Wendy Blaxland and her co-producer daughter Jessica Blaxland Ashby founded Blaxland and Daughter in 2013 to produce CROSSING for the bicentenary of the Blue Mountains. They have extended this work into new productions such as Pioneers in Petticoats, GOLD, Matilda Fish and the Bushranger and Alice in Wonderland.
Blaxland and Daughter is an established team of experienced theatre-makers ranging in age, skills, background and experience.
Writer and co-producer
Wendy has over 100 children’s books published, fiction and non-fiction, with publishers such as Cambridge University Press, Penguin and Walker Books, and has also written for Play School and the Sydney Opera House Babies Proms. Wendy’s skills in the tricky area of writing plays for audiences from three-year-olds to grandparents and her passion for connecting with them informs her decision to commit herself to developing new plays for a range of audiences. Wendy has also written over 15 plays for Marian Street Theatre for Young People (MSTYP) for audiences of children and their accompanying adults, where she has worked over a number of years with people who have also become members of the Blaxland and Daughter team. Wendy’s academic career teaching English (Macquarie University) and Drama (University of New England) provided the research skills to give authenticity to her historically based productions.
Jessica Blaxland Ashby
Co-producer and schools coordinator
Jessica Blaxland Ashby is an emerging theatre-maker who works as a director, producer and devisor. She has extensive experience in children’s theatre, particularly at MSTYP where she has directed several shows, and produced and devised a youth theatre production. Jessica holds a BA in arts management and contemporary dance from Macquarie University, and an MA in Advanced Theatre Practice from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London. She worked at the Little Angel Theatre in London (the home of British puppetry) before returning to Australia to co-produce CROSSING 2013, for which she was also tour manager and schools coordinator. In 2015 she directed Pioneers in Petticoats and in 2016 she directed Matilda Fish and the Bushranger.She also works part-time as the Business Manager for Marian Street Theatre for Young People.
Jessica is passionate about integrating movement with words, and communicating with audiences through all the elements of theatre, especially in children’s theatre, inspiring children to love words and live performance.
Deirdre has over thirty years of experience as a theatrical designer working in professional theatre, the events and exhibition industry and theatre-in-education. Production highlights include Otherwise Engaged, Separation, A Swell Party, Taking Sides, Crimes of the Heart, and God Only Knows. Her designs for major touring productions include the Asia/Pacific tour of An Evening with Peter Ustinov. A NIDA graduate, Deirdre has been a keen supporter of new Australian plays, and has designed a number of new works. Deirdre was thrilled to work on new Australian plays CROSSING 2013-15, Pioneers in Petticoats2015-16, GOLD,Alice in Wonderland andMatilda Fish and the Bushrangerin 2016. She looks forward to working on other Blaxland and Daughter productions.
Tour manager and lighting designer
Taylor is a Sydney-based production lighting technician, designer and operator. He brings magic to live music, theatre, outdoor displays and corporate events. With extensive technical experience and expertise, Taylor has worked in many of the major venues around Australia.
Andrew Chessher has wide experience in music for children’s theatre. As the resident musical director for MSTYP for eight years, Andrew has worked on over twenty productions, including the world premiere of The Magic Pudding (2010) and the award-winning Babe the Sheep-Pig (2011). Andrew currently works at Knox Grammar School and is heavily involved in the co-curricular program as a musical director, accompanist and arranger. Andrew holds a Bachelor of Music (Music Education, First Class Honours) from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.