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Arete Zeta poster. Arete logo - the letter A with the word Arete and two banners reading "Manifesting unique thought through innovative performance & visual art". Performance dates Friday 5th and Saturday 6th August, 7:30pm at Cube 37. Prompts - a hand holding playing cards, Jacinda Ardern quote

Areté is a festival of short plays, performance works and visual arts manifesting unique thought through innovative performance and visual arts.

Dionysus Theatre focuses on a theme each year that sparks artists to reflect on our society and its morals. Writers and Artists of any medium can submit their short scripts or visual works for consideration.


‘If you sit and wait to feel like the most confident person in the room, you are probably going to be left by yourself.’

- Jacinda Ardern

a cartoon hand holding playing cards. From left to right: Ace of hearts, Jack of clubs, Queen of hearts, King of diamonds, 10 of hearts.

Artist: Monique Kleidon


The Girl Who Could Fly

Playwright: Carmen Saarelaht

Director: Cadi-Ann MacInness

Amy: Christina Percival

Mother: Kathleen Ronchi

Jonathan/Psychiatrist: Mitchell McDonough

Camper: Vicky Karitinos

The Lady in Black

Playwright: Elizabeth Sinclair

Director: Paul Barry

Gertrude: Freya Timmer-Arends

Censor 1: Mitchell McDonough

Censor 2: Jett Thomas

Doctor: Francesco Di Tacchio

The Session

Playwright: Sally Davies

Director: Gabrielle Rando

Therapist: Vicky Karitinos

Tabitha: Bella Barker

Dave: Rory Rouillon

Jenny: Rachel Hockley

Chris: Ruth Gilmour

New Therapist: Matt Allen

Quick Maffs

Playwright: Hayley Ditcham

Director: Danni Vrondou

Alistair: Rory Rouillon

Marie: Christina Percival

Luciano: Francesco Di tacchio

Ashley: Brianna Nam

Chris: Matt Allen

Kate: Freya Timmer-Arends

Robert: Jett Thomas

John: Mitch McDonough

Interludes by Callum Staford


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Carmen Saarelaht (she/her)

The Girl Who Could Fly

Carmen has been writing since a short story (Small Town Girl) was published in New Idea in 1958. She has written scripts for Crawford Productions, Channel 9 and the ABC. She is an award-winning playwright, and has been four times a finalist in the Playhouse Players’ National Playwright Competition. She says it is “[d]ifficult to say how or why I wrote the play “The Girl Who Could Fly”? Something just came to me by itself, and then took off, a mix of unfettered fantasy and stark realism. Feelings of ecstasy, doubt and incredible grief, ending in madness.”

Elizabeth Sinclair

The Lady in Black


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Hayley Ditcham (she/her)

Quick Maffs

Each individual has a personal relationship with confidence. The ability to spin enough of it, like gold, into the fearlessness required to speak one's mind does not come easily. With the rise of social media, our attitudes, opinions and actions are scrutinised more than ever before. There is, however, a vast difference between safeguarding anonymity as a keyboard warrior, and facing the consequences of spoken words.

Comparing the two themes for Dionysus Theatre's Arete - Zeta season, it struck me that life is very much like a card game. It involves risk, luck, skill, gambling, trust, bluffing and confidence. Jacinda Ardern's quote regarding confidence added to my curiosity of the psychology of group-think, pack mentality, peer pressure and the responsibility of our leaders, both present and future, to act for what is right and challenge what is wrong.

Sally Davies (she/her)

The Session

Why you were drawn to the theme and how it influenced you?

I thought the theme had great potential as I find humans’ quest for confidence and self-improvement fascinating and wanted to explore that in a humorous way. Everywhere you turn there’s another wannabe inspirational speaker spouting their views at you about how you can make yourself “better” (yay for social media) so I thought I’d seize that idea and explore a story where they were all enabling each other. Actually, this play could probably be regarded as my own therapy session as it has given me an opportunity to air some of the things that grieve me about the “motivational speaker” space.!


Why this play?

I’m not sure to be honest! I think that motivational speakers provide great comic fodder so once I found my link to the theme, and started typing, the inspiration kept coming and the play almost emerged on its own! I was also intent on writing a comedy as I think we can all need laughter at the moment.


Previous artistic experience and/or aspirations

Over the last 12 years, I have had short plays performed in over 30 festivals and events around Australia and overseas, plus one full length play (a Christmas comedy) performed in Newcastle and Grafton. The goal is to keep honing my craft with more short and full-length plays, and to stop procrastinating and finish my radio play so that it can “go to air”!

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Sue Langwill (she/her)

Sue Langwill is a Visual Artist and Art teacher that has worked professionally in the creative industries for over 20 years. She has had many art exhibitions featuring her paintings and sculptures as well as experiences as a Set designer for conventions/Canberra Theatre and a variety of productions. Throughout the years Sue has worked in various mediums including clay, drawing, painting, printing. The themes explored in her artworks revolve around the figure, emotions, subconscious thought, body language ,personality types and interactions within groups of people.

Her style ranges from textural abstract forms (2D and 3D) filled with colour and life, texture and expression, to more figurative artforms of late. 

Originally from Sydney, Sue has lived, worked, and created in Young, Newcastle (Aus), Yorkshire, England, China, Canberra and currently lives and works in Melbourne, Australia.

Olivia Corrigan (she/her)

Olivia Corrigan is an emerging visual artist located on the Mornington Peninsula. Exploring a range of mediums, Olivia has a specific passion for painting, utilising both traditional and mixed media techniques. Growing up, Olivia has always had dreams of pursuing a creative career, which has led her to her current studies of a Bachelor of Design Arts at LCI Melbourne. Having an open mind and intuitive lead focus for creating is an important part of Olivia’s practice, as her style and interests continue to evolve within her work. Whilst Olivia describes her work as intuitive and an experience of playing, there are a range of recurring motifs and themes in her work that play a huge part in recognising her work. Feminism, the human form, symbolism and social commentary are to name a few. Regardless of the outcome, Olivia focuses on the experience of creating and allowing her feelings and thoughts to flow through the work, opening up her work to interpretation.

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Bella Barker (she/her)

Bella Barker is thrilled to be acting in The Session in Areté Zeta. Bella most recently performed the role of Detective Dani in Oopsy Daisy (Drama King Theatre Company) at the MC Showroom. Other theatre roles include the lead roles Her in 000: The Play (Melbourne Creatives) and Miss Duck in Inspector Drake’s Last Case (Brighton Theatre Company). This is Bella’s second Areté festival, having been a dancer in Areté: Epsilon in 2019. She hopes you enjoy the show!

Brianna Nam (she/her)

Brianna is an actor who enjoys comedy and creative writing. MAFFS is Briannas second theatre production since 2020 (in the words of gen Z - “it's been a hot minute”). During the lockdowns she wrote, directed and acted in a few DIY short films. She has performed in various productions in the past and collaborated with different creative artists. These include MTC's - KNICKERS (2020) and Toast and tea short film (2020). Aside from acting, she also enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends.

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Callum Straford (he/him)

Callum Straford is a Comedian, Musician and Actor from Melbourne. He has participated in the 2021 & 2022 Melbourne International Comedy Festivals, writing and performing in his own solo shows, Your Best Worst Nightmares and Oops. Callum currently has a Netflix Special in the works, and it'll be released someday when Netflix responds to his emails. He will, however, be performing a season of Oops during the 2022 Melbourne Fringe in October, at The Butterfly Club.

Christina Percival (she/her)

Christina Percival is an emerging actor, recently graduated from Monash University. She was part of a live digital ensemble piece directed by Marcel Dornay in 2020. She has always loved acting, and she devised her own solo drama piece when she was 18. 

She most enjoys exploring dramatic and tragic roles, and loves a snappy comedy. She looks forward to bringing her performances to audiences around the world.

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Francesco Di Tacchio (he/him)

Francesco moved to Australia from Italy  in 2012. He is passionate about drama acting and films, and has participated in a Meisner technique class and is looking to continue his acting educational journey. He has performed in some short films and is making his stage debut in Arete Zeta. Francesco works at the Arts Centre Melbourne and is fascinated by the live performance scenery.

Freya Timmer-Arends (she/her)

Freya is thrilled to be back at Dionysus Theatre after performing in last years (much post-poned) production of Yerma. Some of her previous performances include Reporter 2 / Germaine in Never the Sinner with 1812 Theatre, and the role of Vera Claythorne in And Then There Were None with Malvern Theatre Company. She also received a VDL nomination for her performance of Johanna in Sweeney Todd with Beaumaris Theatre.

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Jett Thomas (he/him)

Jett has worked on many projects both on and behind the stage, he starred as Macbeth in Macbeth and Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet, with Dionysus Theatre. He has also directed several short plays in Dionysus Theatre's Arete Festival. He is very excited to be getting back on stage after an extended period of backstage work.

Kathleen Ronchi (she/her)

Kathleen is a performing arts teacher, as well as a singer, model and author. She has been seen in many productions around Melbourne, including a Best Actress VDL award, as well as in film and on TV. This is her first Arete festival.

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Matt Allen (he/him)

This is Matt’s first time performing in Arete having previously been a writer for most of the festivals. He is not a stranger to the Dionysus stage, however, having appeared in their first production Exit The King as Doctor back in 2012 and subsequently in Sock & Buskin in 2016 as Colin in Abortive and Terry in Mother Figure, and again in 2018 as Gerry in Easy Stages.

Mitchell McDonough (he/him)

Mitchell McDonough has been a theatre person for nearly 13 years now and has been involved in any way he can from stage managing to acting and loved every minute of it. He's excited about the opportunity to come back once more and have a blast acting in another Arete.

He hopes you enjoy the shows and that you have a truly sweet evening.

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Rachel Hockley (she/her)

Rachel Hockley, playing Jenny in "The Session", is a first time actor after having flunked Drama class in High School. Local to Frankston with a try anything once attitude and a stomach full of butterflies please keep your fingers and toes crossed at all times.

Rory Rouillon (he/him)

Rory is an aspiring actor who has worked with industries like Universal Pictures 1440 Entertainment, Aquarius Films as a background actor and has also done some modelling work for Chisolm Institute with some volunteer work for some independent films. Rory also aspires to more involved in the film/theatre industry as an actor or stagehand/crew to create and share media to all audiences globally or nationally.

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Ruth Gilmour (she/her)

Ruth graduated with a Bachelor of Dramatic Art from Excelsia College in 2013, and her passion for theatre has taken her all over the globe. In 2016, she toured with Italy-based company Theatrino and was inspired to develop her own shows as Co-Director of theatre company Babble Productions. Ruth recently appeared in 2021’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival as the character of Saint Peta in The Business of God and in 24 Carrot Production’s Sense and Sensibility: The Musical in 2022.

Vicky Karatinos (she/her)

Vicky Karitinos is honoured to be involved in Arete Zeta, her 4th Dionysus Theatre production. She immensely enjoys Dionysus' innovative approach to theatre and the welcoming, inclusive atmosphere of the company. The directors have an incredible knack of turning marvellous scripts into a potent, immersive and visceral experience for the audience. Vicky is proud and delighted to be part of Arete Zeta.

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Artistic Director

Melanie Thomas

Assistant Artistice Director

Gabrielle Rando

Production Manager

Theresa Holt

Assistant Production Manager

Eliza Scott

Head of Production

Calysta Morgan

Head of Direction

Lenora Locatelli

Head of Performance

Emma Sproule

Stage Manager

Kiara Martin-Pico

Marketing Director

Catherine Baker


Madeline Rintoul

Thanks to our supporters!

Monique Kleidon - Monique's Moments

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Dionysus Theatre acknowledges that we are on the traditional lands of the Bunurong, Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Peoples of the East Kulin Nations and pay our respect to their elders past, present and emerging. We extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

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