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Vanessa Immink

Festival Director

Vanessa Immink is a wahine Māori/Pākehā theatre maker, producer and marketer, with experience in touring large scale international productions to independent solo shows. 


After graduating with a degree in Musical Theatre, Immink worked as a production assistant & tour manager on international touring shows such as Singin In the Rain, Cats, Blue Man Group and Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

Immink is the creative producer of The Co – Lab, created in 2016 with a focus on producing emerging Māori and Pasifika artists’ new theatre work. Work including Kasiano Mita’s Talofa Papa (2017-2020) and Maia Diamond’s Fishin’ Chip (Kia Mau Festival 2019).

In 2019, Vanessa worked as the Senior Program Coordinator at Adelaide Fringe Festival, before returning to Aotearoa and taking on the Senior Producer role at Kia Mau Festival. For the past 6 months, Vanessa has been the project lead for an advocacy platform called Ngā Hua Toi. 

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Ella Carling

Assistant Festival Director

Fostering connection through creativity is Ella's passion and her arts practice reflects her love for enabling this experience in people.

Growing up as a dancer in Fiji, training in many different cultural and modern forms, Ella has a deep appreciation for interculturalism and the value and understanding it brings through exchange.

Ella's arts practice broadened into Arts Management here in Aotearoa and she's been able to explore different mediums of facilitating creative connection - theatre, events and festivals. Ella find joy in being able to exist as any part of the creative process - artistically or production-wise, and that joy carries through to including the wider community in the arts.

Ella has previously worked at Pūtahi Festival 2017, New Zeand Fringe Festival and CubaDupa 2020 and is still a contemporary dancer based in Wellington, New Zealand.

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Karena Letham

Production Manager

Karena Letham has been a freelance stage manager in Aotearoa since graduating Toi Whakaari New Zealand Drama School in 2012. 

A skilled collaborator, Karena has worked with Auckland Theatre Company, World of Wearable Arts, Tawata Productions and Hāpai Productions. Karena has worked across festivals throughout Aotearoa including Kia Mau Festival, NZ Festival, Auckland Arts Festival and Wanaka’s Festival of Colour. 

Recently based in Macau working on the large-scale production ‘The House of Dancing Water’, Karena was heading to France to take up a permanent position with Cirque Du Soleil when Covid-19 disrupted her plans. Karena has returned to Aotearoa to continue working with artists and companies across the Aotearoa New Zealand landscape. 

Karena loves working with different artists and communities and deeply values the creation of 'epic work with epic humans'.