Blue Rose

An interactive sensory film and multimedia installation for all abilities and all ages.

2016 and 2018 Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, Wollongong, NSW

“We might look different, we might play differently, we might not speak language the same way you do. But if you take the time to see our stories we have many things to share that will inspire you with fundamental truths about the way we all interact with our world.”


Blue Rose offers a unique way of looking at film and multimedia, inspired by it’s “all abilities” stars who don’t use verbal language or a formalised language. The Blue Rose installation allows their stories to unfold in a series of interactive portraits of their lived experience.


This installation steps beyond the otherwise passive experience of film and enables visitors to play with shadows and light, and create visual echoes as they move across an interactive projection. Adults and children alike enjoy the chance to zoom across the galaxy in a virtual cockpit, create music together with glowing cubes or relax in an “Enchanted Forest.” These interactive elements have been brought to life by award winning lighting, interaction and video designer Toby Knyvett, whose body of work includes pieces for the Sydney Opera House and the Vivid Festival as well as being a regular collaborator with project partner Merrigong Theatre Company.


Several workshops run alongside the installation across two days with everything from practical filmmaking and music jams to conversations on inclusive education and creating sensory environments in the home. For more information on content and scheduling, please download the program.


Presenter: Beyond Empathy (BE) in association with Merrigong Theatre Company. With collaboration from Wollongong City Council, Interchange Illawarra, CRAM Foundation, Flagstaff Group and Wollongong Conservatorium of Music.

Toby K:

Beyond Empathy:

Merrigong Theatre Company:


 Director/Editor/Project Coordinator

There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.– Graham Greene


Made collaboratively with children from public housing areas in the Illawarra region of Australia, Protection uses a unique blend of film and animation to tell stories about childhood. It is inspired by the lives and experiences of the film’s adventurous and often hilarious young cast.

There’s a re-telling of Goldilocks – featuring a display home and a big, bad real estate agent. There’s witches, parties and billy cart derbies, and a lovely wedding to an imaginary prince. And there are also stories of bullying and racism, death and grief and facing up to your fears and mistakes.

These are stories told by kids from their perspective making Protection a celebration of childhood and a tribute to the resilience of children.



Beyond Empathy:


Rites Of Passage

Co-Director/Project Coordinator

Rites of Passage is a feature length drama made collaboratively with a group of young people who dive below the surface of their often tough exteriors to reveal what’s going on inside.

Released in 2013 Rites of Passage is a raw, uncensored and honest film inspired by the life experiences of the young people who were involved in the making of the feature-length drama as cast and crew under the direction of an internationally renowned filmmaker. The film, based in the Illawarra, involves six interwoven stories which show the teenagers negotiating the dangers and discoveries of their age with the result; a self-portrait of disadvantaged, marginalised children responding to the challenges surrounding them (and from some of the poorest urban postcodes in Australia). Rites of Passage involved an independent evaluation and demonstrated a three-fold social return on investment.


It was the winner of the Special Jury prize at the 2013 Warsaw Film Festival; selected to screen at international film festivals in Sao Paolo, Warsaw, Colorado, Seattle, Cyprus and Canada. Other critical aclaim included:


Evan Williams, film critic of The Australian, describes it as among the most remarkable and moving films produced in Australia in recent years.


Parenting author and educator Steve Biddulph says “Just a few minutes into the film, you start to care intensely about these kids, and the tension of how they will survive and get through becomes unbearable. Somehow, through the freshness of the filmmaking, you see their inner worlds lit up and the trials of being young and fragile under the tough masks the world makes them wear.”