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In Conversation with the cast and creators of Here Come the Habibs

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State Library of New South Wales

Macquarie Street

Metcalfe Room

Sydney, NSW 2000


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Here Come the Habibs created a storm of controversy before it screened and it hasn’t stopped …Join Sacha Horler as she discusses the conception, making of and release of this sensationally successful series with the cast, creator, director and producers...

Speakers include: Helen Dallimore, Camilla Ah Kin, Darren Gilshenan, Michael Denkha, Kat Hoyos, Tyler de Nawi, Sam Alhaje, director Darren Ashton, producer Chloe Rickard, co-head of drama, Nine Network, Andy Ryan and co-creator Rob Shehadie.



Sacha Horler’s film credit highlights include AFI award winning roles in Praise, Soft Fruit and Travelling Light. And AFI Award nominations for her work in My Year without Sex, Secrets Bridesmaids Business and Russian Doll. She also performed the voice of Strix Struma in Zack Snyder’s Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole and is currently on screen opposite Kate Winslet in Jocelyn Morehouse’s The Dressmaker.

Sacha’s role in the comedy series The Moody’s, saw her nominated for a Monte Carlo Best Comedy Actress. Just a few of her vast roles in television include the Seven Network drama Catching Milat, Old School, opposite Bryan Brown and Sam Neill, Black Comedy, telemovies Beaconsfield & Hawke, Love My Way, Offspring, Rake, Small Time Gangster and her AFI nominated role in Grass Roots.

With Sacha’s theatre credits too numerous to name all, a small list include Other Desert Cities for the Melbourne Theatre Company, Mariage Blanc, God of Carnage, The Removalists, The Crucible, Pygmalion, Three Sisters, Far Away and Life After George for the Sydney Theatre Company, and Peribanez, Blue Murder, The Birthday Party, Hamlet and Svetlana in Slingbacks for Company B.

Sacha’s upcoming projects include the highly anticipated series The Kettering Incident opposite Elizabeth Debecki for Foxtel, Matchbox/NBCU series Secret City opposite Jacki Weaver and Alan Dale, ABC’s Jack Irish opposite Guy Pearce and in the comedy feature film A Few Less Men for Arclight Films.


Helen Dallimore is a veteran of stage and screen, both in Australia and the U.K.

In 2007, Helen famously created the role of the original Glinda in Wicked on London’s West End, opposite Idina Menzel. During that time she performed for the 2007 Royal Command Performance for the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. Helen also starred as Cinderella in the Olivier Award winning production of Into The Woods at Regents Park in Lodnon.

Helen first made her name playing Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls while still at NIDA. She has subsequently appeared in many productions for Sydney Theatre Company, where she was part of the actor ensemble that opened The Sydney Theatre, wwith the musical The Republic of Myopia and the play Harbour. She starred in the leading role of Simone in David Williamson’s hugely successful Up For Grabs, as well as in Spring Awakening, Pentacost, The Unlikely Prospect of Happiness and The Hanging Man. She also starred as air hostess Gloria in Boeing Boeing opposite Shaun Micallef for New Theatricals.

Most recently Helen performed to sold out audiences and critical acclaim in Willy Russell’s Bloor Brothers in Sydney and Melbourne.

In 2013, Helen won the Helpmann Award for Actress in a Supporting Role for her role as Paulette in Legally Blonde: The Musical.

Helen has simultaneously enjoyed a career on screen, starring in feature films Mr. Accident, Russian Doll, The Sugar Factory, Tempe Tip and in the British feature Mother’s Milk. She starred as Meg in the ABC TV movie Secret Bridesmaid’s Business, as Annette Gordon in The Day of the Roses, as well as in the mini series Postcard Bandit and Little Oberon.

Guest roles include Midsummer Murders, Laid, Chandon Pictures, Home and Away, Rescue Special Ops, All Saints, Bad Cop Bad Cop, Flipper, Pacfic Drive, GP, Water Rats, In Your Dreams, This Christmas, House Husbands and Wonderland.

She has also appeared in several US productions including the TV movies South Pacific, Three Stooges, and the US feature film Kangaroo Jack.

Helen is currently starring as Olivia O’Neil in the new acclaimed Australian television comedy series, Here Come the Habibs.


Darren’s diversity as an artist is his strength and has allowed him an extensive body of work. After graduating from The National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in ’88 he began his career in Musicals before spending 10 years with The Bell Shakespeare. Sketch comedy followed with 3 years on Full Frontal followed by some great TV series; Dossa and Joe (BBC/Granada), AFI Nominated Chandon Pictures and Logie nominated Derrick, which he wrote and starred in.

Darren returned to the theatre for 7 productions with the Sydney Theatre Company and then to the small screen again; Moody Christmas and The Moody’s, as Uncle Terry, the Emmy-winning Top of the Lake created by Jane Campion and Gerard Lee, The Elegant Gentleman’s Guide to Knife Fighting, Rake, Janet King, The Killing Field, Old School, Devil’s Playground, Maximum Choppage, No Activity, which he co-developed and co-wrote, and Here Come the Habibs, currently on Nine Network.

Film credits include; Save Your legs, The Outlaw Michael Howe, the AACTA nominated Liebermans in the Sky, and Women He’s Undressed, the Orry-Kelly story directed by Gillian Armstrong, which is currently nominated for Best Feature Length Documentary at the 5th AACTAs.

Recent theatre includes Strictly Ballroom the Musical directed by Baz Luhrmann in the role of Doug Hastings, Absent Friends by Alan Ayckbourn at the Ensemble Theatre, Arthur in Mother and Son alongside Noelene Brown and Piggsy in a festival version of Monkey - Journey to the West. In 2016, he can be seen in the role of Paul in Sydney Theatre Company’s production of Machu Picchu and in Tartuffe, in the title role, for the Black Swan State Theatre Company and Queensland Theatre Company.

He has won a Best Actor Helpmann Award for The Servant of Two Masters, Equity Ensemble Awards for The Moody’s and A Moody Christmas, and been nominated for Green Room, Sydney Critics and Glugg Awards.


Camilla is a graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, and later, continued study in Paris at L'Ecole Internationale Du Theatre, Jacques Lecoq, on a cultural scholarship from the government of France.

She completed post-graduate research at the Centre for Performance Studies at the University of Sydney with her thesis entitled “A Chance Gathering of Strays: The Australian Theatre Family” for her MA, by Research with High Distinction in 2010.

She has appeared in numerous theatre productions for the Western Australian State Theatre Company-The Cherry Orchard, Dinkum Assorted, Boss of the Pool, No Sugar and Our Town. For Belvoir St. Theatre in No Sugar, The Small Poppies. Marion St. Theatre in Sailor Beware. New England Theatre in The Game of Love and Chance. The Sydney Theatre Company in The Government Inspector, Pentecost, The Visit, Playgrounds, Chasing the Dragon and Boy Gets Girl. The Bell Shakespeare Company in Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, As You Like It and Romeo and Juliet. The Melbourne Theatre Company in, The Bear, Family Running For Mr Whippy, The Flying Doctor, and Like Whisky on the Breath of a Drunk You Love. For the Q Theatre in Milo. For the Griffin Theatre Company in A Ship of Fools and The Nightwatchman for which she was nominated as Best Supporting Actress in 2007 by the Sydney Theatre Critics. Silent Disco for which she received a Glug award for best supporting actress and Jump for Jordan. The Ensemble Theatre in Laughter on the 23rd Floor. For the Alex Buzo Company in Shafana and Aunt Sarrinah (By Alana Valentine). Seymour Centre/ Old Parliament House/WollongongTheatre co/ Peter Fray co production of The Hansard Monologues (as Julia Gillard).

As one of the original instigators of Theatre Hydra (at the Old Fitzroy) in Sydney 1998, Camilla co produced and directed for THEATRE 20/20 A Property of the Clan, The Maids and Chekhov’s Three Sisters (as Masha).

As Director, Camilla has worked for The Bell Shakespeare Company on Who's Laughing Now (National Tour), Monkey Baa on Worry Warts By Maurice Gleitzman (also as dramaturge, and National tour), The Winters Tale, and the Agents Day Audition show for Theatre Nepean. Henry IV (Pirandello) and the Insect Play for the Australian Academy of Dramatic Art and “The Chekhov Project”, "American Scenes", "Hamlet " and "Roberto Zucco" for the Actors College of Theatre and Television. In Paris, for Chant de la Terre Rouge an original music theatre piece performed at the Australian Embassy. Camilla directed “Belonging” by Ned Manning in the Seven Needs (by the 7On writers group) series at Griffin Theatre Company.

Camilla has work-shopped and performed many new Australian plays at the Australian National Playwrights Conferences 1994,1995, 2002, 2005 and 2009 2013 for PlayWriting Australia.

Television work includes Rake, Blue Heelers, Stories from the Golf, Halifax F.P, Murder Call, Backberner, All Saints, CNNNN, Stupid Stupid Man, Tough Nuts and the SBS TV series GOING HOME as cast regular Najette. Camilla played the title role in the film I Eugenia (Dendy Award) and appeared in Ali and The Ball (Best Short film) 2008 Sydney Film Festival and was selected for the Berlin Film Festival 2009.

As Industrial Organiser for Live Performance with Actors Equity, (MEAA) Camilla has written and strategized extensively on the issue of the payment of professional independent theatre artists. She is passionate about the right to economic dignity for artists and their work In Australia.

As guest panelist for the Sydney Fringe Festival panel 2014 “Where are The Canapés?” and for the Equity Summit of Creativity and Diversity: “You Can’t Eat Exposure” panel, both regarding the payment of professional Artists in the Independent sector. Camilla spoke at the recent Australian Theatre Forum 2015, on a panel discussing a “betterment clause”. This year on the panel in discussion with Women in Theatre and Screen at Carriage Works theatre discussing issues of gender parity in 2016.

Most recently Camilla appeared as Lois Caleo in the Australian

Feature film Holding the Man (Goalpost Pictures). She is currently appearing as Mariam Habib in the Channel 9 series Here Come The Habibs.

Camilla is a proud member of Equity and a committee member of the Actors Benevolent Fund (NSW).


Since graduating from the prestigious NIDA in 1995, Michael has built a reputation for being one of Australia’s finest actors, appearing in numerous stage productions, films and television programmes.

Michael has appeared in many iconic Australian television dramas and comedies, with roles in SBS’ critically acclaimed East West 101 (Season 2), as well as Rake, At Home With Julia, All Saints, Chandon, Stingers, White Collar Blue, Water Rats, Home and Away, The Alice, Blue Heelers, Young Lions and Comedy Inc. Michael has most recently been seen in The Principal directed by Kriv Stenders, the ABC’s tense drama The Code as ‘Nasim Parande’, the Tony Krawitz/Rachel Ward directed mini-series Devil’s Playground and Peter Andrikidis’ mini-series Catching Milat. Upcoming television series include Black Comedy (Season 2), Rake (Season 4) and the highly anticipated second instalment of The Code. Michael is currently appearing in Here Come the Habibs! as ‘Fou Fou’, the patriarch of the Habib family.

Michael’s film credits include the lead protagonist in The Combination, David Field’s outstanding and controversial directorial debut, as well as Alchemy Film Production’s The Nothing Men. He has also garnered roles in international films Mask ll and Columbia Pictures’ Stealth. This year he will be seen in the New Zealand/UK coproduction 6 Days and Abe Forsythe’s comedy Down Under.

Michael’s most recent theatre performance was with Belvoir’s The Blind Giant is Dancing. He performed with Sydney Theatre Company in A Streetcar Named Desire, playing the role of Steve alongside Cate Blanchett. This Liv Ullmann directed production toured New York and Washington after its Sydney season, receiving critical acclaim. Michael has also appeared in King Lear for the Sydney Theatre Company. Other theatre credits include The Gates of Egypt and Edmond with Belvoir, Coriolanus with Bell Shakespeare, The Pugilist Specialist with Darlinghurst Theatre Company, Live Acts on Stage with Griffin Theatre Company and Missing the Bus to David Jones with Performing Lines.


Darren is a highly experienced director and producer across television and film.

Most recently he directed all six episodes of the half hour comedy series Here Come the Habibs! for Jungle and the Nine Network. Other television credits include Wonderland for Fremantle Media, Worst Year Of My Life Again for BBC and ABC Children, the second series of the ABC dramedy Bed of Roses, and both Rush and Offspring, for Endemol and Network Ten.

Darren co-wrote and directed his first feature film Thunderstruck which was the story of four boys who made a pact to bury their best friend next to AC/DC original frontman Bon Scott. The film was distributed by Icon in 2005.

Inspired by his daughters dance classes, Darren, along with writer Carolyn Wilson devised a story about pushy stage mothers and dance competitions. In 2007 this became the basis of Darren’s second film Razzle Dazzle starring Australian actress, Kerry Armstrong and UK comic Ben Miller.

Razzle Dazzle has been selected for over twenty film festivals around the world, including Official Selection at the Berlin, Edinburgh, Los Angeles Independent Film Festivals and was the opening night film at the New York International Children’s Film Festival.

He was Executive Producer on Not Suitable For Children starring Ryan Kwanten (True Blood) and Sarah Snook (Predestination), directed by Peter Templeman.

Also known in commercials for his comedic work, Darren has won numerous awards including the London International Advertising Award, New York Advertising Award, Singapore Advertising Award as well as receiving numerous Cannes nominations.


Chloe Rickard is a filmmaker rapidly emerging as one of Australia's most dynamic and innovative comedy Producers. Partner / Head of Production at Jungle, she has served as lead producer on Here Come the Habibs, No Activity (Stan's first original commission), Soul Mates, The Moodys, A Moody Christmas, Elegant Gentlemen’s Guide to Knife Fighting, and over 200 TVCs. She is currently in pre-production of Soul Mates series 2 for the ABC and NBCU, and with backing from Screen Australia in development of the feature film The Murderous Urges of Ordinary Women.

Chloe is a recipient of Screen Australia's Enterprise Growth program with the Van Vuuren Bros and one of the founders of the ScreenThink, a group of young thought leaders whose research into piracy recently won the support of the Content Coalition formed by News Corp, Village Roadshow, Foxtel and other leaders of the screen business. She holds a Masters of Screen Arts & Business from the Australian Film, Television, and Radio School, in which she was awarded the Foxtel New Media Innovation Prize.


It has been a whirlwind couple of years for Rob Shehadie with his acting, stand-up comedy, MC roles as well as stage and screen writing. A co-creator of Channel Nine’s new comedy-drama, Here Come The Habibs, as well as actor, associate producer, story consultant and original concept for the show he has been busy to say the least.

Wanting to come up with a family show that represented multi-cultural Australia, together with co-creators Tahir and Matt Ryan-Garnsey, Here Come The Habibs is the story of a Lebanese family who move from Sydney’s west to ultra-rich, ultra-white Vaucluse after winning the lottery. Their interactions with new neighbours the O’Neills, eastern suburbs royalty who are “extremely uncomfortable with goats and chickens, shisha pipes and people of Mediterranean appearance,” form the show’s premise and comedic hook. The six-part series promises to “bring a fresh comic perspective to multicultural Australia.”

He is best known for starring in the hit TV comedy, Fat Pizza, playing Rocky for the past 16 years and leaving Australians in stiches of laughter. The Fat Pizza movie, which Rob also featured in, broke box office records around Australia. For his role on Fat Pizza, Rob was nominated for a TV WEEK LOGIE in the category “Most Popular New Talent” – making him the first Australian Lebanese to be nominated for a Logie.

Over the years Rob has also done cameo appearances on Bondi Rescue – Channel Ten, Renovation Rescue – Channel Nine, Australian Idol – Channel Ten, The Footy Show (NRL) – Channel Nine, Music Max – Foxtel, Swift and Shift – SBS TV, Bogan Hunters – Channel 7mate, Housos – SBS TV , Housos Vs Authority – feature film and Fat Pizza Vs Housos – feature film.

Not to shy away from music clips, Rob also plays a big role in the hit song by Beau Ryan, Where You From, which features Justice Crew and was released through Sony Music.

Rob Shehadie has many future projects in the pipeline and is sure to keep providing laughter for Australians. He’s made us laugh in the past and will guarantee to make us laugh in the future.


Kat is an accomplished actor, singer and dancer and most recently was cast as Layla Habib in Channel Nine’s hit comedy series- Here Come The Habibs (which premiered February 9, on Channel Nine). Kat will next appear in the musical Xanadu at the Hayes Theatre in April.

Other screen credits include: Body in the Yard starring Luke Ford and directed by Stephen Wallace and short films – notably The Road Home directed by Denie Pentecost produced by Benchmark Films – featured in the only academy accredited international short film festival – Flickerfest.

On stage Kat has performed in: Jersey Boys the Musical, Hairspray the Musical, Bring it On the Musical and also performed in last year’s Carols By Candlelight at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl and broadcasted on Channel Nine.

She has been featured in numerous TVC’s including Bonds and Mentos in addition to music videos for Guy Sebastian, Paulini, Natalie Bassingthwaighte, as well as TV appearances on the MTV and ARIA Awards, Mornings, The Australian Open Tennis final, Helpmann Awards, Sunrise and Dancing with the Stars.

Kat began her career completing a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Theatre) from the University of Wollongong, and also completed her Cert IV at Brent St.

Most recently she has studied with Les Chantery at the Hub Studio, and is under the direction of Anthony Brandon Wong.


Tyler De Nawi has worked as a live performer for over 10 years specializing in Dance and acrobatics. Trained in Gymnastics and forms of martial arts such as Capoeira, Jiu Jitsu, and Kickboxing. He decided to continue this passion for performing arts by studying acting, at his local theatre, soon after graduating from The Australian Film and Television academy, he starred alongside Aden Young & Alex Dimitriades in a gripping SBS drama mini-series “The Principal”. Tyler currently stars as 'Elias' in channel 9's hit comedy "Here Come the Habibs". His most recent stage appearances include a sword fighting warrior in Nigel Jamison & Gavin Robins international production “Clusters of Light” and “Bring It On” the musical Directed by Rod Herbert.


Training with the with the Actors Pulse Studio – Meisner Technique Film & Stage – Graduate and Scott Sedita – Comedy Intensive Workshop.

His film and television credits include:

  • 2014 Hidden Peaks Jujmedia role Alex Conway dir. Adrian Castro
  • 2014 Nameless Blood and Chains role Malita dir. Michael Samer
  • 2011 Panic at Rock Island Channel 9 role Stoner Boy dir. Tony Tilse
  • 2015 Here Come The Habibs Habibs P/L role Toufic (lead)
  • 2013 Facing Evil Beyond Productions role Ivan Martinez dir. Justin Schneider
  • 2012 Facing Evil Beyond Productions role Blake dir. John Maverty
  • 2012 Deadly Women Beyond Productions role Oscar dir. Kate Hides
  • 2011 Deadly Women Beyond Productions role Shorty dir. Jamie Robertson
  • Behind Mansion Walls Beyond Productions role Killers Caddy dir. James Knox


As co-Head of Drama at Nine since 2011, Andy oversees the development, commissioning and production of Nine Network’s drama output. He has responsibility for commissioning around 70 hours annually of original, first-run Australian drama for prime time and children. Drama commissions include: mini-series HOWZAT! Kerry Packer’s War, Power Games: The Packer-Murdoch Story, Underbelly: Badness, Underbelly: Squizzy, Fat Tony & Co, Gallipoli, House of Hancock; drama series Love Child seasons 1-3, House Husbands seasons 1-5; and telemovies The Great Mint Swindle, Schapelle, Beaconsfield;

Upcoming titles for 2016 include House of Bond, Hide & Seek, Doctor Doctor and the first commercial free-to-air comedy in over 15 years, Here Come The Habibs.

Andy is also Executive Producer of the comedy series No Activity, and the upcoming 6x1hour series Wolf Creek, both for SVOD service STAN.

Andy also commissions over 30 hours of original children’s drama for the Nine Network per year, with titles including: Pirate Express, Heidi, Buzz Bumble, The Day My Butt Went Psycho, Adventures Of The Skinner Boys, Dennis & Gnasher, Gasp!, G2G, Flea Bitten, Fanswhaw & Crudnut, and Dogstar. He has also commissioned telemovies for Dogstar and Fanshaw & Crudnut.

As Network Script Executive at Nine (2006-11) he oversaw the development and production of multiple award-winning productions including Underbelly (series 1-4), Sea Patrol (series 1-5) and Rescue: Special Ops (series 1-3), the telemovies Scorched, Wicked Love and Blood Brothers, three Underbelly: Files telemovies, as well as the children’s dramas Lockie Leonard, Dogstar, Stormworld, Gasp! and Dennis & Gnasher.

After completing his Master of Arts degree in screenwriting at AFTRS in 1997, Andy commenced his television career as script editor and writer on All Saints. Three years later he moved to Home & Away as story editor before branching into children’s animation as script producer on two Australian/German co-productions: The Adventures of Blinky Bill and Flipper & Lopaka. Prior to joining Nine, Andy was script producer on the top-rating McLeod’s Daughters.

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State Library of New South Wales

Macquarie Street

Metcalfe Room

Sydney, NSW 2000


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