Dave founded Dionysus to develop a more artistic and compelling culture in Canberra. Through an extraordinary range of quality cultural projects shown on this site, his team program and manage places to become meaningful destinations. For a video on David's current work, see this HerCanberra interview.
Driven by contemporary philosophies of culture and meaning (esp. deconstruction and post-subjectivity), Dave has connected skills across programming, arts administration, event management, branding and communications, hospitality, government regulation, place visioning and place management to widen the creativity and critical response of hundreds of thousands of people. This creates more exciting places to visit and live, and nurtures harmonious communities to value creativity and, over time, greater existential meaning. In today’s fragmented world, that’s what we need most.
He is the sole Director of Dionysus and volunteers as both the President of MusicACT and a Director of Australian Dance Party.
Lavanna is the Canberra City Place Manager.
Her career started in a 1950s Rock’n’Roll café, dancing the Peppermint Twist and feeding the jukebox while slinging shakes and hot apple pie. After completing the Acting for Screen & Stage degree at Charles Sturt University, Lavanna relocated to Melbourne.
By day she set up a café at the Bundoora Homestead Art Gallery and at night managed and booked one of Melbourne’s most popular jazz and reggae venues – Cape Lounge; as well in her spare time directing plays, running a small catering business, and acting as a tour manager/publicist for a blues and roots artist.
Moving into the cinematic world in 2006, Lavanna worked for 11 years at Palace Cinemas fulfilling numerous roles including Festivals Event Co-Ordinator and National Sponsorship Manager. She relocated to Canberra in 2012 to open Palace Electric Cinema as General Manager. Actively running over 14 film festival opening nights per year, as well as running the business operations of a cinema, bar and café; Lavanna is a multi-skilled event manager with a keen business mind.
She joined Dionysus in July 2017 as Place Manager for the ANU Pop-Up Village, where she was the nexus of the uni's main social hub, overseeing daily operations and up to 20 events per week, including concerts, interactive events, cultural exchanges, public lectures and a red-hot Politics in the Pub. Lavanna has worked with the Dionysus team as the Festival Manager of both Art, Not Apart and the Greek Film Festival, and still advises the team on those festivals, but is managing 11 staff on behalf of ACT Government so is pretty tied up programming and activating our capital city.
Gupi is a native visual communicator. Gupi spent time studying architecture under Professor Mario Botta at Università della Svizzera Italiana in Switzerland. She combines her skills in architecture, photography and graphic design; to add art, colour, and fun to our stories. Despite speaking four languages, visual representation is Gupi's speciality, giving spice and excitement to the everyday.
Gupi uses her superpowers of visual design and communication, to create beauty in any story they tell, be it through a photo, words or a hilarious Tik-Tok. In Argentina, Gupi specialised in storytelling for events. She might be short but she dreams big! She combined her event management and visual representation skills to produce Climactivo, an international Climate Change summit with 20,000 people, and also led a team of 15 to deliver a 500,000 people, 10 day festival for Argentina's bicentenary.
Gupi can always be found behind the camera, sharing smiles with all those around her.
Isaac creates and implements events at Dionysus. In 2020 and 2021, Isaac developed a new framework to analyse music festival cancellation in the context of covid and beyond in his thesis Showstoppers: How Music Festival Decide to Cancel, which was awarded first-class honours at the University of Melbourne. While writing this thesis, he worked every weekday with Dionysus to produce Lunchbox Acoustic, a constant series of safe outdoor gigs in the middle of a pandemic.
Isaac's driving motivation is to give people the opportunity to connect with each other and the arts. He believes that eudaemonia (human flourishing) arises from the constant practice of being happy and living with purpose, and that artistic events are a way to achieve this.
From early beginnings at ANU, where he studied a Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics and ran uniVibes, the student party society, Isaac honed his craft of producing events, ranging from all-night extravaganzas in a functioning church to spinning vinyl at art gallery openings. He also fell in love with music, producing several albums, DJing every weekend, and working with emerging local artists to help them find their sound through mastering original creations and working on live sound for bands.
Isaac joined the team in 2020, and has worked closely with place-focused stakeholders to develop events and experiences to facilitate connection and spark connections and joy. He also moonlights as Director of Canberra House Social, an innovative house music collective.
Ben (or Buda to his friends) is the texpert of Dionysus. A graphic designer by profession, a video editor by passion, but a professional technology fiddler by necessity. Over the past ten years, he has designed and developed websites and applications in Argentina, a multi-award winning technology company based in Spain, Portugal, Brisbane and Canberra.
He credits his patience and ability to solve complex problems to one thing: lego, which propelled him into nerdom.
Ben studied and later taught graphic design and audiovisual media at UNSTA (Tucumán, Argentina), and also taught in Tasmania.
Ben combines his video editing and VJing skills with design and event curation, working with some of the most prestigious events in Argentina and top DJs for multitudinous electronic parties.
At Dionysus, Ben brings event management and place activation into the 21st century through new software workflows, website developments and building innovative technology solutions.
Freddie McGrath Weber is a multiskilled problem solver working across marketing, event management, agriculture, fabrication, and creative industries. At Dionysus, when stuff breaks he's 'Mr. Fix It', in addition to backing Dave's brilliant and bizarre ideas in his role as Functions and Fabrications Lead.
Freddie graduated from the Australian National University with a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Marketing, and a Bachelor of Visual Arts, majoring in Sculpture. His artistic practice stems from an environmentalist mindset that takes the form of documentary photography and sculptural works influenced by his interactions with nature. Outside the arty party, his bread and butter are marketing and events work where his talents stem from content creation through to event management and innovation. Outside of the studio or big smoke, you can find Freddie on his family farm in the Majura Valley developing agribusiness ideas that have local and industry impact.
Fabio is our man in charge of the Soul Defender, from piloting the Mothership to curating her projects, installing the sound, lights and everything in between. He manages the party arm of the company with Escape Ferocity, Canberra's beloved underground electronic music event brand. In contrast to the creative roles, he also manages compliance for all of Dionysus' projects, making sure everything is fabulously safe, yet still stupidly spectacular. Interestingly, his background revolves exactly around all those things...
Always involved with event management and electronic music from a very young age, where his career progressed to an internationally renowned artist, performing on some of the biggest festival stages in the world, such as Boom Festival in Portugal and Rainbow Serpent here in Australia. The business side of things very much interested him since the start, becoming involved with labels, event organisers and key players behind the scenes came naturally. His events back in Brazil had a special touch, bringing together all his experiences from around the globe.
On a side note, he is an avid wakeboarder who loves being out in the water and an aspiring aircraft pilot; he feels the Soul Defender has been the closest thing to actually flying.
Yana Young is our Dickson Place Manager. Yana hails from Indonesia, studied event organisation, speaks five languages fluently, and has now made Canberra her home. Yana has a unique perspective on placemaking in that she sees it though various multicultural lenses, as well as being able to compare and contrast the Dickson environment to her experiences living in Southeast Asia. Yana's ability to speak with community stakeholders at their level, in their language, where they are is a great boon for Dionysus and Dickson, and her integration in the multicultural and multilingual community in Canberra makes her a wonderful addition to our team.