Our Staff


Story Factory is run by a hard-working team of committed creatives who love words and writing, but only half as much as they love the looks on the faces of kids  who have just discovered they can WRITE!

Above, we are: (front row) Richard, Craig, Carol, Helen, Jayne; (middle row) Nikola, Bilal, Tammy, Cath, John; (back row) Tony, Bheki, Amber, Matt.


Dr Catherine Keenan was formerly a journalist with The Sydney Morning Herald, working as an arts writer and as literary editor. Prior to that, she completed her doctorate in English Literature at Oxford University.  She and Tim Dick co-founded the Story Factory in 2012 and Cath has been executive director ever since.  She is also the 2016 Australian of the Year  Local Hero.


Nikola Amanovic has experience and education in performing arts, community development and business. After realising that finance is not his thing, Nikola completed a Graduate Diploma in Dramatic Art (Directing) at Nida, and worked in theatre for a few years. In 2011, search for meaning took him to the war-torn Province of Kosovo, where he worked with a local development organisation.  He spent the last three years leading social change initiatives across Western Sydney. Nikola is really excited about joining the Story Factory team, as it enables him to combine his love for storytelling and work with diverse communities.

richard short - storyteller-in-chief, redfern

Prior to joining the Story Factory, Richard taught at secondary schools (English and English as a Second Language) in the western suburbs of Sydney. In 2014, Richard completed a Master of Creative Writing, and his first book of poetry, Bone Ink, was shortlisted  for the 2018 Kenneth Slessor Prize. He has lectured in numerous courses including: Creativity, Youth Culture and The Arts; Integrated Arts and Education.

bilal hafda - STORYTELLEr-in-chief, Parramatta

Bilal is a high school English teacher with a passion for spoken-word poetry. Alongside running poetry and creative writing workshops in schools, he was involved in the RESPECT program, a series of Creative Arts Domestic Violence workshops with upper-primary students in Western Sydney. He is a member of the Bankstown Poetry Slam and is constantly looking to facilitate and nurture the voice of the participants of the slams and audiences who attend them.


Matt has been with Story Factory since its earliest days, after working pro-bono with London's Ministry of Stories. Matt has degrees in education, arts, visual communications, and design. He programs and runs workshops, assists with fundraising campaigns, works on creative partnerships, and is the in-house designer.

helen coolican - storyteller

Helen Coolican has over 20 years’ experience as a teacher, and is passionate about putting creativity back at the heart of education. She is a veritable dynamo, has a wonderful warm manner with kids and grown ups, and is a fantastic organiser. Helen plays a key role in maintaining the Story Factory's connections with the local community and led the Home Project to success in 2014.


John is from the Nucoorilma Clan of the Gamilaroi Nation. He's been working in the performing arts and Aboriginal cultural education for many years, including as a guide with the Royal National Parks & Wildlife Service, as a presenter and cultural advisor with Sydney Opera House and as a guide for The Rocks Dreaming Aboriginal Heritage Tour. He is a drama teacher and has lectured widely on Aboriginal culture.  His favourite rain is light sparkly rain when Grandfather Sun is out.

carol quast - storyteller

Carol has been an active volunteer at SSF for nearly four years. She is passionate about making creative writing fun and enjoyable. Carol is a trained teacher and has taught in primary and secondary schools. Currently she mentors trainee teachers for UTS as a tertiary supervisor. Before returning to her home in Redfern in 2011, Carol was a lecturer for post graduate trainee teachers at two London universities and was Chair of Governors at a large comprehensive boys school in London's South East.

Tammy burnstock - STORYTELLER

Tammy loves all kinds of stories. During more than 20 years in children's media (12 with the ABC), she has written animation, for puppets, Bananas in Pyjamas and Play School, and recently produced a scented cinema revival of Scent of Mystery (1960), a feature film written for smell. In addition to storytelling, Tammy works with My Choice Matters and volunteers for Foto Friendship, linking students in Australia and East Timor.


Rebecca Smith - STORYTELLER

Rebecca worked as a high school English and Drama teacher before joining the Story Factory in early 2018. From a young age she has always held a passion for reading, writing and the creative arts. She is currently completing a Master of Creative Writing at Macquarie University, which she hopes will lead her to publishing work for the first time. She is also a current member of her local musical society where she participates in performances and stage managing.


Tony Britten has worked as a high school English teacher and in arts education. He has presented to teachers and students for a range of organisations. Tony has been a Premier’s English Literature Scholarship recipient and a Sydney Grammar/ State Library of New South Wales Fellow. Tony began leading workshops as a storyteller at Story Factory in 2016, and is now a permanent member of the team.

kimberley Greaves - STORYTELLER

Kimberley is an experienced high school drama teacher and arts facilitator. She has worked with children and young people in a range of settings including summer camps, acting schools and youth care organisations.  She is also a writer and performer with an independent theatre company that shares stories through dance, comedy and physical theatre. Kimberley is interested in the different ways movement and drama can be used to inspire and share stories.

craig new - volunteer manager & Mission control

Craig New is charged with wrangling our immense (in size and wonderfulness) team of volunteers, and looks after all communication to info@sydneystoryfactory.org.au with schools, parents, students and the occasional alien transmission. He is in the middle of a teaching degree, loves chocolate and The Muppets, and is known for walking and reading at the same time. He is also your go-to person for any question about your volunteering experience.

Sasanki tennakoon - Office and volunteer co-ordinator

Sasanki Tennakoon is an arts worker, emerging artist and writer based in the Blue Mountains. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from National Art School, Information Management Graduate Diploma from University of Technology and has been working with Blacktown Arts since 2012. Sasanki has experience in arts administration, marketing and supporting arts-based community engagement programs. Sasanki is the Office and Volunteer Coordinator for the Parramatta chapter - but only when she’s done picking Craig’s brain about all things Mission Control

jayne wasmuth - development manager

Jayne Wasmuth has had a lifelong passion for books, reading and writing and worked in the book industry for many years, both in New Zealand and Australia. After making a shift into the non-profit sector she helped develop the major donor giving program for The Fred Hollows Foundation. She is responsible for donor relations, partnerships and fundraising.

amber dalrymple - fundraising & development coordinator

Formerly an Intellectual Property lawyer, Amber left the law to follow her real love: community arts. After doing pro-bono legal advocacy work for the Arts Law Centre of Australia, she worked for a small publisher and became a Story Factory volunteer. She has assisted with volunteer and project management at the Story Factory and currently coordinates all things grants and fundraising-related, including monthly giving by the wonderful Story Factory Inkwells and corporate team volunteering.


Sally dreamt of being Australia’s first female fighter pilot. Sadly, she never grew tall enough. A brilliant but brief career as an opera singer followed, before illness stole her voice in tragically operatic fashion.  Since joining the not-for-profit sector in 2010, Sally has managed grant and donor programs for some of Australia’s largest performing arts and social welfare organisations. Currently studying a Master’s degree in Not-for-Profit and Social Enterprise Management, she wishes that relating its name took less time than studying it.

jane han - administration officer

Jane used to moonlight in digital media and research before finding her way to the Story Factory, first as a volunteer and now as an admin officer – making sure that all the bits and pieces behind the scenes are running smoothly. When she’s not running around after her little girl she likes to dabble in yoga and food adventures.