Gerard Veltre – Artistic Director
Gerard Veltre is an artist, dancer and an equal opportunities and Human Rights advocate for the most underprivileged and marginalised members of society. He uses the arts to create opportunities for Australia’s underdogs to explore their creativity, learn, reconnect with their communities, and shine.
Born to first generation immigrant parents from Sri Lanka and Italy, he grew up in a culturally diverse, low socio-economic western suburb of Melbourne. A family trip to Sri Lanka when he was 13 inspired a lifelong passion to learn as much as he could about dance, performance skills and story-telling. This began a lifelong commitment to increasing harmony and understanding in the world through art.Read More...
In 1999, Gerard was selected to be an Australian Youth Ambassador and completed a residency in Thailand with one of the most highly regarded dance/theatre companies in Asia, Makhampom. An Australia Council Emerging Artists grant in 2002 enabled Gerard to work with Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch in Germany and participate in workshops with Charlotte Vincent Dance Theatre in England. His time with arts companies around the world taught him that it was possible to combine the spheres of social justice and community development with performing arts.
To supplement his income while studying law, Gerard taught hip hop and break dance workshops in Juvenile Justice Centres (JJCs) in Victoria. Inspired by the powerful stories of the young people in JJCs, Gerard wrote his first educational theatre production, ‘Love Drunk’ in 2005. The show was created to educate and to help other young people avoid making similar painful mistakes.
The incredible success of ‘Love Drunk’ ultimately led to the creation of Phunktional Limited, in 2007. For some time, Gerard ran this company out of the back of his car. Now, over 350,000 people have seen Phunktional’s shows and the company supports multicultural emerging and established artists, produces new works and delivers long-term place-based CACD projects around Australia.
Stefan Nekvapil – Office Manager & Project Coordinator
Stefan has a Bachelor of Science (science communication), a background in aged care and has been involved in many education and personal development projects across Australia and Sweden over the last 10 years. Stefan’s professional commitment to quality and love of working with people has been a boon to Phunktional since he started in April this year.
Belinda Wylie – Administration and project support
Belinda provides support to Phunktional in the capacity of grant writing and administration. She is from a NZ country town, and has travelled to Phunktional via a life in the theatre. Belinda is currently studying for her Masters of Environment, and is deeply interested in sustainability, in all of its sociological and ecological permutations.
Martha Koeswibiwo– CPA Accountant
Martha received a Bachelor of Accounting from RMIT University before continuing her study at CPA Australia. She enriched her accounting experience working for various medium to large companies over 9 years before starting her own accounting business in 2015.
Martha loves to read books, catch up with friends, and go to the gym.