Alison Toft

Alison Toft

Byron Bay-based artist and Auslan interpreter, Alison Toft joins the artistic line up for The Corner Dance Lab 16 – 24 January 2015. She is part of a team of some of Australia’s leading contemporary dance artists led by Philip Channells (Dance Integrated Australia) and Gavin Webber (The Farm) who will deliver a week-long program of dance workshops, masterclasses and performance-making projects.

The Corner Dance Lab is a disability-inclusive event. Through her dance and Auslan experience Toft brings to The Corner another level of expertise, which is an exciting additional layer from which creative possibilities will arise.

With a small team of Auslan qualified  Interpreters engaged throughout the week, Deaf participants and audience members will be provided an opportunity to express themselves and move deeper into dance and its creative processes.

Alison joins a team of local collaborators comprising Phil Blackman, Sean Campbell, Philip Channells & Kimberley McIntyre and guest artists Hsin-Ju Chiu (Raw) & Ben Ely (Melbourne), Lee-Anne Litton & Timothy Oh (Sydney), Kate Harman & Gavin Webber (Gold Coast). These artists will share their daily routines, practice, ideas and experiments with emerging and established dancers and choreographers attending The Corner Dance Lab 2015 held at The Federal School of Arts’ Jasper Corner venue.

An accessible venue for people with mobility impairment, Jasper Corner (the community hall and old chapel) is the cultural heart of the historic Federal village, which is just 15 minutes off the Pacific Highway along Coolamon Scenic Drive and only 30 minutes inland from Byron Bay on the NSW North Coast.

The Corner Dance Lab 2015 is being whispered around the community. Every gig I attend I meet a dancer, a musician, an audience member, someone who knows someone from the previous 2014 Lab. I feel excited to be a part of this fantastic inclusive dance program. Having lived in this area for long time it’s wonderful to see an array of artists and facilitators working together within a regional Community and so close to my home. I look forward to learning from others, sharing and weaving many stories through dance, music and art at The Corner Dance Lab 2015. Alison Toft

Expressions of Interest for The Corner Dance Lab close on Monday 22 December 2014. For more information or to request an Expression of Interest form, email Project Manager, Sean Campbell <> or telephone / text Philip Channells on +61 432 073 304.


Alison Toft graduated from Newtown High School of the Performing Arts in 1991. She is currently a NAATI accredited Auslan Interpreter and independent artist from the North Coast of NSW. She holds a BA majoring in dance (UWS Nepean) and a Diploma of Interpreting English / Auslan from the Southbank Institute of TAFE, QLD.

Alison works as a community, educational and medical Interpreter in organisations including Arts Access Victoria, R.E.D. Inc. and The Deaf Society of NSW. She has worked in a variety of settings such as art galleries and dance rehearsals.

Through exploring the relationships between Auslan, music, poetry & dance, Alison has created some unique work performing at events including: Splendour in the Grass, Manly Arts Festival, Sydney, Woodford Folk Festival (2000 – 2006) signing with musicians such as Kristina Olsen and Stringmansassy. She has performed at a variety of CD launches, community choirs and benefit concerts including a disability conference, ‘Out of the Spotlight’.

In 2005 Alison was involved in a company called Round Angle. This was a sensorial theatre company working with Deaf, Deaf Blind and Hearing actors. The project Sauce/Source went on to receive a Tilt Award. She has trained and worked with Janis Claxton, studied under Greg Sheehan, Cheryl Hazlewood, Kathryn Riding and performed in The Byron Bay Theatre Company’s Macbeth, A Carmen and in 2013 The Theatre Project’s, The House of Bernada Alba, which were all directed by Rob Owens.

In 2013 Alison performed at the Byron Community Centre in ‘Dwell – A Triple Bill’, which was directed by Philip Channells for Sprung Integrated Dance Theatre. She performed in three works by Philip Blackman, Sue Whiteman and Philip Channells (Creative Director, Dance Integrated Australia).

Photo: Alison Toft (a selfie)

The Corner Dance Lab 2015 was made possible by the Australian Government’s regional arts program, the Regional Arts Fund, which gives all Australians, wherever they live, better access to opportunities to practice and experience the arts.