Performing arts & pop culture

Anything and everything in Performing arts & pop culture from across our archives.

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Portrait of Leena van Deventer

Leena van Deventer  /  Games

Leena has contributed to publications such as CrikeyThe Big IssueKotakuMXWriters BlocPlaywriteThe Victorian WriterWomen’s Agenda, and Metro Magazine, and co-authored the book Game Changers: From Minecraft to Misogyny, the fight for the future of videogames with Dan Golding for Affirm Press. 

Leena is a a frequent guest on 3RRR’s Byte Into It, ABC 774’s Drive, and Triple J’s Hack. She has also spoken at the Wheeler Centre, the Freeplay Independent Games Festival, Melbourne Writers Festival, the Emerging Writers’ Festival, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), the Screen Futures Summit, and at the University of Western Australia.

Leena sits on the Program Advisory Committee for RMIT’s Bachelor of Design (Games) degree program, and the Program Advisory Committee for the Freeplay Independent Games Festival. This year Leena will also be a part of the very first Games and Interactive Advisory Committee for the Australian Writers Guild and on a curatorial advisory committee for an upcoming exhibition at ACMI.

Portrait of Julia Donaldson

Julia Donaldson  /  Children’s books

Having grown up in London and studied Drama and French at Bristol University, Julia worked for a few years in publishing and as a teacher. At the same time, she was also writing and performing songs and street theatre with her husband Malcolm, and writing and directing two musicals for children. She then combined a career writing songs for children’s television with bringing up a family.

In 1993, one of her songs was made into a book, A Squash and a Squeeze. Since then, she has written over a hundred books and plays for children and teenagers, including the award-winning rhyming stories The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, The Snail and the Whale and Zog, all illustrated by Axel Scheffler, which are among the UK’s best selling picture books.

Julia has also worked with different illustrators, among them Lydia Monks, Nick Sharratt and David Roberts, and has written several young fiction titles, including three books about Princess Mirror-Belle, who is the badly-behaved reflection of a well-behaved girl. Her novel for teenagers, Running on the Cracks, came out in 2009 and won the Nasen Inclusive Children’s Book Award.

She is also the author of many educational books, including the 60 books which comprise the phonic reading scheme Songbirds. This series is part of the Oxford Reading Tree published by Oxford University Press.

Julia still loves writing and singing songs, and has produced three books of these, each one with a CD on which she is accompanied by some great live musicians. Her passion for drama is kept fresh by her frequent dramatic performances at book festivals and theatrical events, where she talks, acts and sings with her audiences.

For three years, she was writer in residence in Easterhouse, helping local children write and act. She is now patron of the charity Artlink Central – which engages artists to work in hospitals, prisons and schools.

She lives in Bearsden, Glasgow, with her husband Malcolm and two cats.

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