The Ball Room
Theatrical play for young and old-er
How it all began
The Ball Room Projects creative directors, Cat Sewell and Nancy Sposato, started collaborating in 2004. Freshly graduated from the School of Creative Arts (Melbourne University/VCA) they asked ourselves what sort of performing arts work they wanted to see in the world? Their ideas resembled a visually evocative performative playground of sorts and the activities that occurred within this space appealed to both children and adults. The space was both safe and risky.
Both Sewell and Sposato continued to explore these themes as participants of the Australia Council Spark Mentorship Program. A creative development period in 2015 through the City of Melbourne’s ArtPlay New Ideas initiative really consolidated their thinking into the performance experience, The Ball Room. A premier season of the debut work at Darebin Art’s Loud Mouth was received with an almost sell out season. The Ball Room has presented large-scale interactive installation/theatre events as spin-offs from their major production, including presenting The Way at ArtPlay as part of Melbourne Moomba Festival, attracting over 1000 visitors over 3 days.
Our work is sparked by a sense of play and curiosity and how these characteristics are fundamental to the human condition.
Our company aims to:
work with audiences as fellow creative collaborators
deeply appeal to the senses of children and adults
respond to fellow creators and audience members from a place of trust.
deliver live work that displays artistic excellence.
Catherine Sewell - Creative Director
Catherine Sewell (B. Creative Arts, M. Creative Arts Therapy) works in play as an artist, facilitator and educator. Her work as a Play Specialist with schools, kindergartens and playgroups sees her not only running play-based sessions with children but also providing professional development sessions for families and teachers, as well as consulting in key strategic roles. Cat has worked with organisations, government, councils and NGO’s to create resources to promote play in written, online and video formats. As an artist, Cat also creates public installations for children and families and does design work for film and theatre.
Since 2015 Cat has been Co-Artistic Director of The Ball Room Projects, a company that specialises in interactive performance and installations for children and families. She shares tasks such as production management, budget management and marketing with Nancy Sposato, performs and facilitates within works and heads up the design of costume, set and production elements. Their works have been staged across Victoria and interstate, with large commissions for events such as Moomba and Melbourne Open House.
Cat has worked with many diverse communities facilitating play-based sessions in the fields of arts, health and education. From 2017 – 2019 she led a large-scale project consulting with children in the City of Darebin to create play maps This project was seeded through a Darebin Arts Grant, and went on to be the recipient of a Victorian Early Years Award. Her work with Raising Children Network, supported by the Royal Children’s Hospital and Murdoch Children’s Research Centre, saw her feature in 15 videos on the importance of play for childhood development and creativity. Cat has also travelled to countries such as Lebanon, Nepal, Bangladesh and Lesotho as a Play Specialist with Playground Ideas, a not-for-profit organisation helping communities build low-cost playgrounds and advocate for the importance of play. In this role she led community consultations, designed play spaces and developed resources for teachers and parents. Cat routinely delivers Professional Development sessions on play and creativity for schools, community centres and organisations.
Nancy Sposato - Creative Director
Nancy Sposato’s creative practice draws from various creative mediums. Her undertaking of a BA in Creative Arts (Victorian College of the Arts/Melbourne University 2002) was the catalyst to her working across both the performing and visual arts.
Her early professional career focused on the performing arts (physical theatre) with extensive national and international touring experience with popular Australian arts company Strange Fruit and leading interactive theatre company Melbourne Playback Theatre Company.
Since 2015 Sposato has worked as co-artistic director of The Ball Room Projects, producing, devising and performing in live participatory installations for children and families. ArtPlay, The City of Melbourne has been a strong supporter of the companies work with commissions for Moomba 2018 and OpenHouse Melbourne 2018 and 2019.
Sposato has extensive experience facilitating preschoolers to professional artists in creative practice through school arts residencies, community workshops and with organisations such as Melbourne Theatre Company, The Victorian Arts Centre and the Victorian College of the Arts.
Since relocating to the small coastal town of Nambucca Heads NSW in 2015, Sposato commenced her visual marketing business Nancy Sposato Projects. The inclusion campaign Accept Difference managed by Sposato was awarded the “Champions of Inclusion Award” by Early Childhood Intervention NSW/ACT and a finalist for the 2017 “NSW Disability Industry Innovation Awards” from the National Disability Services.
Sposato established Nambucca Heads Arts Studio in 2018, delivering weekly visual arts sessions for adults and youth. In 2019 she began the development of a new devised performance work, exploring discourse around climate. In February Sposato will deliver a creative bushfire recovery workshop for people directly affected by bushfires in her local shire, this process will inform the new work and was made possible by the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund.
Zoë Barry - Sound Composition
Zoë is a cellist, composer, sound artist, and performance maker based in Kyneton, Victoria. She works across immersive theatre, film, gallery installations and chamber music.
Zoë is currently co creating Path Theatre Company’s Lighthousefor Adelaide Festival, and composing Back To Back Theatre’s Theatre of Speed’s Dreams Feel Real…, and is a key artist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s 2020 collaboration with Theatre Of Speed. She was Musical Director for the Federation Handbell’s Wonderlandsat Melbourne Recital Centre’s Music Play2020 Festival. She is a 2020/21 CultureLAB recipient for her new work The Nervous Atmosphere, a solo piece she created whilst on residencies at the Lucid Art Foundation and Historical Damsite in the U.S. in 2019.
Recent projects include scoring feature film Animals (Sundance 2019, MIFF, UK & Europe release), Mountains Rise- a 4 hour immersive sound piece with Back To Back Theatre’s Theatre Of Speed, and Drop Bear Theatre’s seasons of Rainat the Lincoln Center, NY, Hong Kong and Macau. She is a member of The Letter String Quartet, co-creating TLSQ x ASMRfor Arts House’ FOLA 2018, and commissioning new works by composers including Mick Harvey, and Andrea Keller.
Zoë’s gallery commissions include sound collages for Bendigo Gallery’s Gothic Beauty, Kyneton Contemporary’s 2018 Art Triennial Force Fields, and Stockroom Gallery’s Feast.
Zoë is the solo ghost cellist in Christian Wagstaff’s House Of Mirrors (Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbae Festivals), and was Acting Musical Director for Meow Meow’s The Little Mermaid(Australian, NZ & Edinburgh).
Zoë has co-created many beloved theatre works for families that continue to tour, including Patch Theatre’s Emily Loves To Bounceand Me And My Shadow, DropBear Theatre’s Rain, The Boy Who Loved Tiny Thingsand Mountains Of Kindness, and Cat Sewell and Nancy Sposato’s The Ball Room and Party Animal Disco.
Sam Doyle - Lighting Design
Sam a has a wealth of experience in production, technical management. Specialising in lighting and rigging, he has worked for over 10 years in a range of fields including circus, dance, theatre, large-scale events and festivals, touring works both internationally and across Australia.
Sam is passionate about projects which present unusual challenges and require creative problem solving, whether it be facilitating 520 shows in 30 days at an international arts festival or realising the vision of a small project by programming complex and intricate lighting sequences. He always looks to discover new methods of applying his technical knowledge and loves the opportunity to work diverse range of creatives, performers and doers of all kinds.
Previous projects and credits include:
Dance North: Attractor, Jodie Mundy: Personal, Briefs Factory, Chasing Smoke, Circus OZ, NICA, Melbourne Salami Festa, Yirramboi Festival, Melbourne Festival, Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne Theatre Company, Dark Mofo, Marriner Group, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Bamboozled Productions, Royal Croquet Club, Falls Festival, Splendour in the Grass, Double Denim, Sydney Festival