our team

Meet the Crew

Bryce Youngman

Co-Founder, CEO and Artistic Director

As a professional actor and writer, Bryce injects his passion for poetry into all PIA productions. Since his 2001 graduation from the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), Bryce has worked on various productions with many widely acclaimed theatre companies including Bell Shakespeare, Griffin Theatre Company, Darlinghurst Theatre Company, La Mama, Sport For Jove, and Parramatta Riverside.

For his starring role in the one man show Death in Bowengabbie written by Caleb Lewis and directed by Matt Edgerton, Bryce received stellar reviews and a sold out season at the 2014 Melbourne Comedy Festival; a resounding success that resulted in an encore national tour in 2016.

Erica lovell

Associate Director and Head of Education

Erica is Poetry In Action’s Artistic Associate and Lead Teaching Artist. She directs and musically directs our education productions, and co-wrote Herstory 101, the company’s first work featuring writing exclusively by women,with Lizzie Schebesta. 

Erica studied English Literature, Media & Communications, and Theatre & Performance Studies at UNSW, where she graduated with Distinction. She holds a Master of Secondary Education, which she puts to good use supporting young people in the public education system to develop the skills they need to tell their stories and change the world. 

Erica is the Co-Executive Creative Producer for acclaimed independent theatre company Rogue Projects. For Rogues, her directing credits include Boy Out of the Country by Felix Nobis, Gravity Guts by Sophia Simmons, andthe world premiere of Madeleine Withington’s Wil and Grace. Erica produced Samuel O’Sullivan’s You’re Not Special at KXT, and Almitra Mavalvala’s Blacklisted at The Hayes Theatre.  
As an actor, Erica’s career highlights include playing Amy March in Little Women (Kookaburra National Musical Theatre Company), Fredrieka Armfield in A Little Night Music (Opera Australia) Martha in Spring Awakening (Sydney Theatre Company), Deb in Ordinary Days (Squabbalogic/Darlinghurst Theatre company), Zelda in Happiness, Gail in A Conversation (Ensemble Theatre Company), Nerissa in  The Merchant of Venice (Sport for Jove), Macduff in  Macbeth (SheShakespeare) and Malvolia in The Twelfth Night (Fingerless Theatre).

DEE Rennie

Head of Impact and Engagement

Passionate about driving social impact and development, Dee’s career journey has been shaped by a profound commitment to creative and community-focused organisations. Dee believes that inspiring and stewarding collaborative relationships is instrumental in realising the transformative goals essential for community development and organizational growth.

Dee leverages creative thinking and troubleshooting to ensure her approach is not only innovative but also rooted in practicality. Integral to her experience and success in engagement and impact is the ability to create mutual respect, and trust linking investors to the results of the work they invest in.

At the heart of Dee’s drive is a dedication to encouraging community members to actively engage and contribute, fostering an environment that enriches lives and promotes widespread participation in civic life. She specialises in crafting engagement concepts that seamlessly connect supporters with projects, establishing meaningful connections within the community and making a difference in the lives of those in need.

Dee brings valuable experience as a philanthropic and funding specialist across the arts (mainhouse theatre, state music festivals, film, and fine art academia), and globally leading medical research and patient care initiatives. This rich background informs Dee’s holistic approach to stakeholder relationships, ensuring that every interaction contributes to the larger tapestry of community engagement and economic impact.

Her addition promises to bring a unique and powerful dimension, fostering creativity and connection within the organisation’s mission to unlock the power of words for everyone.

SOnia Dodd

Senior Producer

Sonia (she/her) is a Malaysian-Australian creative originally from Newcastle, primarily a theatre producer as well as a freelance writer and actor. She has a Bachelor of Communication (Theatre/Media) from Charles Sturt University and is completing her Graduate Certificate in Psychological Science online. She’s currently the recipient of Canberra Youth Theatre’s Emerging Playwright Commission for her play, How to Destroy the Beep Test in Five Days. 

Notable credits in the producing world with Darlinghurst Theatre Company include Once at the Comedy Theatre in Melbourne and the Australian premiere of Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. Sonia has also lead a number of independent productions with Slanted Theatre, Fruit Box Theatre and Belvoir 25A. 

Outside of the arts, Sonia can be found eating pasta, playing soccer or talking about her dog, Rudy.

Olivia hall-smith

Sales Team Leader

Olivia is an actor, director and writer from Brisbane with a Bachelor of Performance (Stage & Screen) from the Actors Centre Australia. Whilst living in Brisbane, she worked in various capacities in film and theatre, with acting credits including Sunnytown (dir. Heather Fairbairn, La Boîte Theatre Company & Shot in the Dark Productions) and the web series Two Weeks (dir. Rachel Anderson). In 2013, she was the Queensland winner and one of the top 5 national finalists in the Australian Poetry Slam.

Whilst training at the Actors Centre Australia, Olivia performed roles such as Viola in Twelfth Night (dir. Adam Cook) and Electra in The Oresteia (dir. Gale Edwards). She was also asked to write poetry to accompany her year’s performances in the form of prologues and companion pieces. Her time at ACA culminated in writing and vocally directing a performance poetry piece that was performed by her cohort as the opener for their graduating showcase.

In 2021 she played the role of Jenny in The Shape of Things (dir. Les Solomon, Flight Path Theatre), and in 2022 she toured Australia and New Zealand with Poetry in Action. That same year she also co-founded the independent theatre group The Company. In 2023, she performed the role of Fiona in The Removalists (dir. Harry Reid, ACA Company) and, shortly after, directed a production of Joanna Murray-Smith’s The Female of the SpeciesOlivia continues to be passionate about creating and supporting independent theatre and is thrilled to be back working alongside the Poetry in Action team.


Poetry Pup

Roxy is a Cocker Spaniel who is passionate about treats, walkies and of course, poetry. Her favourite poem is ‘A Little Dog that wags his tail’ by Emily Dickinson. Roxy hopes to one day be as famous as Lassie and to befriend as many people as she can along the way!



Following his graduation from WAAPA alongside Bryce, Hazem has appeared in some of Australia’s leading television and film productions including Underbelly (2010), (2011), Alex and Eve (2016), and his recent Logie winning performance as Ismail Al-Bayati in the 2018 series Safe Harbor.

Drawing upon the expertise developed through his widely acclaimed creative career, Hazem brings his skills as an actor, producer and writer to his role as one of PIA’s co-founders, whilst at the same time continuing to discover and pursue new creative opportunities in the Australian acting industry.


United by a passion for bringing language to life through dynamic performances, our playwrights, creative directors, dramaturges and actors come together every year to create performances that further PIA’s artistic mission.



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