Meet: Rhen and Emma

Next Wave is delighted to announce the appointment of new staff Rhen Soggee as Senior Creative Producer and Emma McManus as Creative Producer – Public Programs. They join the organisation following a period of dynamic reinvention; dismantling the festival model and mapping year-round activity from our home base in Melbourne, and across the continent.

CEO/Executive Director Jamie Lewis says “Rhen and Emma bring expansive practice, sector insight, and an acute sensibility of our values – Justice, Friendship and Care. I am thrilled to be working with them to continue shaping the future of this well-loved organisation.”

Based on Kaurna land, Rhen joins Next Wave from Act Now Theatre where they held the position of Executive Director and Co-CEO. Rhen joins Naomi Velaphi (currently on parental leave) in shared leadership overseeing Next Wave’s artistic programs in collaboration with the Artistic Directorate.

“Next Wave holds a special place in my heart, having nurtured my own development as a creative producer and arts worker, and I’m excited to be joining the team to support the undercurrents of change as our new model ripples out into the industry”, Rhen says.

They continue, “I’m excited to contribute my skills, networks and passions for the arts and social justice, underpinned by care; and to work along like-minded people who all value and centre relationships with our artists, communities and audiences as the key to shaping the world around us through culture and the arts.”

Emma McManus joins Next Wave as Creative Producer – Public Programs combining skills from disparate practices, to create learning and research opportunities for artists; facilitating insight into artistic process and intergenerational skill sharing with a focus on bringing young people back to the table.

"I look forward to creating space and opportunities for artists to connect, build community and come together to have robust discussions and resist and challenge normative expectations around art and society.”

The appointment of Rhen and Emma builds on Next Wave’s ethos of building strong local/national relationships, and deep connections with artists in the spaces where they live and work.

Lewis continues, “shared leadership, artist-led processes and responsive delivery structures are necessary experiments in these quickly changing contexts. Together with the artists we work with, I am excited by what dreaming this Next Wave team gets up to – deep change takes time – and we are only just beginning!”

Rhen Soggee joins Next Wave as Senior Creative Producer

Rhen Soggee (they/them) is an arts manager & producer living and working as a migrant on unceded Kaurna land. They are interested in contemporary, experimental, multicultural, inter/multi-disciplinary and participatory arts as well as the growing digital intersections, with a keen interest in working in and with the Asia Pacific region. They seek to affect social change through the arts, specifically with multicultural, intersectional, feminist and queer agendas. Rhen works with community arts and cultural development values geared towards empowerment and enjoys mentoring others. Rhen is driven by their passion for sparking conversation, understanding, engagement and resulting soft power outcomes. Rhen has worked across many arts organisations, cultural hubs, and festivals, recently including Carclew, Sister Gallery and OzAsia Festival.

They joined Next Wave as Senior Creative Producer from ActNow Theatre, where they were the Executive Director & Co-CEO. They are also completing their final year of a Masters of Fine Arts (Cultural Leadership) at NIDA on Bidjigal and Gadigal land, are Co-Chair of the Board of Post Office Projects Gallery & Studios in Port Adelaide & are a Community Advisory Group Member for the South Australian Rainbow Advocacy Alliance.

Emma McManus joins Next Wave as Creative Producer – Public Programs

Emma McManus (she/they) is an interdisciplinary artist and producer living on Wurundjeri land. A founding member of performance collective Applespiel and Too Rude (with Maria White), she has made work for Next Wave, Sydney Festival, Performance Space, Vitalstatistix, PACT, Malthouse Theatre, Arts House, You Are Here, Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres and Performance Studies International (Calgary, Canada). She has interned with The Rabble, Sisters Grimm, Playwriting Australia, Sipat Lawin Ensemble (Karnabal - Manila, The Philippines), Besen Family Placement at Malthouse (directing) and is a part of the Australia Council and PICA Interdisciplinary Lab. Her new work ‘The Waves‘ is a collaboration with her physicist brother David and explores gravitational-wave science, queer theory and the biography of Virginia Woolf.

She studied at the University of Wollongong graduating with honours (class 1) and was a peer for the Australia Council for the Arts. She has worked developing and delivering education and public programs for The Museum of Australian Democracy, The National Portrait Gallery, The State Library of Victoria and ACMI. She has mentored at Girls Rock! Canberra, Girls Rock! Aotearoa, Rainbow Rock Camp and Shopfront Arts Co-Op. She is interested in urban ecology, plays in DIY punk bands, loves to cook a communal meal and is trying to become a better gardener.

Meet the rest of the team here

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