Leesa Nash is a director and performer who actively promotes the accessibility of training and performance for people of all movement and learning styles.

After completing a Bachelor of Science in Architecture, Leesa trained in performance, design & production with Terrapin Puppet Theatre Company and Salamanca Theatre Company, and toured in physical theatre shows:
  • Colour My World’, (Blue Bird International Festival, Soeul, South Korea 2003; Adelaide 2000 Performing Arts Market; The Hobart Theatre Royal 2000; Schools Tour 1999);
  • Slam Dunk’ (Schools Tour 1999);
  • Soft Boiled Happiness’, (Hobart Fringe Festival 1999), and
  • The Docks’ (Constitution Dock, 1998).
She trained with Mark Sands (Popeyed) in double static trapeze and adagio, and initiated CosCircus for performers with intellectual disabilities who performed at the Special Olympics and Hobart Fringe Festival in 1997.

Arriving in Melbourne in 1999, she studied Al Wunder’s Extended Improvisation Series and performed solo-improvised work at Conundrum and 30 Minutes (Cecil Street Studios) and duet improvised works with:
  • Trevor Dunne (‘The Big Day In’, North Melbourne Arts House 2003 and ‘Toto Leaves Home’, Melbourne Fringe Festival 2002);
  • Noel Reece-Hatton (‘Women’s Improvisation Night’, Cecil Street Studios) and
  • Valley Lipsa (30 Minutes, Cecil Street Studios and River Arts Performance).

She has performed extensively with mixed ability physical theatre companies, Stretch Physical Theatre and Weave Movement Theatre, including at ‘The Big Conundrum’ (Melbourne Improvisation Festival 2002), and in 2004 & 2005, Leesa directed DVA Theatre Company’s ‘Sport’, for The Art of Difference & Dance House.

In 2002, she initiated Family Dog Theatre FDT (formerly Family Dog Circus), an inclusive theatre training company offering performance and production training to people of all abilities – with a focus on creating both recreational and career pathways for youth with disabilities. A unique element of the training is a process combining performance improvisation, lighting, sound and projection using accessible technical equipment. In 2007 & 2009, Family Dog Theatre hosted The Bow WOW! Festival - the only performing arts event in Melbourne, hosted by youth with disabilities. Directed works for FDT: ‘B4U Fly Off’ (02), ‘Jet Blue Moon’ (03), ‘Introducing Family Dog Circus’ (04), and ‘Game Over’ (05). Improvised works: ‘No Guns, No Zombies’ (06), ‘That’s not a Gun, That’s an Umbrella’ (07), and ‘Excellent.’

In 2004, she completed a 12 month contract with Darebin City Council, where she researched and wrote ‘How to include Performers with Disabilities in Mainstream Performing Arts Events – a resource for arts providers’.

Leesa’s teaching includes facilitating community theatre and social circus programs for youth at risk and isolated rural and indigenous groups, and theatre and circus in the TAFE sector.

Leesa has presented discussions about her work at Symposiums and Conferences including:
  • The Arts Intersections Symposium (2008), Griffith University, ‘Professional development for differently abled artists’;
  • Arts Activated Conference (2007), ‘Employment Panel Discussion’;
  • Art of Difference International Arts Symposium (2009), ‘How do you make art that moves?’; and
  • Regional Arts Victoria Conference (2008).

She is currently the Director of Family Dog Theatre and Coordinator of the Certificate 1 in Creative Industries (Ignition Theatre Training) NMIT- the only nationally accredited vocational theatre training available to theatre makers with individual learning needs in Australia. Directed works for Ignition: ‘From Sun to Rain’ (05), ‘Milestones’ (05), ‘Love Lost Sailing’ (06), ‘Double Trouble’ (06), ‘I am Rufus’ (07), ‘Briefcase City’ (07), ‘It’s Friday I am in Love’ (08), ‘General Death’ (08), and ‘The Final Scene of Jane Doe’ (09).


Family Dog Theatre
DVA Theatre Company
Ignition Theatre Training

Download: Including_People_With_Disabilities.pdf


Leesa Nash
Mobile: 0425 717 639