CuriousWorks has just launched Testing Grounds, a new experimental creative development and personal mentorship program for emerging artists trying to make new things. This new program, facilitated by Miranda Aguilar with mentorship support from Andrea Lim, will be supporting three emerging artists in their independent projects: Natasha Pontoh-Supit, Sivani Yaddanapudi and Kim Pham.

Their projects include a devised-theatre work exploring the history of feminism and activism,  a documentary in development around South Asian migrant children and their mothers, and a coming of age feature film around the beauty and burning awkwardness of first love, set in South West Sydney.  You can read more about the participants below!

The A- Z of the creative process is often weird and wonderful, but also opaque and confusing; it’s difficult to make new things on your own. Testing Ground is an opportunity to have the time, space and sounding board of other creatives to wade through the muck of creative process together. 

Testing Grounds came about as a natural extension of the CuriousWorks Writer’s Group. Peer to peer support can be a wonderful tool for bringing new projects to life. After evaluative feedback and reflection on the 2020 Online Writer’s Group, it was decided that a smaller cohort with a more tailored process would be more useful in helping projects develop and grow beyond the initial concept.

Over the next six months, the Testing Grounds participants will engage in a number of one-on-one and group sessions tailored to their creative goals for their projects. We can’t wait to see where they go! 

Natasha Pontoh-Supit (She/Her) is a multi-disciplinary artist living on Wangal and Gadigal Land, Sydney. Natasha works as a Stage Manager, Actor and Writer.

 Natasha made her theatre debut in ATYP’s “Girls Like That” (2017) written by Evan Placey and directed by Robert Jago. From there Natasha graduated from the Australian Institute of Music (AIM), Bachelor of Performance – Dramatic Arts (2021).

 Natasha currently works for the Contemporary Asian Australian Performance (CAAP) and Q Theatre as a Teaching Artist Assistant with fellow Teaching Artist, Zizu Fort. Recently in performance, Natasha was a part of Q Theatre’s Originate program titled CHORUS, directed by Artistic Director of Ninefold Shy Magsalin. Natasha has also worked with Randa Sayed, Karliea Decker and Outland Arts for Laughing Moon Scratch Night at Darlinghurst Theatre.

Natasha is moving towards diverse & contemporary works and furthering her interest to explore Physical and Devised Theatre. As POC her understanding for the need of diversity within the performing arts industry and Australia’s culture is continuously growing and proceeding with action.  Natasha is also interested in other forms of storytelling within the creative arts.

Kim Pham is a filmmaker, screenwriter and English tutor from Bankstown. For as long as she can remember, she has been fascinated by the art of filmmaking. It wasn’t until after she finished her Master of Research at the University of Western Sydney that she wrote her first screenplay, Where the Green Lime Grows. In her screenplays she aims to “enter the minds of the audience and direct their thoughts before their eyes”.

She is currently working on her second screenplay, Bird Hands Beaver a Fishmint Bouquet and was the recipient of the WestWords Emerging Writers Fellowship in 2020. Kim has also written and directed two short films, one for Diversity Arts Australia for their I AM NOT A VIRUS campaign and the other for Bankstown Arts Centre in 2021 and 2022.

Sivani Yaddanapudi is an Indian born and Australian raised filmmaker, who now lives on Darug land. She is passionate and believes filmmaking is an important tool you can use to create narratives that matter. An emerging documentary filmmaker, depicting unconventional views to the audience and disrupting the norms and values is something that she proceeds to further develop in her upcoming projects.

Sivani has been involved with CuriousWorks as an emerging filmmaker, working on projects such as CuriousTV! and Prone to the Drone. Most recently, Sivani has been working as the  Creative Producer + Marketing for FUNPARK. She came on board to FUNPARK as an assistant facilitator teaching youth about storytelling. She directed and produced a documentary about the history of FUNPARK in 2020.

Through university, she was one of ten students who were chosen to travel to Vanuatu through the New Colombo Plan Mobility Program to make documentary on sustainable development. She was the cinematographer and editor for the documentary, “Helti Fuja”. Whilst increasing her knowledge on Indo-Pacific regions her passion for documentary and storytelling was born.

After acquiring her degree in Screen Media (Arts and Production) from Western Sydney University, Sivani is now upskilling her creative career by pursuing a Masters of Media Practice and Industry at University of Technology Sydney in 2022.