Meet the Committee
TAMARA DAHMEN- PRESIDENT
Tam has had a passion for the performing arts since the first time she realised everything she saw in the movies was all staged and everyone was playing pretend. Originally from Queensland, Tam undertook a Bachelor of Education at Griffith University with majors in English and Drama. She finished her degree (and made it a double) at La Trobe University here in Victoria. She has since been involved in almost every aspect of theatre production and stage craft as writer, director, actor, choreographer, producer, stage manager, lighting and sound crew to name a few. Tam has worked with Victorian companies such as Gemco Players, Brunswick Women’s Theatre and Eltham as well as various Brisbane companies. Yet despite working with on other gigs with other companies, Hartwell seems to be the place Tam calls home. She very much hopes to do the company, her predecessors and her fellow theatre comrades proud.
CHRIS O’NEILL- VICE PRESIDENT
Chris is a relative newcomer to Hartwell and is pleased to join such a talented group of dedicated people at Melbourne’s oldest amateur theatre company. He started back acting in 2015 with Gemco Community Players with While Their Names Are Still Spoken, Canterbury Tales as The Merchant and Nicholas. In 2017 he performed in Gemco’s and Page to Stage’s Macbeth as King Duncan and Old Seward where he was lucky to be performing with his son, Conor (who has been nominated for a Lyrebird Award) and also met the love of his life, Tam Dahmen. Most recently he was Mr Bumble in Oliver! Also at Gemco. As a writer he has won Gemco’s Take Ten Short Play Festival two years running with Anywhere But Home (2016) and Liar (2017). Chris has a background in journalism, marketing and government but prefers to write, act, sing and mix with his theatre folk people!
COLIN DONALD- TREASURER
Colin is like the Google search engine of the Hartwell Players. Ask him any question about the group and after wracking his brain he is almost certain to come up with an answer, possibly the right one. After decades of being actor, writer, sound designer, director, AV creator, stage manager, props builder, newsletter editor, website designer, set builder and committee member for Melbourne oldest theatre company he has reached the exalted position of Life Member. And they still can’t rid of him. Colin has parlayed his experiences at Hartwell into being a professional performer and writer. That’s meant playing everything from Santa Claus (“Melbourne’s best” he says) to zombies, with the occasional serial killer thrown in. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Neighbours, Bed of Roses, Rush and TV commercials have all used Colin’s skills on television, but perhaps he is best known in medical circles. There he is one of Victoria’s leading simulated patients – acting out “live” medical scenarios to doctors, students, psychologists, paramedics, physiotherapists, et al. With regards to his writing, Colin’s work has been performed or read in many countries – often winning prizes (at events such as Crash Test Drama and one act play festivals). He has achieved similar success with his acting in Melbourne, but he counts his greatest acting prize as finding his beautiful tabby cat, the much adored Lady M. She was found as an abandoned tiny kitten after wailing beneath the Hartwell stage while he was performing King Duncan in Macbeth. Better than any Oscar!
JODI SANDERS- SECRETARY
After a 28 year absence from theatre, Jodi has been moonlighting from her usual “corporate roles” and returned to the stage. Jodi made her Hartwell Players debut in Love, Loss and What I Wore in 2017, and then supported props and costumes for The Laramie Project. Having previously performed in many stage productions including ‘Tartuffe’, ‘Taming of the Shrew’, ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona’, ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’, ‘Brigadoon’ and original productions like ‘Going On’ and ‘Wonderful to be Wicked. Jodi return, now marks her renewed commitment to community theatre for Hartwell as the company secretary, she also is on the committee for the Victorian Drama League (VDL). Jodi has extensive Senior Leadership experience in all areas of National / International Operations focused on Customer Service, Learning and Development, Human Resources, Marketing and Communications across many industry sectors. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (major in theatre) and a Masters of Management.
DOMINIC WATT- GENERAL COMMITTEE
The definition of theatre child in the dictionary is a picture of Dominic. Growing up in a house with parents who both performed meant that at an early age Dominic was exposed to all aspects of theatre, particularly dance and only slightly later theatre. Both parents of his are life members of The Hartwell Players and so at about 6, Dominic was thrust onstage as a Duck in Hartwell’s production of Toad of Toad Hall in which his dad Xavier played the title character. With no fear of the stage Dominic started dancing at the age of 4 at BDC where he now teaches drama. For the last 3 years Dominic has also been taking a more active role in the youth theatre world, assisting the Victorian Drama League as a youth committee member. This, coupled with the annual youth theatre summer program that his mother runs, has set him up to be an active participant on the current and past committees of Hartwell Players. A strong advocate for young performers, Dominic this year has taken a step into the world of directing, with his directorial debut at the upcoming Theatrecraft Youth Unlimited Summer Program an exciting prospect for him. A teacher in development, Dominic while teaching at BDC Dance and education at Deakin he does contract work for high schools, getting taken on as a VET Dance teacher for the past two years at two different colleges. Dominic is looking forward to the year ahead as Hartwell moves into its 80th year and is most excited about the one acts where he will be stretching his directorial muscles for only the second time.
KELLIE TWEEDDALE- GENERAL COMMITTEE
Kellie has been involved with community theatre as both an actor and director for 25 years, having begun her adventures with Camberwell Youth Theatre. Since then she has worked with such companies as Hartwell, Peridot, Eltham, Lilydale, Encore, STAG and Essendon. Kellie has a B.Ed in Drama and has worked extensively with the VDL Summer and Winter Youth schools, as well as directed many pantomimes involving children. Whilst juggling her family of two young boys, Kellie runs her own photography business and works part time facilitating a drama group for adults with disabilities. The Hartwell Players holds a special place in Kellie’s heart as it is where she met her husband Ian, and she’s delighted to be on board to celebrate their 80th birthday.
SUSANNAH WOODWARD- GENERAL COMMITTEE
With a background in communications and marketing, copywriting, radio and voiceovers, Susannah has recently re-discovered her passion for theatre after being cast in the 2017 Hartwell Players production of the Laramie Project. The Laramie Project was Susannah’s first foray into acting since high school. Having sharpened her vocal chords as a commercial radio voice artist for over ten years and focused on a career in marketing and communications, she is now passionate about sharing her skills with the Hartwell Players Committee whilst learning about the world of community theatre. Susannah grew up in the (less than) temperate climes of Ballarat and currently works in higher education branding. She also freelances as a copywriter and voice artist, and most importantly, has an obsession with glitter.