At AWE, we believe the Australian arts and entertainment community will benefit from a wider human experience via the wider participation of females in all aspects of arts and entertainment.

We are committed to increasing female-driven storytelling
and artistic leadership in Australia.


AWE promotes the creative, technical, production and management skills, outputs and achievements of females in Australian arts and entertainment with a view to:

  • foster gender parity among the leadership of arts and entertainment organisations.

  • increase female-driven storytelling across all forms.

  • increase the number of females working as creatives (including but not limited to writers, directors, composers, choreographers and designers), technicians, producers and managers.

AWE promotes and showcases female-driven stories across multiple disciplines that investigate the lived experience of females, especially where these stories investigate the intersectionality of female experience including, but not limited to ethnicity, age, disability, sexual preferences and culture.


AWE promotes flexible work arrangements in arts and entertainment workplaces and seeks to discover how these arrangements might further assist people with family responsibilities that often directly conflict with arts and entertainment working hours and networking opportunities.

AWE seeks to educate the wider community in safe workplace practices for all arts and entertainment workers, especially regarding best practices that support and maintain the physical and mental health of women.

AWE purposefully fosters a cross-generational community and seeks to understand and honour the history of females and the female creative contribution in the arts and entertainment community.

At AWE, we will regularly gather people together for the purpose of:

  • offering opportunities for female creatives, producers, managers, technicians and the wider theatre community to network.

  • showcasing female-driven storytelling across all forms through performances.

  • providing ‘kick-start’ discussions around financing female-driven work.

  • discussion and education around issues faced by females in the fields of arts and entertainment, led by industry leaders.

Our future projects under the working title, AWEsome Activities will create:

  • further employment opportunities for the female arts and entertainment community as their skills are formally introduced to the wider community.

  • confidence in the female arts and entertainment community as their creative contributions are acknowledged in an atmosphere of celebration

  • further employment opportunities for the female arts and entertainment community as women are educated in securing funds to create female driven work.

“Gender equality, equality between men and women, entails the concept that all human beings, both men and women, are free to develop their personal abilities and make choices without the limitations set by stereotypes, rigid gender roles and prejudices. Gender equality means that the different behaviour, aspirations and needs of women and men are considered, valued and favoured equally. It does not mean that women and men have to become the same, but that their rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born male or female. Gender equity means fairness of treatment for women and men, according to their respective needs. This may include equal treatment or treatment that is different but which is considered equivalent in terms of rights, benefits, obligations and opportunities.”

ABC Of Women Worker's Rights And Gender Equality, ILO, 2000. p. 48.


Chelsea Plumleyretouched.aRGB.jpeg

Chelsea Plumley is a musical theatre and cabaret artist, musician, host, producer, writer, teacher and television actor. She is passionate about making a difference through active service to communities and organisations that speak to her core values. Being President of AWE gives Chelsea the opportunity to work towards equal voice, equal representation for women in the Australia arts and entertainment industries but on a more personal level, it has energised her to nurture and honour her own unique female voice. She believes wholeheartedly in women collaborating and aligning their power to effect positive global change.

AWE President

Chelsea Plumley

Karen Vanspall BW smaller.jpg

After a couple of decades working as a performer and being an adult consumer of the Arts, I’ve noticed that fewer and fewer stories and characters resonate with me and worse, many even alienate or marginalise. I don’t see my experiences as a woman valued and reflected in our current artistic climate. This is because we, as a society, haven’t learnt how to regard the female voice in storytelling.

I hope, through AWE, we begin to challenge the position of the male narrative as the high-water mark against which everything else is measured.

Vice President and Secretary

Karen Van Spall


Having spent the majority of her acting career representing the minority on Australian screens and stages, Fiona is proud to be shining a light on female-driven works as part of AWE. She believes in the power of storytelling: that the sharing of perspective, imagination, pain and laughter is how we as humanity can unite, be inspired and heal.

In order for that to happen, all voices must be represented and be given access and opportunity. Plus it’s just plain exciting to see what intelligent, creative and passionate women can make!

Core Team

Fiona Choi


Walker...Performer/Writer/Musician/ Singing Teacher....My background is mainly Commercial Musical Theatre with a sprinkling of Opera and TV and a big dash of self devised and self Produced Cabaret.

I am very excited about our big day on Nov 11 as i believe when women unite....anything is possible!
I am looking forward to meeting a cross section of fabulous women from all areas of the Arts community and sharing our ideas....It will be AWEsome!

Core Team

Susan-ann Walker


Theresa has worked as a performer, writer, director and producer in subsidised, commercial and corporate workplaces.

She wants to know what her female colleagues are up to and be there to support them as we work together to produce female-driven stories and raise the visibility of female artistic leadership across all disciplines: thus AWE.

AWE President

Theresa Borg

MELANIE HILLMAN - 31 B 10x8_edited.jpg

Melanie maintains a diverse portfolio across a number of disciplines - as a performer, educator, director and creator. A founding member of Concrete Cloud Theatre Company, she has worked in theatre, musicals, cabaret, ballet, opera and television as well as developing new Australian works around the country.

A graduate of Monash University, the University of Tasmania and WAAPA, she is a passionate and tireless advocate of promoting the representation of women in the performing arts. She is excited by performance that challenges, excites and enlightens. She is also excited to be part of an alliance of exceptional women who support and facilitate future opportunities for all female creatives.

AWE Treasurer

Melanie Hillman

Janis in the garden.jpg

Musician, writer, arranger and concert curator, Janis Cook, has been drawn to the challenge of creating chamber music programmes for the 21st Century. Often employing related art forms and cultural touchstones to add context and meaning to the musical repertoire, Cook & Co. events aim to take the audience on a journey that is engaging and rewarding, irrespective of prior musical knowledge.

The recent Connections series incorporated literature, dance, visual art, narration, lighting and acting to inform and enhance a range of music for soprano, baritone, violin, cello, harp and piano.

Janis believes that art is not created in a vacuum, nor are the various streams mutually exclusive.

Core Team

Janis Cook


Melissa has been working in the performing arts since 1992. She is very pleased to be a part of this team, which consists of a group of very fine women, whom she is also pleased to call her friends. She feels that this is an important and relevant step in the current climate and is looking forward to being a part of the adventure.

Core Team

Melissa Langton