slow melting sadness
became the midday sun

where u from sis? 
       the new song line
spontaneity of soul 
       the new coolamon 
pencil on paper 
       the new petroglyph

curlews left for the heavens
as magpies arrived
sunshine turned 
the tree leaves red.
Ali Cobby Eckermann, from 'The Bird Cage'

 

The Red Room Company is a not-for-profit organisation that creates unusual and useful poetry projects which transform expectations of, and experiences with, poetry. We aspire to make poetry accessible to all, especially those who face the greatest barriers to creative opportunities.

Our public arts projects focus on developing imaginative contexts in which poetry can be creatively and critically explored. We support the work of young and emerging writers and are the preeminent commissioner of contemporary Australian poetry.

Through Red Room Poetry Education we inspire students and teachers to create, perform and publish poetry. Bringing contemporary poets into classrooms to run workshops, we use language to engage students, and to enhance creativity, personal growth, and communication.

Our Unlocked project takes Australian poets into Correctional Centres to work with inmates. This project allows us to reach some of the most marginalised individuals in our society, many of whom lack basic literacy skills, but nevertheless respond enthusiastically to the freedoms offered by the poetic form. 

 

 

The Red Room Company emerged from the Red Room Radio show on 89.7fm Eastside Radio, which was produced and presented by Johanna Featherstone, from 2001. The show broadcast original poetry, writing, reviews and interviews with Australian writers, its focus was on bringing new poetry and writing to a wide audience that included poets, poetry lovers and listeners who were unfamiliar with poetry.

In 2002, the Red Room Epic project was created, commissioning 30 writers under 35 years of age to write poetry for national community radio broadcast and online. Poets were interviewed and an audio epic poem was crafted. This project won the prestigious 'Best New Innovative Radio Program' at the 2002 National Community Radio awards run by the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia.

By the end of 2002, the Red Room Radio show and the Red Room Epic Project had developed a network of poets and poetry supporters Australia-wide. In order to continue creating original poetry-inspired projects Johanna Featherstone established The Red Room Company and has served since then as its Artistic Director.

Our Staff

Artistic Director

Johanna Featherstone

Johanna established The Red Room Company in 2003.  Her poetry has featured in journals such as Quadrant, and the Best Australian Poems. In 2006 she created a series of literary TV shows, The Wordshed, in partnership with The University of Western Sydney where she is a research associate. Johanna is an honorary associate of The University of Sydney's School of Letters Arts and Media. Johanna received a fellowship from the St James Ethics Center in 2008. Her chapbook Felt was released in 2010 by Vagabond Press

General Manager

Olivia Wright

Olivia Wright is The Red Room's General Manager. She has worked across corporate, government and small, private enterprise, in HR, IT, publishing, marketing and general management. At The Red Room Company, Olivia feels that she has finally found her place. She recently completed a Master of Arts in International Politics - receiving the University prize and proving what everybody already knows about mature age students, that they try too hard. She leaves the poetry writing to those members of her family who do it best (her Great-Aunt was Judith Wright).

Marketing & Communications Manager

Annette Noble

Annette is a senior communications professional with over 15 years’ experience in content creation, marketing and events management. She has extensive experience creating and executing multi-channel B2C and B2B marketing programs with measurable results. With a career that spans the arts, corporate, television and tourism sectors, Annette's writing has tended to be long form articles for trade journals and newspapers so she is happy to leave the poetry to the experts and enjoy their talents! 


Education Manager

Tamryn Bennett

Dr. Tamryn Bennett is The Red Room Company's Education Manager. She has a PhD in Literature from the University of New South Wales where she has also taught Creative Writing. Tamryn has designed and delivered poetry workshops for Artspace and El Centro de Cultura Digital, Mexico. Her artists books, illustrations and comics poetry have been exhibited in Sydney, Melbourne, Miami and Mexico. Her poetry and essays have been published in Five BellsNth DegreeMascara Literary ReviewTHEthe Poetry, Cordite, English in Australia, ImageText and various academic publications. tamrynbennett.com 

Editor & Copywriter

Joel Scott

Joel Scott is The Red Room's Editor & Copywriter, looking after the website,Unlocked anthologies, and grant applications. He is a PhD candidate at Macquarie University writing a thesis on translation and contemporary writing practice, which puts Benjamin's writings on translation and language into conversation with more contemporary French theorists, such as Levinas, Derrida and Deleuze. His poetry has appeared, for example, in Overland, Heat, Southerly and Cordite.

Board of Directors

Bret Walker S.C.

Chairperson

Bret Walker S.C. is the Red Room Company's first ever Chairperson. He has practised as a barrister mainly in Sydney since 1979. His principal areas of advocacy and advice are public (Constitutional and administrative) law and commercial law. Appointed Senior Counsel in 1993. 

Matthew McCarron

Financial Management and Planning 

Matthew McCarron is a Partner of KPMG based in Sydney and specialises in providing transaction and strategic advisory services.  He has a diverse portfolio of clients which include high net wealth individuals, privately owned and family businesses, mid-cap private equity funds and not-for-profit entities.  Matthew has an MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management, a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of NSW and is a Chartered Accountant.

Kiersten Fishburn

Kiersten Fishburn is the Director of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre leading the delivery of contemporary and engaging exhibitions, public programs, theatre, performance and community cultural development. Prior to that Kiersten was the Manager of Culture and Libraries for the City of Sydney. Kiersten also acted in the role of Director, City Engagement for the City of Sydney managing media, marketing, communications and events including Sydney New Years Eve. The diversity of the work reflects Kiersten's passion for supporting arts experiences at all levels, in a range of art forms and to diverse audiences.


Johanna Featherstone

Johanna established The Red Room Company in 2003.  Her poetry has featured in journals such as Quadrant, and the Best Australian Poems. In 2006 she created a series of literary TV shows, The Wordshed, in partnership with The University of Western Sydney where she is a research associate. Johanna is an honorary associate of The University of Sydney's School of Letters Arts and Media. Johanna received a fellowship from the St James Ethics Center in 2008. Her chapbook Felt was released in 2010 by Vagabond Press

Patron

John B Fairfax AO

John B Fairfax AO began his career in 1961 as a cadet journalist at the Sydney Morning Herald, coming to join the Fairfax board in 1979. He is Chairman of Marinya Media and a director of Fairfax Media, and former Chairman of Rural Press. John is President of The Girls & Boys Brigade, and a Councillor of the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW.  He has acted as Patron to The Red Room Company since 2008.