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Undercover Artist Development Program 2023 Announced

Undercover Artist Development Program is now in full swing with our 2023 program artists announced!

Please join us in welcoming Alexandra, Joel, Donna and Emma-June.

If there is one thing all these talented artists have in common, it’s their passion for embracing their own individuality and speaking their truth through performing arts.

Undercover Artist Festival Director Madeleine Little said “Each of these talented artists has their own unique performance and I am excited to support Alex, Joel, Donna and Emma-June through to show ready performances. There is something truly special about Undercover Artist having the ability to provide a platform for disabled artists to build their project and ultimately showcase their individual creativity to the world.

Meet the artists and their projects below.

A lady looking directly at camera sitting a table wearing an orange and black top.

Artist: Alexandra Ellen
Project Name: Betsy and I

Through the Development Program Betsy and I will be entering the final stage of creative development leading to a polished performance outcome. During this development stage, Alexandra and her creative team will be focusing on the design elements of the show (lighting, sound, and stage) to get it ready for its premiere. 

Betsy and I is an exciting, innovative performance work exploring the friendship of Ivy, a 30-year-old disabled woman, and her wheelie walker, Betsy. Delving into themes around ableism, internalised ableism, shame, pride, identity and acceptance. Through the lens of Ivy and Betsy’s friendship, Alexandra explores her personal relationship with disability.

Artist: Joel Lago
Project Name: Ballsy 

With the Ballsy creative team, Joel will embark upon the initial creative development stage and work on bringing Sarah-Belle Ballsy to the stage in a way that asks audiences to see disabled bodies how they are, not how they’d like them to be.  

Ballsy is a performance that infuses storytelling, clowning, and drag featuring “Sarah-Belle Ballsy”, who has had enough of able-bodied people in this able-bodied world, and they’re here to tell you about it. 


Through lip-sync, physical theatre and spoken word, Sarah-Belle will take the audience on a journey that makes them question what an “ideal” body is, as well as highlight the valididity of Disabled people to exist in their own bodies, and how that Pride in our bodies is power.  

Artist: Donna Dyson
Project Name: You Belong

Acclaimed composer Donna Dyson has received support from Undercover Artist Development Program to create, compose, and record an EP of songs which support positivity, resilience, and the power of inclusion for all children. In future, Donna aims to present a concert aimed at children from 3 to 10 years of age and their families featuring the music from this EP.  

“You Belong invites children to understand their power of voice in singing lyrics written for them… not adults but child focused empowering lyrics to own, sing out loud and repeat later through listening via the global distribution power of music streaming services. You Belong empowers us to connect to something greater than ourselves through the power of music.” Said Donna Dyson 

Artist: Emma-June Curik
Project Name: Sleep in the City

Sleep in the City is a cabaret work-in-development that explores the parallels between Emma-June’s journey to diagnosis (for narcolepsy) with her dating life and that of the iconic ‘Sex and the City’.

Emma-June and her creative team will be working through song arrangements and ideas, writing and completing vocal workshops with the aim of having a show outline and draft script at the end of this initial creative development stage.  

“I hope this project may be a catalyst for change, particularly to encourage others to feel empowered in their own diagnosis journeys, or to more deeply engage with their relationship to sleep.” Said Emma-June Curik  


We can’t wait to see Alex, Joe, Donna and Emma-June bring their projects to final form!


Undercover Artist Development Program supports creative projects in early or mid-stage creative development. This refers to shows that exist only as an idea or shows that may need more creative input. Artists are supported through funding, ongoing mentoring and networking opportunities with the hopes their work will progress to final works.


To read more about the Undercover Artist Development program and the artists, click here