Chrissy Keepence was born in Bundaberg on Taribelang land some time last century then spent the next few decades in Darwin on the lands of the Larrakia people.
26 years ago Chrissy moved to the lands of the Kombumerri families of the Yugambeh Language Region for love and family. Since being here she has mastered the niche artistry of Vintage Styling building a sustainable business with the Lindy Charm School. Alongside the Charm School Chrissy, with husband Ray, have been swing dancing and teaching since 1996 with their swing dance school Swing on In. Chrissy and Ray learnt their craft from some of the best swing dance masters in the world and still currently teach on the Gold Coast and Northern NSW.
Chrissy also runs a not-for-profit charity called Beauties Feeling Fabulous that provides pamper days and ongoing support for women and their families living with cancer, a passion very close to her heart.
With her multi disciplines Chrissy has curated and hosted numerous events and nostalgia festivals and has dedicated her skills to making the Gold Coast a more vibrant and colourful place to be.
Having performed or undertaken styling with BLEACH* Festival for many years, Chrissy has always secretly wanted to be a part of the BLEACH* Team on a more permanent basis and is thrilled to be onboard now assisting in delivering iconic curated arts and cultures festivals for the City of the Gold Coast.
Everything Chrissy does is about community engagement and perpetuates her mantra of maximising the enjoyment of life. “It’s all about Family, Fun and Giving Back” she says!
Claire moved to the Gold Coast from Brisbane 12 years ago, so is almost considered a local.
“I was born and raised in Brunswick Heads, so I’ve only ever lived about a 100kms either side of the city,” she says. “The Jellurgal ‘Oceanview Track’ walk is my favourite place on the Coast. It’s a beautiful walk through such a special, spiritual place. Take in the amazing view, hopefully spot a whale or some dolphins and finish up with a dip in Talle Creek.”
Claire has over 10 years experience working in an eclectic mix of events in a variety of industries, including universities, not-for-profits, craft beer and hospitality. Claire has been at Placemakers* Gold Coast for four years and has a passion for large-scale, site-specific work. Claire graduated from Griffith University with a Bachelor of Applied Theatre in 2006 and returned to complete her Master of Arts and Media in 2015.
Growing up on Bundjalung country in Northern NSW, Emma-June spent much of her time in the theatres of the Gold Coast, going on to train in music theatre performance at NIDA and then completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Drama) from QUT in 2012.
Since then she has worked for several arts organisations as a producer and administrator, including Queensland Music Festival, Artslink QLD, James Morrison Academy of Music and HOTA. She is particularly passionate about community engagement, access and inclusion and has served as a Board Member of Sprung! Integrated Dance Theatre and is currently Creative Producer with Aha Ensemble, a disability-led artist collective operating across South-East Queensland.
Whilst the majority of her producing and administrative practice has centred around contemporary performance and live music, she remains passionate about music theatre and continues to develop an emerging directing practice in this area.
Jo has worked on the Gold Coast since 2014 alongside great creative industry professionals and key community members passionate about the arts and culture transformation throughout the city.
“Having been raised in Brisbane, frequent trips to the Gold Coast and surrounding hinterland areas were part of family life, and becoming independent with my own wheels, there were many more trips down the highway to go to the beach whenever I could.”
Between 2014 and 2019, Jo was fortunate enough to deliver the annual South Stradbroke Island Indigenous Artist Camp and have unique ‘on country’ experiences alongside the artists.
“If I can get back over to South Stradbroke regularly, I do, but I am happy to connect with other special places on the Coast, like Tallebudgera, Currumbin or Jellurgal (Burleigh headland) for a swim or walk throughout the natural areas.”
Jo has successfully worked across government for 25 years, including a photography cadetship completed in 1999 at the State Library of Queensland. She’s passionate about continuing to document people and places, especially through the arts. Later Jo worked in the City of Gold Coast Arts and Culture unit, and now she’s the First Nation Curator at Placemakers*.
“I love working in the creative arts industry and especially working in a city with a beach lifestyle.”
Jo grew up in Brisbane and spent most of her weekends on the Gold Coast before the pull of the Coast drew her here full-time.
“Our first place was overlooking Tallebudgera Creek and I fell in love with the lifestyle and everyday beach days!” she says. “I then moved to Mermaid Beach, which was amazing, being able to walk to the Nobby shops, restaurants and bars. I now live in Elanora, which is extremely centrally located so I can still enjoy the best of the Gold Coast. I love so many places on the Gold Coast but one of my favourite spots is Burleigh. There is always so much activity, there are places to eat and, of course, the surf to watch on the hill.”
Jo worked in an accounting firm for seven years before moving into providing accounting expertise to the Gold Coast’s leading arts organisations – Placemakers* Gold Coast, The Farm and Everybody Now, to name a few.
Originally from Portugal, Jorge has been living on the Gold Coast for the last four years. Since then, he has been an active member within the arts and cultural community in Queensland and Australia, developing an artistic practice alongside his professional one.
As a Communications and Marketing professional, Jorge has over 12 years experience in developing strategies, managing brands and delivering campaigns in diverse contexts, like ecommerce, finance and lifestyle; and companies, from multinational corporations to start-ups.
“For me, values of community, cooperation and progress sit at the core of my professional practice, and I’m happy to be in a company that upholds those values, from the inside- out”.
When not in the office, you can find him with an ice cream in hand, chasing after his greyhound Saramago, or tinkering in his photography studio.
Kasmira grew up on the Gold Coast after her family took the leap over the Tasman from New Zealand. From schooling in Benowa to a Science degree at Griffith University, she always seemed to make new friends in the performing arts.
“After graduating I took to the skies and travelled through Europe, Asia and Canada but always called the Gold Coast home.”
Kasmira has over 15 years experience working in project coordination across a mix of industries, including event management, construction, tourism and community engagement. She has worked in varied roles within the Placemakers* Gold Coast and BLEACH* team, from volunteering in the early days to contracting as a stage manager and projects coordinator, and helping on various events over the years.
When Kasmira is not organising events, she is soaking up the beautiful landscapes of the Gold Coast, either from the ocean, surfing waves, diving or paddling down Currumbin Creek, or riding through the rainforests on her motorbike or camped out under the stars. She also helps to coordinate the Welcome Ceremony at Woodford Folk Festival, making fire props and working alongside Jinabara mob and local ambassadors to build large-scale outdoor community theatre in place.
Her passion for outdoor, site-specific work continues to grow with the awareness of the role of arts and culture plays in our community in telling stories of place, inspired by the landscapes of our coastline and country.
Kat’s passion for the industry has led the way for opportunities across production, operations and programming / producing some of Australia’s most beloved events. Some highlights include VIVID, White Night Melbourne, Edinburgh Fringe, Brisbane Festival and St Kilda Festival.
When she’s not chasing after her Rottweiler Nessy, you’ll find her getting her hands dirty on an event site; up a scissor lift, on a forklift, managing a stage, assisting artists (and sometimes, preparing a cheese board). Kat has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with BLEACH* / Placemakers* since 2017, lending her unique skill set across a variety of roles from operations and logistics, production manager and now producer.
Passionate about contributing to creative growth of the Gold Coast, Kat’s strength lies in fostering the arts and showcasing new possibilities to residents and visitors alike. Kat brings with her a wealth of experience from freelance contracts spanning small events/activations to large state government, not for profit to commercial events across the Eastern/Southern Coast of Australia and the UK.
As a kid, Rosie Dennis moved between Pottsville and Murwillumbah on the NSW Tweed Coast and many of her adolescent adventures were played out on the Gold Coast. These days her favourite place on the Gold Coast is Natural Bridge, the spectacular natural rock and water feature in the hinterland.
After building her arts career in Sydney over the past 20 years, the last six as Director and CEO of Urban Theatre Projects, Rosie is loving re-discovering the Gold Coast as CEO and Artistic Director of BLEACH* Festival and Placemakers* Gold Coast.
“Creating new work with and for a place is something I really love to do and has been a part of my artistic practice for a long time.”
For more than 15 years, Rosie has curated and delivered large-scale cultural experiences with and for a range of stakeholders. She is a well-respected arts leader who is best known for developing and delivering projects in collaboration with diverse social and cultural communities. Her work has contributed to a national conversation about contemporary place-based practice, and the role arts and culture plays in building community and liveable cities.
Prior to joining Placemakers* Gold Coast, Rosie was the CEO/Artistic Director Urban Theatre Projects. During her tenure she curated the award-winning BANKSTOWN:LIVE, conceived and directed the theatrical triptych, Home Country, and directed two documentaries, Bre & Back and One Day for Peace.
Growing up in Melbourne, in her earlier twenties Sue set off to explore the world, taking some 10 years to return to Australia, before calling the Gold Coast home for the past 20 years. Raising her two boys and beloved pooch (Billy Bob) here, Sue’s passion for community engagement saw her join several local community organisations and Boards, raking up some great experience in events management on the Gold Coast.
Sue was one of the creative minds and producers of Varsity Winterfest and Vibe Market, then joining Somerset Storyfest to produce many of its outdoor events, including the annual Storyfest Beach Library and the Storyfest on the Road programme.
As someone who is very much involved in the Gold Coast arts community, her ambition to produce culturally rich and diverse events is what inspired her join the Placemakers* team, where she hopes to continue to create work that excites and connects our community.
During her downtime, you’ll find her at what she calls her “happy place” Jellurgal (Burleigh Hill) walking, swimming or just being, it’s where she goes to recharge and absorb the energy of this ageless beauty, and to remind herself of how fortunate she is to live in this special place.