WHO IS MARGI?
Drawing by Susy Boyer
"I recall, years ago, jumping to my feet to applaud Peter Carroll and Ron Blair's The Christian Brother. I did it again, for many of the same reasons, for Margi Brown Ash and Eve" (David Zampatti, The West Australian)
"A diva is a celebrated woman of outstanding talent in the world of opera, cinema or popular music and Margi Brown Ash is such a woman" (Wesley Enoch, HOME Program, QTC)
"Margi Brown Ash is magnetic as the gin-soaked, ravaged Judy clinging desperately to past glories: sharp, witty, always ready with the put-down, but still desperate for the end of the Yellow Brick Road and what lies beyond".
(Vicky Frost, The Guardian)
“Margi plays her part in the way only a seasoned professional who rehearses her butt off can – with absolute perfection. Nuanced, committed and exciting to watch" (Kiersten McCawley, Stage Whispers)
Dr. Margi Brown Ash is a multi-award winning theatre maker, educator, therapist, and coach, with her own creative arts studio in Brisbane Australia, 4change coaching and counselling www.4change.com.au.
Margi has been an independent artist (stage performer/devisor/writer/director/producer) for over 40 years in Australia (Queensland; Western Australia; N.S.W.) and earlier in New York City where she trained and worked for several years. She is co-founder/co-artistic director of The Nest Ensemble and FORCE OF CIRCUMSTANCE, both collaborative theatre companies based on collaborative principles.
When not writing and performing her own plays, she performs in new works with Brisbane’s mainstage theatre companies: most recently in the multi-award-winning The Wider Earth at Queensland Theatre (2016)and Sydney Festival (2018) and the highly acclaimed Prize Fighter at La Boite and Belvoir Street Sydney (2015, 2017, touring nationally 2018). At 4change studios,(www.4change.com.au) Margi works with artists on resilience, sustainability and healthy lifestyles using a strengths-based and creative framework.
Margi is a member of M.E.A.A (Australia’s Actors Equity); a Taos Associate (USA), a member of National Artistic Team at Queensland Theatre and an Ambassador at State Library Queensland. She lectures at Queensland University of Technology and Queensland Academy of Creative Industries.
In 2018 Margi was Artist in Residence at Curtin University, co-creating This Silent Thing. She toured with The Good Room in I Want to Know What Love Is (Chapel off Chapel, Melbourne)and is presently touring nationally in La Boite's Prize Fighter including Darwin Festival and Melbourne Festival.
Apart from her Ph.D., her postgraduate qualifications include a Master of Arts in directing, a Master Counselling in collaborative therapies, a Graduate Diploma in Adolescent Health and Welfare and a Graduate Diploma in Creative Arts Therapy. Margi's Ph.D. focused on belonging and home from the perspective of the female artist. Her Master's research focused on collaborative practice. Margi and is a qualified yoga instructor for performing artists.
· Ph.D. "HOUSE OF HOMES" (Research focusing on HOME and belonging)
· Master of Arts (Research focusing on Collaborative Practice and Directing)
Queensland University of Technology
Qualified Yoga Teacher, Byron Bay Yoga Centre
On-going Yoga Teacher Training, Biyome Biomedical institute of Yoga and Meditation
· Master of Counselling (Narrative, Collaborative, Solution Focused)
Queensland University of Technology
· Graduate Diploma Adolescent Health & Welfare (specialising in arts and adolescents)
· Melbourne University
Graduate Diploma Experiential and Creative Arts Therapy (focusing on performative)
· MIECAT Institute
BA. Dip.Ed (specialising in Communication and English Literature)
· Stella Adler, Acting Training, NYC 1979-80
· Stefan Niadzowkowski, Polish Mime, NYC 1978-80
· Hayes Gordon, Acting Training, Sydney 1972-76
· Member/Delegate: MEAA Actors Equity
Associate: Taos Institute
· National Artistic Team: Queensland Theatre, Queensland, 2016, 2017
· Queensland Cultural Champion, 2014
Free Download: "Social Construction in Action" (2020)
(See page 182 for our article, co-written with Assoc.Prof. Leah Mercer) The process (RICC PROCESS) we engaged in began as one of the creative outcomes of my Ph.D. “House of Homes” (2017)
"Thriving Women Thriving World” (2019): Co-written with Assoc.Prof. Leah Mercer: A Practice: Rip, Stick n’ Chat, a way of accessing and processing what we don’t know we know: This practice began as an outcome of my Masters and PhD
"House of Homes” (2017): My Ph.D. focusing on the artistry of belonging:
"The Belonging Trilogy” (2020): A collection of the plays, including HOME, EVE and He Dreamed a Train, with discussion chapters and provocations for the reader, regarding how my major works were created, with a foreword by Assoc. Prof. Leah Mercer. Published by Playlab. See
“Keeping Fabulously Fit” (2018) by Dr. Margi Brown Ash. Equity Magazine. Summer. You can access this article at
ORIGINAL WORKS 2011-2017
Margi’s creative work in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 primarily focused on “The Belonging Trilogy” working with Assoc.Prof. Leah Mercer and Dr. Benjamin Knapton as directors and dramaturgs. She also co-wrote Joey the Mechanical Boy.
Co-produced, written and performed by Margi Brown Ash
Directed by Leah Mercer with Travis Ash, musician/performer/co-writer
Gold Matilda Award (for MBA’s Body of Work)
Seasons: Queensland Theatre 2015 Diva Series
La Boite Independents 2012
Metro Arts FreeRange 2011
Published Playlab 2015
HOME won Creative Development Season, Metro Arts; won La Boite Independents 2012; Return season as part of Diva Series, Queensland Theatre Company, 2015 with Travis Ash as co-writer/musician/ performer; published by PlayLab; winner Gold Matilda Award, Body of Work, 2012. Margi performed and presented performance workshops called “HOME” at Theatre of the Oppressed Conference in Chicago; in Mexico for Taos Institute; at La Boite and at 4change coaching.
Written and performed by Margi Brown Ash
Directed by Leah Mercer, Metro Arts Independents 2012
Brisbane Powerhouse June-July 2017
Gold Matilda (MBA’s Body of Work)
Blue Room Awards: Best Performance
Blue Room Awards: Best Production Members Choice
EVE won the Gold Matilda Award, Body of Work, 2012. Won season in Perth, The Blue Room Independents; two Blue Room Awards: Best Performer 2012 and Member’s Choice Award for best show 2012 (nest ensemble).
He Dreamed a Train
Written and Performed by Margi Brown Ash
Directed/co-produced by Benjamin Knapton with Travis Ash, musician/performer/co-writer
Winner of Sweet Program
Brisbane Powerhouse 2014
Brisbane Powerhouse 2017
He Dreamed a Train, the title of her brother’s (David Brown) book of the same name, directed by Benjamin Knapton with Travis Ash (co-performer/composer/musician). Margi was nominated “LabRat” and won funded Work-in-Residence, Metro Arts 2013 (5 creative developments). Won SWEET, a funded season at Brisbane Powerhouse, 2014: Nominated Silver Matilda Award for Best Technical Design (Benjamin Knapton and team). In June 2014 she presented “He Dreamed a Train” to Theatre of the Oppressed Conference in Nebraska.
Joey the Mechanical Boy
Co-written and performed by Margi Brown Ash
Blue Room, 2014
Directed and co-written by Leah Mercer
Nominated Best Play 2014 Equity Award
Winner Best Director Equity Award
THE NEST ENSEMBLE
The Nest Ensemble was co-founded in 2004 with Dr Leah Mercer to create new and inspirational works, our first devised work The Knowing of Mary Poppins (which had four seasons, two in Brisbane, one in Adelaide and one in Sydney), winning Gold Matilda for MBA for Best Actor and Silver Matilda for Leah Mercer for Best Director.
FORCE OF CIRCUMSTANCE (FOCC)
Force of Circumstance was formed in 2015 to concentrate on The Belonging Trilogy and at the same time focus on gender equity and intergenerational work. FOCC was invited by Brisbane Powerhouse to mount EVE and He Dreamed a Train. In May 2016 FOCC won two grants, one from Australia Council and one from Brisbane City Council to rework and remount these shows as part of The Belonging Trilogy. Brisbane Powerhouse, June-July, 2017.
FOCC was invited to work with Queensland Academy of Creative Industries, Year 10. Margi, Benjamin Knapton, and Travis Ash co-devised a new version of Coming Home, based on all three works in The Belonging Trilogy. As a result, QACI was invited to perform Coming Home at Drama Queensland Conference, 2016.
WORK WITH OTHER THEATRE COMPANIES OVER THE LAST 5 YEARS
Queensland Theatre & Dead Puppet Society: Performed in Premiere of The Wider Earth
Brisbane Season, July 2016; Sydney Festival & Sydney Opera House, January 2018
The Good Room & Brisbane Powerhouse, Brisbane: Performed in I Want to Know What Love Is, BPH, 2016 and Chapel off Chapel, Melbourne, 2018.
Terrapin Puppet Theatre & Brisbane Festival: Performed in You and Me and The Space Between 2016
Belvoir Street, La Boite and Sydney Festival: Performed in Prize Fighter Return Season, 2017
National Tour 2018
La Boite, Brisbane Festival and The Danger Ensemble: Co-devised/performed Wizard of Oz. Margi was nominated Matilda Award for Best Female Actor 2013
QTC: Assistant Director of Australia Day (Playhouse, QPAC); To do this, Margi won an Arts Queensland Individual Fund Award, beginning her more sustainable directorial journey of working in larger theatre spaces, having always favoured small, intimate venues. 2015
La Boite: Directed new work Hedonism’s Second Album, written by Dave Burton and Claire Christian, La Boite Indie 2014
Access Arts: directed/facilitated Access Arts Theatre Ensemble (Metro Arts) throughout 2015
Pluxus2 Dance Company and Judith Wright Centre: group devised and performed The Paratrooper Project
La Boite and Brisbane Festival: performed in new work by Future Fidel, Prize Fighter, 2015
Margi co-facilitated HOLON The Aeschlepian Journey with Dr Jean Houston (Greece) 2015
La Boite: Directed Lotus Project, Playwriting Australia 2015
Artist in Residence Rachael Corrie All Hallows School 2016
MCing WorkSmart Conference, Gold Coast 2014, 2015, 2017
Margi is a regular guest lecturer at Queensland University of Technology every year since 2003; guest lecturer Griffith University 2012-2015; guest lecturer Curtin University of Technology 2010-2013; guest lecturer Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) 2012; guest speaker University of the Sunshine Coast 2017.
Each year, Margi does a series of workshops with QUT Acting Students using her RIC method, an outcome of her Ph.D., focusing on collaborative cultural leadership.
Margi has presented workshops for Taos Institute (Texas, Mexico and New Mexico); PTO-Theatre of the Oppressed conferences (Chicago and Nebraska), wellness workshops in Ubud Bali, 2008, 2009, 2010); Mexico City and Houston, Texas and workshops in Greece (with Dr Jean Houston).
Margi has presented Master Classes and workshops at many institutions including: Playlab, La Boite, Imaginary Theatre, QACI, Zen Zen Zo Theatre Company, Metro Arts, Centacare, Queensland Theatre, Drama Queensland, State Library Queensland, 4change coaching, QUT, Griffith University, Melbourne Institute of Experiential and Creative Arts Therapy, Melbourne University and Australian Psychological Society.
Margi’s creative pursuits include continual training with a wide variety of practitioners, including international performance practitioner Richard Schechner, BodyWeather’s Tess de Quincey, Ken Gergen, Mary Gergen, Harlene Anderson, Leisa Shelton, the late Margaret Cameron, John Howard, the late Helen Sharp, John Bolton, Dr Jean Houston.
COMPANY IN RESIDENCE, METRO ARTS
2015, 2016: Margi’s companies 4change coaching and FORCE OF CIRCUMSTANCE were Company in Residence at Metro Arts. There, Margi initiated two ongoing programs:
1. The Re-enchantment Project working with artists to re-dream their stories, focusing on resilience, artmaking, and ritual.
2. The Women in Theatre Bridge Club, a group of powerful women theatre-makers who are creating bridges within the theatre industry to ensure gender
ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
March 2016: Sostrup Castle, Denmark
April 2017: Arteles, Finland
June/July 2018: Curtin University Perth, Western Australia
FACILITATOR IN RESIDENCE FOR NEW COURSE
April 2019 Arteles Creative Center, Finland
May 2019 Arteles Creative Center, Finland
April 2020 Arteles Creative Center, Finland
May 2020 Arteles Creative Center, Finland