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Award-winning theatre-maker returns to Tantrum


Tantrum Youth Arts is hailing the return of Penelope “Nel” Kentish as its new creative director.

The award-winning theatre-maker is no stranger to the Merewether organisation, having first joined the company as an intern in 2009 when she was finishing her BA in Communications (Theatre) at Charles Stuart University.

Now, she’s thrilled to be back in an even bigger role.

“I needed an internship, so I reached out to Tantrum,” Kentish said.

“Once I was there, I put my hand up for everything.”

She progressed to a workshop facilitator position and secured a three-year place on Tantrum’s Emerging Writers Program.

After that, Kentish headed to the University of Melbourne to complete her Postgraduate Diploma in Community Cultural Development Practice.

From her time at Tantrum, she formed creative connections, which would see her co-found the award-winning live art company Big One Little One and go on to produce, present and tour immersive performance all over the country.

For the past nine years, she’s been based in Bathurst, where she founded a youth theatre company, worked as a sessional academic and gained her Master of Arts Practice (Performance).

“I always wanted to come back to Newcastle and work with Tantrum,” Kentish said.

“I was constantly asking myself ‘how long does it take to get the experience you need to become a creative director of an organisation like Tantrum?’

“I guess the answer is 13 years.”

With a strong team behind her, Kentish is keen to get stuck into Tantrum’s creative programs with young people.

“I’m especially excited to be delivering projects in remote areas of the Hunter region through the company’s ‘Outposts’ initiative,” she said.

“It feels really good to be back with Tantrum.

“As a mid-career artist, they nurtured me more than a decade ago.

“And, now, I have the opportunity to develop the next generation.”

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