in venues such as the Sydney Opera House, Griffith Conservatory and Cairns Performing Arts Centre and she has received numerous awards for her dance and musical abilities.
Catherine McGuinness is one of TYCs Production Trainee and has participated in TYC for the past five years and TYCs Teacher Training Program for the past two years. She is also apart of our Young and Emerging Mainstage Performance Troupe and our Advanced Acting Troupe Program. Catherine brings an enormous amount of passion and talent to her classes. This year will see Catherine take on a National Traineeship in Production with ArtsReady where she will study a Certificate 3 in Live Production. TYC are excited to be partnering with the Cairns Regional Council with this traineeship, which will see Catherine work at venues such as Tanks Arts Centre and many more across our region.
Francesca Kunz is one of TYCs Associate Artist’s and has participated in TYC for the past eight years and TYCs Teacher Training Program for the past four years. She was also apart of our Young and Emerging Mainstage Performance Troupe, where she recently performed in Seussical, as well as participated in the Theatre Lab Program and our Advanced Musical Madness Program. She has recently graduated from Cairns High where she completed three years of the Centre of Excellence Drama Program and performed in Mary Poppins: The Musical. Francesca brings an enormous amount of dedication and talent to her classes.
Skye Simpson is one of TYCs Associate Producer’s and has participated in TYC for the past nine years and TYCs Teacher Training Program for the past four years. She was also apart of our Young and Emerging Mainstage Performance Troupe and our Advanced Musical Madness Program. Skye brings an enormous amount of dedication and talent to her classes. She has been a regular on the stage since the age of six. Studying ballet, drama and flute, she has performed in over 50 productions, concerts and eisteddfods. Her theatre credits include performing in TYC Mainstage productions such as ‘Between Us’ by ATYP Young Voices Project (Cairns Festival 2016), ‘Wind in the Willows’ adapted by Tony Nicholls, ‘Summer of the Aliens’ by Louis Nowra and ‘Constance Drinkwater and the Final Days of Somerset’ by Stephen Carleton. Skye has also been a member of the Roving Troupe, performing at numerous community events around Cairns. She graduated from Cairns State High School in 2016, where she was part of musicals ‘Hairspray’ and ‘Nice Work If You Can Get It’ and was a member of the Centre of Excellence Drama program.
Darcy Maher is one of TYCs Associate Artists and has participated in TYC for the past nine years and TYCs Teacher Training Program for the past four years. He was also apart of our Young and Emerging Mainstage Performance Troupe, where he recently performed in Suessical, and our Theatre Lab Program. He graduated from St Augustines college where he was an avid part of their drama and music programs. Darcy brings an enormous amount of experience and creativity to his classes.
Imani Williams is one of TYCs Associate Producer’s a Sydney born singer, musician, dancer and actress, Imani Williams has always dreamt of a career on the stage. Now residing in Cairns she has just finished her performances of Wicked, is an associate artist at the Young Company, a piano teacher at Buzz Music, a resident artist at The Cairns Voice Studio as well as completing her Bachelor of Creative Arts at CQU. She has performed in venues such as the Sydney Opera House, Griffith Conservatory and Cairns Performing Arts Centre and she has received numerous awards for her dance and musical abilities.