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Language/Cultural Consultants


Jody Barney

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Jody’s Bio

Jody is a Birri-Gubba / Urganan Deaf woman from South East Queensland. Now living and working from the regional city of Shepparton Victoria, Jody is a descendent and survivor of the stolen generation, working to improve the quality of life and communication for all Indigenous people. As a consultant in her own business ‘Deaf Indigenous Community Consultancy’, Jody’s background is in Business, Community Development, Youth and Disability, Visual Interpretation and leadership. Jody has over 25 years’ experience in the field, as well as on boards and committees.

Jody is passionate about embracing diversity and leadership, advocacy and human rights. Jody continues to work together with community, government and corporate sector on inclusion and equality in business and communication management.


Bobbie Blackson

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Bobbie’s Bio


Bobbie Blackson was introduced to live theatre at the tender age of 16 when her mother took her to see the National Theatre of the Deaf when they came out from the USA for their first ever Australian tour. She was hooked!

She chose drama as a minor course during her university days as well as treading the boards for the Queensland Theatre of the Deaf. She attended many performances over the years: loving the colours, the movements, the dramatic moments, the sad moments, the creativity and cleverness of the sets. Her deep love of literature has also led her to follow how the story was translated onto stage and into movies; personal childhood favourites being The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, The Lord of the Ring series, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz amongst many others.

She has worked on a translation of The Hobbit (just one chapter!) for a video project and loved reading stories in Auslan to her grandchildren when they were younger. She also loves taking young members of her family to the theatre where possible to pass on her love of theatre and to see the same love instilled and grow in others is always a great pleasure.

She looks forward to having a small hand in the ongoing greening and flourishing of an emerging deaf cultural renaissance in Brisbane.

Recent work for Auslan Stage Left includes Black Diggers (September 2014), Christmas Carols (December 2014).


James Blyth

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James’ Bio


James is one of Victoria’s most experienced Auslan teachers, working full-time at Vicdeaf. He also teaches interpreter students at RMIT. Across both of these roles he acts as a trainer, assessor, translator and presenter on information videos. James has a Bachelor of Ed (LOTE Auslan) and is a Deaf Relay Interpreter.

James has consulted on a number of high profile productions such as Melbourne Theatre Company’s “Tribes” and “Constellations” and a Hollywood movie, “Knowing”, starring Nicholas Cage. He has also consulted on plays for Malthouse Theatre, namely “The Wild Duck”, “Blood Wedding”, “Dance of Death” and “The Dragon”.

James favourite stage productions are “Wicked” and “The Wild Duck”. James recently worked on ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’.


Melissa Bryson

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Melissa’s Bio


Melissa is a qualified Teacher of the Deaf teaching Deaf and Hard of Hearing students at Furlong Park School for the Deaf. She has a Diploma of Auslan Teaching and Deaf Relay Interpreter qualification. She has taught Auslan to children of many ages, including areas such as Auslan Community School, families with Deaf children, and teaching adults in Tafe. She used to attend her daughters’ Deaf school to sign stories to other Deaf students. She also works as a relay interpreter to many Deaf children.

Melissa is a mother of two Deaf daughters, and she has always enjoyed signing stories before their bedtime. She is also a proud grandmother to a Deaf grandson and another one is on its way very soon. She looks forward to taking them to watch Auslan interpreted children’s theatre when they are old enough! Melissa is passionate about giving Deaf children access, especially using Auslan at their appropriate age levels.

Melissa is delighted to be part of Auslan Stage Left and work closely with interpreters to ensure that the audiences will enjoy the performances as much as possible. Her first project to work on will be Thomas and the Hidden Treasure in July and looks forward to many projects in the near future.


Marnie Kerridge

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Marnie’s Bio


Marnie is a teacher of the deaf with a Bachelor of Education in Auslan LOTE. She is an avid lover of musicals and loves nothing more that attending big budget productions and watching DVDS of musicals with captions.

Her appreciation of music came from her 15 years of participation in calisthenics, where she had to perform a variety of exercises including march, dance and rods to music. She also enjoys poetry and literature, and cites Shakespeare, the Bronte sisters’ work and the Anne of Green Gables series as personal favourites. It was a natural process to combine music and stories to a love of theatre.

The first interpreted production seen was Beauty and the Beast. From there she was hooked. Her favourite stage productions are Phantom of the Opera which she has seen about 6 times, Wicked and Les Miserables.

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Stephanie Linder

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Stephanie’s Bio

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Stephanie is a deaf actress, respected language consultant and deaf interpreter (in both Auslan and International Sign). She has an appreciation for arts and has a Bachelor of Arts, minoring in film studies and photojournalism. She has a background in acting starting with a stint on acclaimed Australian drama, Prisoner, as a toddler. She also had small parts in various TV advertisements in her teenage years. Her recent comeback was in the theatre production ‘the Silent Monologues’ and one woman show ‘Monologue of a deaf woman’. She is an avid theatre goer, a passion introduced by her grandmother.

In her capacity as a language consultant, she advised on the production ‘I love you,’ the Wiggles stage show and several other productions informally. This was all done before deaf consultants were officially recognised as a role.

Stephanie was also granted the Ethel Temby grant while working at Arts Access Victoria to do a study tour in the UK about theatre interpreting. This was where the idea for the company ‘Auslan Stage Left’ was created. Stephanie’s personal goal is to reclaim the importance of the role of deaf interpreters in theatre interpreting.

Stephanie’s favourite stage productions are Billy Elliot and Wicked. She recently worked on King Kong and Phantom of the Opera.


Ramas Rentelis

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Ramas’s Bio

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Ramas Rentelis is a qualified teacher, Deaf interpreter and active member of the Deaf community. Ramas enjoys working with Auslan interpreters as a Deaf consultant, and recently completed my first Australian assignment as Deaf consultant with two fantastic interpreters for Melbourne Theatre Company’s ‘Night on Bald Mountain’. Ramas looks forward to continuing this consulting work in the future. As well as watching theatre Ramas enjoys sport, hiking, camping, and making movies!


Rachelle Stevens

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Rachelle’s Bio


Rachelle is a qualified teacher, works in the Early Years sector and has qualifications and experience in Auslan teaching and is a Deaf Relay Interpreter.

Growing up; she has always enjoyed going to the theatre, concerts, the ballet and circus – anything that is visually beautiful that draws you in. Her love and appreciation of The Arts grew after living in London for almost five years. Her favourite musicals in London were Matilda and Billy Elliott and she absolutely loved Annie in Melbourne and is eagerly (and patiently) waiting for Mary Poppins to return to Australia. She is pleased to see an increase of interpreted shows and events, thus giving Deaf and Hard of hearing patrons the opportunity to choose just like the mainstream community.

Rachelle just completed her first gig as a Language/Cultural consultant for The Production Company’s Guys and Dolls which she thoroughly enjoyed. She looks forward to continuing her working relationship with Auslan Stage Left and ensuring the access is of high quality for Deaf and Hard of hearing theatre goers.

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Medina Sumovic

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Medina’s Bio

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Medina is an acclaimed deaf actress, director and consultant. Her career has spanned over 15 years across different mediums such as theatre, film and DVD.

Her career as an actor within the deaf community started in 1995 with the Australian Theatre of the Deaf where she practiced her craft for the following 11 years. She then went on to work with the Freewheels Theatre, La Mama Theatre and Polygot Puppetry Theatre.

Medina has worked in dramaturge and choreography with a range of deaf performers (including hip hoppers and poets) and directed countless productions, “Him, Her, I”, “Theatre Sports”, “I’ll Remember”, “Silent Monologues”, and “Monologue of a Deaf Woman” to name a few.

Medina’s work has seen her contribute to major festivals and events such as the 2012 Gertrude Street Festival, 2012 Australian Deaf Games, the 2005 Deaflympics, Melbourne Fringe Festival, 2013 Midsumma and the St Kilda Film Festival.

Medina has collaborated on large scale musical theatre productions, as a deaf consultant, such as Hate, Hair: The Rock Musical, Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, Billy Elliot, Mamma Mia, Mary Poppins, War Horse, Guys and Dolls, and many more. Her favourite productions? Wicked and Billy Elliot. Medina is currently consulting on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Grease.