We can't thank our crews enough for their dedication.
Each year, these talented and caring individuals leave their own art creating aside for one to two months so they can share their skills and passion with the children.
Katherine McLeod (Canada)
Founder, Creative Director, Storyteller, Drummer
When Katherine was younger she had a dream of becoming an actress. As a teenager she started working with young children at a summer camp in Canada, and then went on to study education at university. Upon graduation she had not only completed her degree, but also been involved with a number of university theatre productions. She began to combine her passion for theatre and education, and started writing and directing plays for children in Toronto over 25 years ago.
After a little while, she met her husband, and they left their careers, packed up their lives, and began a round the world cycling and hiking adventure. It was at this time that Katherine's other deep interest – travel and immersing herself in other cultures - was fully activated.
By the year 2000 – a couple of countries later - Katherine discovered two missing pieces in her performance repertoire: storytelling and hand drumming. Her focus changed from traditional theatre to interactive storytelling and rhythm – and this is when Camp Magic was born!
Fast forward 20 years – Camp Magic continues to lead the way as Singapore's premier arts holiday program. Katherine couldn't have done any of this without the incredible support of her family, numerous artists who have come to work with the team over the years – and of course – the children. She is thankful to all.
In addition to her ongoing commitment to Camp Magic, Katherine also offers workshops and retreats for women who love to create and play!
Bruce Home (Canada)
Operations Director, Artistic Director, Storyteller
Bruce has been helping out with Camp Magic from the very earliest days. He began by organizing the buses, then became our lead director of the arts program. He now overseas the Camp Operations, and has evolved over the years into Artistic Director - ensuring that the creative vision of each program is brought into fruition.
Bruce never stops learning and growing in and on the job! Originally from Quebec, Canada - his earliest dream was to be a fireman. He also enjoyed painting and playing hockey as a young boy. Bruce returned to that early love of the canvas 18 years ago. After studying with Australia's Tony Griffiths, the colours began to dance off the brush, swirling and creating beautiful abstract pieces.
When it came time to choose a career, he got serious and joined the Toronto Stock Exchange after graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration. After wearing a suit and tie for two years, Bruce began to exchange his belongings, instead of commodities on the world exchange. He traded his suit for a bike, packed up his apartment and bought a one-way ticket to Amsterdam.
Although he visits his Canadian homeland at every opportunity, Bruce has lived overseas for over 25 years. His passions are storytelling, education (he has worked as both teacher and primary principal at international schools for 20 years!), running, gardening and spending time with his family.
He spins tales for children and teachers at schools in Asia and Australia, for his children at home, and each week at Camp Magic. Bruce is a funny, fun, and very helpful person. We love that he helps us to run each program throughout the year. A hearty thanks to you, Bruce, from the whole team!
Alberto Martinez (Spain)
Actor, Facilitator, Stilts and Flag Trainer
When Alberto was a little boy, he couldn't hear enough bedtime stories from his father. The joy of listening to tales, hearing his father's voice, and entering into the story spaces that were created. His father is a self-taught musician, and as Alberto got older, he began to tell the stories himself, whilst his father played the flute! When it came to deciding what he wanted to do as an adult, there were so many things he enjoyed... it was so hard to decide. Why not become an actor, where you could be all the things you wanted to be, never having to choose one, but allowing yourself the freedom to be all?
Alberto left his homeland, Spain, and studied at the Conservatory of Dramatic Art in Liege, Belgium for 3 years. Since finishing his degree he has worked in both classical and contemporary theatre. More recently, Alberto has started mixing dance, theatre, and music together. He is passionate about exploring different cultures and their forms of performance, always merging what he has learned into his new work projects.
We have enjoyed the skills and talent Alberto brought has brought to 12 of our Camp Magic programs. From his caring and creativeness with the 3-4 year olds, to soap box stories, and careful direction of flag formations at each performance - he always gives the children and crew 100%. Thank you Alberto for the moves and grooves you bring to our programs.
Shouniez van der Schyff (South Africa)
Flow Artist and Performer, Circus Program Co-ordinator, Facilitator
Shouniez admits that dance was her first love when she was a child. She studied ballet from the age of 5, and then moved into modern dance in later childhood. From the age of 9-16yrs Shouniez was a Hip Hop dancer.
When studying graphic design at college, she continued with hip hop, representing South Africa in the Hip Hop World Championships. Afterwards, she merged her dance with fire poi spinning on the beaches of South Africa. From there, she began performing with poi, and then remembered the hoop from her childhood. When she re-connected with the hoop it was then that she fully merged her passion as a dancer and hooper, and became a flow artist.
After working as a graphic designer for 8 years, Shouniez moved, with her husband Shaheen, into professional performances where they now make a living. When asked what flow means, Shouniez replied: "Flow is when you are in the hoop, and you go into a world where you are not thinking about the movements - the movements are happening to you."
The children have enjoyed Shouniez's talented circus instruction and performance guidance at Camp Magic since 2015 - 10 programs in total. Thank you Shouniez for your bright and delightful ways with the children and parents!
Shaheen van der Schyff (South Africa)
Flow Artist and Performer, Circus Program Co-ordinator, Facilitator
When Shaheen was a young boy, he remembers that all the kids around him would hoop just for fun. He never imagined that several years later he would become a flow artist, where the hoop was the main tool used to help pay the bills!
He and his wife Shouniez have been on an amazing journey of discovery these past 7 years - as they continue to create a inspiring livelihood of performing around the word with hoops, poi, amongst other circus toys.
It all began for Shaheen one weekend at a festival. After being rained out for several hours, Shaheen was keen to get going and move his body. He saw his wife's hoop just sitting there in the corner, and thought - "Ok! Let's go". So he literally jumped into the hoop, and hasn't looked back. Of course he has several of his own hoops now, but one magical thing led to another once he made that first big jump.
By inviting the hoop to become an extension of himself, Shaheen creates a flow of movements and manipulations that create a sense of calm and connection for both himself, and his audiences. When he first began working, Shaheen was a Personal Trainer, enjoying a career in the Fitness Industry. He has always loved to move.
After discovering the hoop, Shaheen now fuses his passion for movement with his commitment to flow through the hoop, poi, and staff. He always looks forward to sharing his skills with the children at Camp Magic. To date, we have seen Shaheen at 10 of our programs. Thank you for your ongoing dedication to fun and flow!
Jillian Culey (Australia)
Arts and Craft Co-ordinator, Staff Trainer, Basket/Natural Fibre Weaver
Jillian Culey began her work as a basket weaver over 20 years ago. She wanted to make one of her best friends something special for her 21st birthday, so underwent the enormous task of weaving her a picnic basket! What a lovely gift. This was only the beginning for Jillian.
She later found herself teaching in Kiribati – an island nation in the central Pacific Ocean. It was there that Jillian was first mentored as a basket weaver by a native from Kiribati - the host mother where she was housed. It was in this wondrous space that Jillian was taught to collect local plants and vines, treat and soak them, then commence weaving.
Basket weaving is, as Jillian comments, 75% preparation and 25% weaving. It is this process of collecting natural materials that intrigues her as an artist. When she walks out into the bush and gardens of her Blue Mountains, Australia home – Jillian sees the potential for basketry and weaving everywhere. "What would this plant like to be?" she wonders, "a basket, a hat, a mat... a plate?" Jillian believes that the plant seems to know what it wants to be before we do!
Thank you for your time and commitment to Camp Magic Jillian!
Stephen Cheong (Malaysia)
Musician, Ukulele Master, Facilitator
Stephen Cheong began his career 20 years ago in London, England as an architect! After receiving his Bachelor of Science in Architecture, and whetting his appetite for learning, Stephen then trained to become an ESL teacher.
For a number of years he taught English in colleges, both in Malaysia and Singapore... but then discovered THE UKE! The Ukulele awakened an amazing musical passion in Stephen 15 years ago. He not only plays the Uke in a band, but teaches the instrument to both children and adults full time. What Stephen loves most about teaching the Ukulele is that it's a fantastic entry level instrument, that is both fun and accessible to children. He enjoys witnessing, over and over again, the quick connections his students make learning simple chords that later inspires them to continue their musical education.
Stephen is coming up on his 15th Camp Magic! Over the years he has taught many children to play the Ukulele and is super committed to helping us create songs with guitar for our end of week performances.
He claims that "Camp Magic gives children a place to learn so many new skills... I just love being there to see and be a part of their excitement". Thank you for all the music you infuse into our programs Stephen!
Linden Furnell (Australia)
Singer, Musician, Songwriter
Born into a family of musicians, Linden has been playing guitar and piano from a young age. Growing up in a home with an opera singer mother, and classical pianist/composer father, studying music was a natural choice. At home on the stage, Linden has played for an acclaimed rock band, Olivine, at the Sydney Opera House. He also loves to sing, dance, and compose his own songs.
Linden graduated from La Salle College of the Arts in Singapore. Since his final set of exams and papers in early May, 2012 Linden worked continuously as an actor and musician. His first post school show was La Cage Aux Folles at The Esplanade, followed by Singapore Repertory Theatre's production of The Cat in the Hat. After his appearance in our Camp Magic Production of My Forest Room at The Esplanade, Linden quickly started rehearsals for another show at SRT.
Eventually Linden made his way back to Australia, where he continued to develop his theatre and music career. Currently his main focus is on music. Writing, composing, recording, singing. This is where he has declared his passion lies, and we are SO glad to have him back working with our teams.
Originally from the Blue Mountains, Australia, Linden has that special ability to infuse a room with excitement and of course, a connection to music. We can't wait for him to infuse our online programs with his songs and beautiful voice. Welcome back to Camp Magic Linden!
Dez Home (Canada)
Storyteller, Visual Artist, Facilitaor
Dez has been a part of Camp Magic from it’s earliest days, and grew up learning the tradition of aural storytelling. He has, from a very young age, connected to the imagined worlds that story has to offer.
Now a young adult, Dez brings a fresh outlook to our programs, both on and offline. His skills as a storyteller, his passion for the visual arts, and his kindness and thoughtfulness within the team and with the children make him a valuable addition to our crews.
This year Dez is working alongside Director and Voice Coach Michael Corbidge to hoan and deepen his skills as a professional storyteller. He has also worked hard to develop a new style of “Story Strips” that integrate line drawings into the digital world. Stay tuned for upcoming online courses for budding artists who wish to bridge hand drawing that can be digitalized and shared with the world.
Let’s go Dez as we hear it for Camp Magic 2020!
Sarah Retnam (Singapore)
Chief Assistant and Right Hand Super Woman!
Sarah has been a dedicated member of the Camp Magic team since 2006.
She arrives early every morning to get the craft and art rooms set up, sorting circus equipment, planning morning tea, and ensuring the team is all set for the day.
The program owes a lot of its success to her steady engagement and positive, can do attitude. The crew, the children, and the parents all thank Sarah for her amazing commitment to our camps.
This summer she is working around the clock to create the activity packs for the online fun program.
Thank you Sarah! You’re a true hero.
Johnny Gillett (United Kingdom)
Storyteller, Mime Artist, Performance Director
Johnny has been performing and working with children for over twenty five years. Originally trained in Mime, Theatre, and Dance, Johnny now celebrates his passion for performance and learning through travelling near and far as The Journey Man.
He sings, dances, plays guitar, drums, teaches drama and directs theatre performances!
Johnny's passion for stories started with his Mum and Dad, who used to read to him every night. Being the oldest of five boys, he in turn told tales to his brothers. This then grew into telling stories to other people. Sharing stories grew into his passion. He says: "I always wanted to travel. Perhaps being part of a big family in a small house- I wanted to get out and find some space! I originally wanted to be a zoologist - studying animals in the rainforests of the world. But I am more of a performer, so instead I tell stories from rainforests, and deserts, and snow, and woodland, and hilltops..." It sure sounds to us like Johnny gets to travel to many different places.
For 6 years Johnny devoted a large part of his work life to helping us develop new Camp Magic programs. For the past few years he has committed much of his time to developing his own company in Malaysia and China.
Johnny is on standby to join us at this year's Phoenix Chronicles. We look forward to working together again!
Jayanthi Siva-Lecolley (Singapore)
Dancer, ONLINE Teacher
When Jayanthi was 10 years old, she had a teacher who made dancing so much fun. Since then, she continues to create movement and dances that connect her to this bliss.
Jayanthi is well respected in her field of both Contemporary and Traditional Indian Dance. Well sought after as both performer and choreographer in both Singapore and overseas, Jayanthi also enjoys teaching. She says, "There is no one who has two left feet- everyone has rhythm and movement in their bodies. As a teacher, I enjoy working with children and adults to bring out their individuality. We should be asking people to move as themselves, and not simply mimic and copy the movements of others."
After receiving several years of dance training at the Singapore Indian Fine Art Society and the Nrityalaya Aesthetics Society of Singapore, Jayanthi then went on to Brisbane where she received her Bachelor in Drama and Masters of Fine Art in Dance. She returned to Singapore in 2003, and began her role as the Associate Artist at the Substation.
Since then, Jayanthi has turned more and more to Performance Direction, Choreography, and Teaching. In fact, she has been instructing in the Performing Arts department at Ngee Ann Polytechnic for the past 6 years.
Jayanthi began her journey with Camp Magic in 2010. We welcome her back after a long absence as she joins us in creating wonderful online adventures for the children.
Billie Phoenix (Canada/Australia)
Dancer and Flow Artist
Billie has been studying dance since she was 3 years old, and has taken a shine to Irish Dance over the last five years. Her circus skills have been honed over many Camp Magic programs with the guidance of Shaheen and Shouniez van der Schyff.
Beginning in 2018, Billie started to join the crew in our opening performances. Shaheen and Shouniez have been guiding her to perform with hoops, poi, and create a fusion of Irish Dance, Hip Hop and Circus Flow at our openings.
In 2021, Billie will be joining Camp Magic at her first International Festival, BaliSpirit. Thank you, Billie for your commitment and positivity!
Mickey Johnson (South Africa/Bali)
Hip Hop Dancer and Flow Artist
Mickey joined our Camp Magic performance team in 2019. He has always loved Hip Hop dancing, and wowed the crowds last year with his signature moves. He has a natural bounce and lively smile that creates a lot of warmth and fun in the performance space.
In addition to dance performance, Mickey has also enjoyed learning circus flow techniques since the age of 5. His latest passion is stilt walking, and he looks forward to performing on stilts at Balispirit Festival in 2021.
Mickey looks forward to joining Camp Magic again in 2020. Welcome back Mickey!