2020 Helpmann Fellowship Recipients

9 April 2020

Two South Australian emerging artists will be undertaking career-defining opportunities valued at up to $20,000 each after being awarded 2020 Helpmann Fellowships, supported by the James and Diana Ramsay Foundation.

Awarded annually since 2017, the Helpmann Fellowships present one of the most significant funding opportunities for emerging creatives in South Australia.

Alexis Luke of Walkerville (theatre maker/actor and Flinders University graduate) will spend eight weeks of intensive actor-training and mentorship with UK-based actor/academic Jane Arnfield. Alexis will be working alongside Jane, Mike Alfreds and David Glass to learn how to unleash the expressive potential of an actor’s body in solo performances and how to emphasise physical manifestations of an actor’s emotional journey. Alexis will also make a trip to Poland to visit the Institute of Eulogy to acquire skills in conducting biographical narrative interviews. The outcome of this training will be the creation of a one-person devised show about destigmatising mental health through personal experiences.

Anastasia Comelli of West Croyden (filmmaker and Flinders University graduate) will undertake an eight-week directing course at the MET Film School in Berlin, Germany in 2021. The Eight-Week Directing course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive foundation in directing, with a focus on directing actors and screen storytelling.

For Alexis, the Fellowship gives him a chance to explore international physical theatre communities, while expanding his own knowledge to bring home.

“Receiving a Helpmann Fellowship has been an extremely humbling and important experience for me. Helpmann recognises the importance of supporting emerging artists to develop rich, unique artistic practices through supporting tailored learning opportunities that are sourced by artists themselves. Supporting artists in refining and deepening their practice is paramount for the future of the arts in South Australia, and with the devastation we are currently experiencing thanks to COVID-19, this support is more important than ever before.”

For Anastasia, the Fellowship is an opportunity to elevate her filmmaking practice to a professional level. 

“I’m over the moon and are very thankful for this opportunity that Helpmann and the James and Diana Ramsay Foundation has awarded me with. I’ve wanted to undertake a fellowship through Helpmann for the longest time and now I am able to develop my practice and expand my knowledge as a director. This Fellowship will allow me to take my love of directing to a professional level and give me the skills required for a lifelong career in directing and film production processes.”  

Kerry de Lorme, Executive Director at the James and Diana Ramsay Foundation (JDRF) says that the Helpmann Fellowships are career-defining opportunities.

“The JDRF are pleased to support The Helpmann Academy who provide support directly to artists for future career development and for the benefit of the arts in South Australia. These opportunities are likely to be career-changing, and for Alexis and Anastasia to be awarded these at a time when the arts industry is in crisis, I am sure will be great validation for them.”

Images: Anastasia Comelli (left) on set, photo courtesy of the artist. Alexis Luke performs in Restless Dance’s Intimate Space with Jiana Georgiou, photo by Shane Reid.

The Helpmann Fellowships are made possible through a grant from The James and Diana Ramsay Foundation. The James and Diana Ramsay Foundation fosters excellence in the arts and is committed to supporting high-quality arts programs to encourage a robust arts sector and increase its accessibility.