The shallow sea has frozen into salt
ripples like fossils of its final tide
drying into tiny tectonic continents,
rims grinding with crystalline crepitus.
Water oozes up until our steps float
and then we are ankle deep in sky
there is no up, no down,
the air no longer a ceiling
our arms flap for balance,
we are flying in the lake, swimming in sky,
there is no edge, just here.

~ from 'Kati Thanda' by Rachael Mead, The Disappearing



The Red Room Company's vision is to make poetry a meaningful part of everyday life. 



The Red Room Company is a nonprofit organisation dedicated to creating unusual and useful poetry projects that positively transform expectations of, and experiences with, poetry. Through imaginative projects and learning programs in schools and Correctional Centres we aspire to make poetry accessible to all, especially those who face the greatest barriers to creative opportunities.



Founded by Johanna Featherstone in 2003, The Red Room Company broadens experiences with poetry by encouraging curiosity, creation, and participation across a range of forms and mediums including radio, live performance, installation, and digital initiatives. We are Australia's principal poetry commissioning organisation, providing professional employment to a diversity of poets. Our public projects and education programs have provided professional employment and creative opportunities for more than 700 poets and over 10,000 students across Australia and beyond our shores.

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

Appointed to The Red Room Company Board in 2003.

Executive Director

Tamryn Bennett

Dr. Tamryn Bennett is The Red Room Company's Executive Director. 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 BellsThe Drunken BoatMascara Literary ReviewTHEthe Poetry, Cordite, English in Australia, ImageText and various academic publications.

External Relations Manager

Sally Marwood

Sally Marwood has a wide range of experience embracing external relations, client and stakeholder relations, development and sponsorship, marketing, corporate communications and design projects. Her work has taken her to London as head of Marketing, Media and Sponsorship for the Design Council, in Sydney as a Manager in 'Look of the City' and as Marketing and Development Manager for the National Art School and more recetnly as External Relations Manager at UNSW Art & Design.

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.

Education Manager

Toni Murphy

Toni Murphy is The Red Room Company’s Education Manager. Toni has been managing and coordinating Education programs for Australian theatre companies since 2008 with previous education management roles at both Sydney Theatre Company and Bell Shakespeare. Toni has a Graduate Diploma of Education in English and Theatre Studies and has taught both within the school system and for drama groups across Sydney and Wollongong. Toni fell in love with poetry when she got her first book of poetry at the age of 2 and is still smitten. She is thrilled to be part of The Red Room Company team.

Unlocked Producer

Rob Osborne

Rob Osborne is working with us on the "Unlocked" prison poetry project. His professional background includes teaching English in the secondary education sector, and Media, Communications and Digital Media Production in the tertiary sector. During his 13 years of full time employment with Corrective Services NSW, he was the Manager of the Audiovisual Production Unit. In this capacity, he was involved in a range of educational projects, with a particular focus on the use of media technologies in expanding educational provision within the prison system. He was instrumental in developing and introducing the "Unlocked" poetry project and is a passionate believer in poetry's transformational potential. Since leaving a full time role in Corrective Services, Rob has undertaken PhD studies in the area of creative work in prison education.

Education Coordinator

Lilly Blue

Lilly Blue is The Red Room Company's Education Coordinator. She is a visual artist and educator with a background in physical performance, installation and community arts. She has worked Internationally delivering arts residencies, professional development programs, creative commissions and exhibitions, as well as designing arts programming for young audiences driven by a rigorous studio practice. Her current creative practice is driven by an ongoing interest in co-authorship, poetic documentation, text rich landscapes and abstract physical histories. Together with dancer Joanna Pollitt she is the Creative Director of BIG Kids Magazine, an Australian contemporary arts publication that features the work of children and artists side by side. 

Project Assistant

Andri Christofides

Andri is a Project Assistant at The Red Room Company. Originally from Cyprus, she moved to England to study English Literature and is now in Australia for her work experience year. Her interests in language, identity and community have led her to work in different multi-disciplinary art organisations, before she enthusiastically joined our Red Room Company team. 

Content Manager

Kristy Wan

Kristy Wan is the content manger and resident tea junkie at The Red Room Company. She is currently finishing her degree in Communications, majoring in Writing & Cultural Studies. Kristy is a fire twirler with the UNSW Circus Society (and is Producer for an upcoming production) and dabbles in photography and writing poetry and short stories.


Emma Rose Smith

Emma writes manic poetry, smelly-lady nonfiction, and fiction that overuses the word 'ululate'. Often mistaken for a vegetarian. Finisher of a Writing & Cultural Studies / International Studies degree (UTS). Poetry zines, including 'Goonbag Mystic', are now available from her lounge room.

Producer, The Disappearing

Micheal Do

Micheal is producing The Disappearing 2.0, a web-based portal of poems that maps traces and spaces. Micheal is a visual-arts curator and program producer based in Western Sydney. He currently holds roles across The Red Room Company, Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest and Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. 

His passion for the arts and community engagement has taken him across a number of roles at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Liverpool City Library, University of New South Wales Art + Design, Bonhams Auctioneers Australia, Arc UNSW and Kudos Gallery. 


Tess Ridgway

Rock pool poet and inner west explorer Tess likes writing about the brain, language and sea urchins. For a year she ran Mutts Poetry, a monthly event that gave poets an opportunity to share their poems and also to discuss established poetry and ideas. Recent recipient of a Bachelor of Arts degree as an English Major. She has had poems published three times in Sydney University journals; Hermes and ARNA. Tess has also just begun an internship at the NSW Writers’ Centre.

Board of Directors

Bret Walker S.C.

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. 

Appointed to The Red Room Company Board in 2010. 


Matthew McCarron

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.

Appointed to The Red Room Company Board in 2008. 

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.

Appointed to The Red Room Company Board in 2012.

Mary Gillespie

Mary is a senior media professional with extensive experience across content, marketing and communications for digital and other media.

Appointed to The Red Room Company Board in 2015.

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

Appointed to The Red Room Company Board in 2003.

Judith Pini

Judith has been practising law since 1988.  She originally specialised in criminal defence litigation working in law firms in Brisbane and Melbourne and has since worked as in-house litigation counsel; first with AMP, then Multiplex and now with the Mirvac Group.   During this time Judith also worked for the UK financial services regulator in London, completed a Masters degree in Chinese and Vietnamese law and spent nearly 3 years with the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department with principal responsibility for the passage of anti-money laundering, counter terrorism financing and foreign bribery legislation. Judith is an avid reader of poetry which she finds the most nourishing form of literature.  

Appointed to The Red Room Company Board in 2013. 


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.