Betty Walters

Betty, a retired junior school headmistress, knew both Betty and Joan Rayner personally in their later years and gained a direct appreciation of their lifetime works. Betty has been active in the Box Hill community having served for twelve years on Box Hill City Council, including a term as Mayor, Commissioner of the Board of Works, and Chair of the inner eastern region of the Family and Community Services committee. She also served nine years on the Board of Box Hill Hospital, later as Senior Vice-President. Betty has a particular interest in theatre for children. During her teaching years she focussed on enriching students’ learning experiences by arranging incursions from touring companies and excursions to circus, dance, theatre and musical productions. She is thrilled to now be involved with ACTF. Betty’s great joy since retiring is time spent with her three young grandsons.

Gilly McInnes

Originally a drama teacher, Gilly McInnes spent many decades working in the Arts for and with young people as writer, director, performer, artist in residence and teacher. She was an early member of the Mushroom Troupe ensemble, and a member of Handspan Theatre for 17 years. As Gilly Farrelly she toured Australia with her solos shows Cafe Mad and The Swashbuckling Adventures of Grandma Mad. Her shows for children toured major theatres as well as schools, libraries, paddocks, streets and kindergartens. She enjoyed being mentored by Joan and Betty Rayner during this time. Gilly has written more than 30 plays for children performed by leading children's theatre companies including Handspan, Patch, Arena and Polyglot. Her adaptation of The Hobbit toured theatres nationally and in the USA. Gilly also wrote and presented for Radio National's education program for children. For 4 years Gilly was Artistic Director of Polyglot and previously sat on the boards of both Polyglot and Handspan. More recently she taught in the (now discontinued) Puppetry course at the Victorian College of the Arts, and currently teaches Drama at the Trinity College Foundation Studies Program.

David Weil

David Weil is a practising Law Institute accredited specialist property lawyer, CPA member and graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. As a young boy, David was privileged to be invited to storytelling sessions and puppetry performances at Merryfield – the home of Joan and Betty Rayner. Subsequently, David assisted Joan Rayner in establishing the Australian Children’s Theatre Foundation and has been an ACTF trustee since its inception. David’s other community interests include being Chairman of Huntingtower School, trustee of the Sir Edward Dunlop International Students Emergency Fund, and Immediate Past President of the Australian Asian Association of Victoria with past involvement in the Landcare Foundation and Foundation Boroondara. David enjoys live theatre and performs occasionally in amateur theatre musicals. As an ACTF trustee, David enjoys seeing the delight on children’s faces as they watch the ACTF sponsored performances.

Joe Toohey

Joe is the Executive Director of Regional Arts Victoria and brings a wealth of administrative and management experience gained at Footscray Community Arts Centre, SYN Media, Express Media, Macleod YMCA and Victoria University. Born and raised in Albury, Joe relocated to Melbourne to attend university and foster the arts. He has a Bachelor of Business (Marketing / Music Industry), and in 2013 he completed his Master of Arts Management at the University of Melbourne following an internship in Singapore, and also completed the Australia Council for the Arts Emerging Leaders Program in 2014. He is currently Treasurer of the Footscray Community Arts Centre. Joe was General Manager and CEO at Express Media from 2010-2013, where he led a restructure of the organisation, as well as introducing exciting new partnerships leading to a comprehensive program of literary and developmental offerings for young writers. His past roles at Regional Arts Victoria have included supporting the Cultural Partnerships team and our regionally-based Creative Arts Facilitators, as well as coordinating our State-Wide Project Illuminated By Fire in 2010. 

Richard Sallis

Richard Sallis lectures in drama/theatre at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE) at The University of Melbourne. He has a background in the performing arts and Theatre for Young People (TYP) including his past work as a regular team member at the St. Martins Youth Arts Centre. Richard is a former President of Drama Australia and the current Director of Publications for IDEA (the International Drama/Theatre in Education Association). He is also a previous Director of Programs for Drama Victoria, the drama teachers’ association of Victoria. He has a particular interest in performed research (and verbatim theatre) and has written several plays using this form of research reportage. His research interests include drama/theatre education, the arts in primary schools, global education and gender identity in education.

Rod Parnell

Rod Parnall was formerly a manager with the Department of Education and Training with responsibilities for Arts education amongst other areas. He was trained as a Drama and Media teacher and taught at secondary and tertiary levels. He was responsible for the development and implementation of VCE Drama and Theatre Studies both as writer, Chief Examiner and State Reviewer for both and the development and management of K—10 arts curriculum for Victoria. He currently advises on pre-production film scripts among other related arts activities and volunteers his spare time with refugee support.



Joan Helen Rayner AM – Founder 1993
Donald Wilson Mackay
Anthony Alfred Lenten

David George Weil
Shirley Beryl Paine