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.
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.
Oliver Hughes, or more commonly referred to internally as ‘The Soul Man’, is the newest member to join the Dionysus Team as Soul and Operations Lead.
He studied at the ANU School of Art and Design specialising in Photography and Media Arts, where he adopted light painting techniques in his art practice and in designs for event promoters in Canberra and Sydney.
Shortly after graduating, he became infatuated with Aboriginal rock art, and specifically how our First Nations people used art as a teaching mechanism, evidence of ancient libraries illustrated in galleries found in nature. He travelled over 5000kms to lead rock art expeditions in the remote Kimberley region for a high-end tour company. Operating in this harsh environment for over six years, this city-slicker-turned-off-road-truckie became an expert of using initiative to solve complex problems, preparing him for his role at Dionysus.
In 2019 Oliver joined Dionysus with a clear mandate: give the city more soul. On any given day Oliver will be pumping tunes and bubbles while commanding The Soul Defender, researching party artillery or strategising for the next series of cutting edge events. He also works closely with Lavanna to design and deliver a diversity of cultural programs for ACT Government.
Classically trained but never contained – that’s the tagline for Michael Liu’s stage alias ‘Mr Michael’. He has performed prolifically over the last decade and has cemented his reputation as an accomplished and versatile contemporary violinist and DJ.
His other passion? Communications. Michael first worked as a sub-editor in news monitoring at the Press Gallery before a stint as a political staffer for a local senator. Seeking a more dynamic environment, he branched out into retail and hospitality, both on the frontline and in various marketing and business development roles. In 2015, Michael was the first to join Dave at Dionysus - and he hasn’t looked back. He has since led the communications strategy and delivery for all Dionysus projects and developed strong relationships with media across the Canberra region and beyond.
Michael’s contributions as a communicator were recognised with the Markus Gibson-Huck Young Achiever Award at the 2019 Canberra Region Tourism Awards. Michael also serves as the Vice-President of the Canberra chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).
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.
Tegan Garnett curates and coordinates with the team at Dionysus, while also making sure the office dog, Frida, gets regular outside breaks.
Tegan came to Dionysus by her role as Program Coordinator of Art, Not Apart festival (2019, 2020) while studying a Bachelor of Arts at ANU, majoring in Philosophy and minor in Art History. Captured by events that intentionally bring people together to stir and stimulate emotions in the individual, she has strong beliefs in Art's imperative role in inciting movement, resistance, change, and unity.
Canberra's Arts scene is a great inspiration for Tegan, especially collaborating with and being privy to the work of local artists and other curators. As Creative Producer and Director of both Renaissance (2018) and pop-up local art gallery Degenerate & Six (2018), she has worked with a large number of emerging and established local artists. From working on the Inner North Art Prize team (2018), Art and Design Editor for BMA Mag (2018), Décor Coordinator for Groovin' the Moo (2019), and Manager of The Front Gallery (2019), Tegan has obtained insight into the professional world of Canberra's thriving creative scene, the movers and shakers of which she has great faith in and admiration for.