Mind Blank exists because every 3 hours in Australia more than one person will take their life by way of suicide (ABS, 2017), of this, 15 more twelve to seventeen year olds make an attempt (Orygen, 2017).
Using interactive theatre and mindful methods we are committed to generating higher awareness on the importance of good mental health practices, with integrity in the heart of our programs.
Our story started with Ally Kelly who founded the business as one of Australia's mental health charities in 2011. The motivation behind Mind Blank stemmed from her first-hand lived-experience.
"Statistics show that due to my history I am at higher risk of suicide and ongoing mental health issues. I refuse to accept this. I am living proof that as individuals we can change this reality."
To find out more about Ally's story click here.
Our legacy is to create sustainable community action; we do this by striving to help contribute to and informing a current body of research to support mental health promotion in Australia.
This is a gesture to honour and pay the respect to families who have lost loved ones to suicide.
Mind Blank Programs
Mind Blank is recognised Australia wide for mental health awareness and education through delivering innovative programs in schools, communities, and workplaces.
We advocate a holistic and balanced approach through strategic partnerships and collaborations. Our programs aim to reduce the risk of suicide in rural and urban Australia.
Using professional actors we can showcase story’s based on lived experience. This means that we can capture realistic life-like portrayals of what it is live to struggle with mental health issues. Having an MC in the casting mix allows for control of the action. They captivate the audience in trying to problem-solve alternate pathways for the characters. Giving them the power to visually see the scenes play out. For an information pack click here. For a full list of School Workshop themes click here.
There are many ways you can help Mind Blank. Some ideas include in-kind support offers, monthly sponsorship packages, organising a fundraiser or even one off donations. We welcome your ideas and support to continue our growth to impact mental health outcomes for young people. Any donation above $2.00 can be used as a tax deduction.
Jacqueline is an experienced Board Director and former CEO. She holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA), a range of vocational qualifications, and is currently completing her last two units for her Bachelor of Laws (Honours) with QUT. Jacqueline has undertaken a range of volunteer work throughout her life from being a foster carer to training with the International Labor Organisation in South East Asia. Jacqueline is passionate about reducing the risk of suicide and dealing with mental health issues having lost her son Dillon in 2015 and is particularly interested in the innovative ways Mind Blank is able to engage with young people about mental health.
Leah joins Mind Blank with extensive experience in business strategy, development and business improvement from various sectors including FMCG, veterinary and most recently healthcare.
Leah has previously served on two mental health boards including in the role of vice chair and holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and a Masters of Public Health (MPH). Most importantly is Leah’s’ continued passion for improving health outcomes through activities and programs that improve both health literacy and accessibility.
Role Director legal
Maggie Leung BCom LLB
Maggie has been a director of Mind Blank since September 2017.
Maggie utilises her legal expertise to help Mind Blank maintain and improve its corporate governance and manage its compliance risks.
Maggie is an experienced senior lawyer with extensive in-house corporate experience, and prior to that, she practised corporate and commercial law at a large law firm in Sydney.
As a mother, Maggie is keenly aware of the pressures which young people face and the impact social media has on their self esteem. Maggie strongly believes that Mind Blank’s programs will help to foster open and honest conversations among young people and their peers and their carers about mental health and help build their resilience.
Ally Kelly is the Chief Executive Officer & Founder of Mind Blank Ltd. She has led the Health Promotion Charity through nine years of service. In 2017 her efforts were recognised in winning the Mental Health Matters Award for Mental Health Promotion, and in 2019 she was presented with the Mental Health Services Award for Mental Illness Prevention.
Ally is on a mission to lead an empowered journey. Using her story of lived experience she will take you on a creative adventure sharing insight on how she was able to awaken her inner voice.
Ally specialises in forum theatre, public speaking, and collaborating with service provider organisations to provoke grass-roots change. As a founder of a small grass-roots charity, she has found that Australia lacks the body of research to show evidence in the long-term benefits of arts and health programs running in the community. Through research and program evaluation she aspires to support community arts programs and grassroots initiatives to make a more sustainable impact in Australia.
Ali is an award winning actor & director specialising in the effectiveness of theatre as a tool for education, engagement and social change. Ali’s theatre experience includes: actor, director, musician, scriptwriter, choreographer, lighting designer & stage manager. Ali is the Artistic Director for ‘Acting With Ali’ a drama, dance and music school operating out of Queanbeyan. She is also an Associate Artist with Rebus Theatre working on several projects that use theatre to insight social change. Ali is delighted to be part of the MINDBLANK team.
Dimitrios is an actor, writer and seasoned performer with a background in community development and counselling. Dimitrios has acting, dancing and clowning experience from Greece, Brazil and Australia. He was part of a multidisciplinary team of artists in Brazil developing a play and theatrical interventions about bullying. He has also formed a youth collective there including actors, clowns, poets and musicians that performed in various community spaces.
Dimitrios has experience in writing and screen writing. He was one of the protagonists of the play All My Sons with Hellenic Theatre in Sydney. Dimitrios has been an active member of Out of the Box Playback Theatre for 3 years including theatre performances and tours. He has also other performance experience and skills such as MCing, magic, dancing and story-telling
Dimitrios is passionate about using arts and theatre for mental health, disability and community development. He believes in the power of art, story-telling and theatre as a holistic strength-based approach to work on challenging complex social issues such as that of suicide, mental health, social isolation and other.
Ioulia Stepanova is a Belgian clinical psychologist, drama therapist, performer and improviser with Ukrainian roots. She is passionate about raw human creativity and is addicted to travel and personal growth. She believes strongly that using our imagination and play to create new narratives can help us heal, grow and sprinkle every day with a little magic.
Amy Ehsman is a freelance actor and performer based in the ACT. Recently performed in Improvisation shows by ImproACT, Lightbulb and regularly performs with Troubador.
Sarah has worked within the arts, community, entertainment, well-being and business sectors in Australia and internationally. She has managed children's performing arts programs in Melbourne with over 100 children and 15 staff. She’s worked in developmental contexts from the United Nations to the largest citizen journalism project in Asia, India Unheard. She was the founder of Happy from the Inside, a Melbourne based organisation providing creative arts & wellbeing programs for asylum seeker and refugee children. She is a qualified primary school teacher who is passionate about arts as a tool for change. She has experience in performing, writing, speaking & creative entrepreneurship.
Since studying acting in the late 1980's Graeme has worked on numerous stage, screen and radio projects. His studies in Clown and Commedia dell'arte led him to also work throughout Asia, Europe and the Middle East as a street performer. A commitment to social change propelled him into Milkcrate Theatre (theatre for people who have experienced homelessness) in 2001 as one of its founding members and since then he has performed in and helped devise countless Forum theatre shows. He believes Forum theatre to be a powerful tool for driving positive change in individuals, groups, and society as a whole. Graeme is an accomplished teacher and workshop facilitator and has run classes and workshops in stage and screen acting, improvisation, clown, mask, radio theatre and puppetry.
Yael moved from Israel to Sydney about 5 years. She has extensive training and over 15 years of experience in Drama, movement and theatre-based therapy. Her formal education includes B.A. in education followed by therapy and dyadic (Mother/Child) treatment studies. She worked with both private and governmental foundations, helping varied populations such as children with emotional needs, mentally ill, youth at risk and others, ranging from young (Year K) children to adolescents.
In her other career, Yael has more than 25 years of international experience in acting and directing. She has been practicing various forms of theatre, mainly “Playback theatre”, performing to a wide range of audiences in NSW and overseas.
"Stephen has been performing professionally for over twenty years in theatre and film.
He has extensive training in improvisation and physical theatre.
Based in Brisbane, Stephen can be seen treading the boards in musicals, plays and a variety of newly developed works.
He is also the face of constipation relief in Australia for the brand, Coloxyl.
Stephen has always been passionate about mental health and wellbeing and he is thrilled to join the Mind Blank team to promote safe practice methods, through the arts."
"Mark has 10 years C Level experience in Consumer Products where he has grown businesses and saved them, working with some of the world’s leading companies and brands such as Disney, Magnum, Monopoly, Bailey’s and many more.
Originally from the UK, he lived and worked in London for 15 years before moving to Australia in 2011 to launch the Australian operation for Winning Moves Games - and to launch a Sydney version of the Monopoly board game. He then ran a confectionery company, Kinnerton Australia for 7 years before his last role running a cleaning products and franchising business. He is currently setting up a business consultancy practice, The Business Doctor, to help businesses under duress.
Mark understands the importance of mental health through his own experience. He has previously served as a Non-Executive Director on the Sydney based Top Blokes Foundation advising on the commercial viability of projects."
Adrian is internationally recognized as an expert in Business Strategy, M&A and Exec Leadership from his 15+ years working for some of the largest corporations in the world. His extensive experience covers strategy, leadership, M&A and Workplace Wellness. Having suffered mental and physical health decline due to pushing himself and burning out, Adrian decided to become a qualified coach and personal trainer so he could learn the skills to fix himself and to help others do the same. He now dedicates a large part of his time to help social change and awareness in the area of mental health and well being, drawing on both his personal and professional experiences to be the best authentic leader he can.
Role: Creative Team
Lara is a Sydney based actor and performance maker. She is a founding member of Little Spoon Theatre Co. and with them has performed in "Where's My Money", "Tiger Country", and "Stitching", and last year produced the sell out season of "Danny and The Deep Blue Sea".
Over the last ten years she has performed with New Theatre, The Street Theatre, ABitOnTheSide, Stage Debris, and has devised and developed work with Lace Balloon, Earthcrosser Company, Elbow Theatre, Stage Juice, and paperweight productions. She has studied various techniques in Sydney, New York, and Glasgow. She's involved with Ninefold, an ensemble who train together in the Suzuki Method, and will be performing Antigone with them in 2016. Last year she was involved in several independent short films, and appeared in an episode of the new hit web series "Starting from... now!".
Lara works as a professional roleplayer with several organisations, is studying her Masters of Applied Linguistics, and has just taken up netball after an 18 year hiatus. Lara has been part of the MindBlank Creatives since early 2014.
Role: Creative Team
Neisha is a young and vibrant physical theatre and circus entertainer whose performance style blends a unique mix of physical performance and character hilarity. She enjoys the genuineness of performance and endeavours to make her work entertaining, fun and completely unforgettable! She is as comfortable high in sky hanging people from her neck as she is balancing on one foot and juggling knives! Neisha’s other physical skills include juggling a range of objects, spanish web, slack rope, MCing, comedy and she performs dare devil stunts like the neck hang of destruction and playing her ukulele upside down in a tank full of water!
Neisha graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications (Theatre and Media) in Australia and holds a Diploma of Circus Arts from the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology in New Zealand. She has worked for many companies and festivals such as The Hoopla Festival in Darling Harbour in Sydney, The Flying Kiwi Circus, Circus Aotearoa and the Kidsfest Festival in New Zealand, Merrigong Theatre Company, Circus Monoxide, Viva la gong festival, Half-High Circus and Circus Wow in Wollongong, Arts Projects Australia in Adelaide, The West Australian Ballet, The Tasmanian Circus Festival, Free Associations production of The Nutcracker, and The Circus Proms series with New Zealand’s Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. She was featured in the New Zealand Geographic magazine, on an episode of New Zealand’s hippest show Pacific Beat Street and performed for over 30,000 people in Christchurch’s annual Santa Parade.
Jon Rex Williams
Jon Rex Williams
Jon has been performing improvised shows for adults and children for almost20 years. He's starred in multiple shows at the Sydney & Melbourne Comedy Festivals as well as performing in theatres across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Singapore, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Over the years, he has appearedon the ABC (Gruen Transfer, Hungry Beast, The Chaser’s CNNNN), Network Ten (Good News Week, Micro Nation & Water Rats) and the Comedy Channel (Stand Australia) as well as in numerous commercials.
He has a Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary School, Drama) and is currently the education manager for Impro Australia anddirector of the Theatresports Schools Challenge which involves students from over 100 high schools across Sydney, Wollongong & the Central Coast.
In the corporate realm, Jon has performed and run workshops for Woolworths, Qantas, Coca Cola, ING, AMP, Boral, Telstra, Australia Post, the Department ofFair Trading and more, as well as role plays for the Department of Defence and Westmead hospital.
I was educated and spent the first part of my career in the UK, before moving to Australia in 2016.
I joined the Royal National Lifeboat Insitute in 2010 and began my professional training in fundraising, specialising in major donors with a strong focus on designing, implementing and delivering revenue growth strategies across an organisation.
In 2016, I joined the University of New South Wales (UNSW) as their Development Director and helped to develop their $650M inaugural fundraising campaign as well as leading a team of fundraisers and developing a culture of philanthropy across the University.
In 2019, I joined Macquarie University to take up the position of Director of Development and became an Australian Permanent Resident. I am responsible for leading all domestic-based fundraising activity across community giving, major donor, trust and foundations and planned giving
Sarah joins Mind Blank with extensive experience in acting, facilitation and forum theatre. She worked as a facilitator and project manager for QLD Shakespeare Ensemble's 'Prison Project', facilitating inmates to rehearse and perform a Shakespeare play. Sarah also entertained sick children in hospitals across NSW, NT & QLD as Captain Starlight for several years.
In 2011, Sarah's passion for theatre and transformation took her to India where she participated in a 2 week long Theatre of the Oppressed workshop run by Jonathon Boal. Here, she witnessed first hand the ability of forum theatre to transform, empower and heal. She is passionate about using this powerful mode of theatre to enable positive change in young people's lives with Mind Blank. Sarah also currently works as a teacher at flexible scholl in the north of Brisbane.
With roles such as Corporate Treasurer, Foreign Exchange Risk Manager and Chief Financial Officer, Kim has strong knowledge and experience of corporate financial management. Kim has a degree in Business, a post-graduate in Financial Securities and Investment and is currently studying a Masters of Analytics at UNSW.
Having witnessed her own children struggle with mental illness in recent years, Kim is passionate about supporting those suffering from poor mental health and finding engaging ways to promote good mental health practices within the community.