Friday 14th June 2024


1:00pm - 3:00pm


JMC Academy Sydney, 

561 Harris Street, Ultimo NSW 2007



  • Acting & Music Theatre
  • Entertainment Business
  • Film & TV
  • Masterclasses
  • Current JMC Student
  • Sydney

Immerse yourself in a live audience podcast recording like no other!

JMC Academy is excited to announce our partnership with The Variety Australia Podcast. Bringing industry insights to our doorstep and yours with interviews featuring Australia's best and brightest entertainment industry talent. 

The Variety Australia Podcast is setting up a home at JMC Academy for our fifth filmed episode on, Friday 14th June 2024.  As always, we are so proud to be bringing our students along for the ride with our very own Audio Engineering, Film and Television, and Entertainment Business Management students becoming part of the Variety podcast crew to film the this episode with a live student audience. 

Amidst a backdrop of aspiring creatives, Variety Australia dive into real-world learning experiences from some of the most celebrated and accomplished figureheads in the film TV and media industries.

Join host Poppy Reid in this special episode, called: "'Love on the Spectrum' to 'Austin': the Bond of Director Darren Ashton and His Inspiration Michael Theo".

In this episode, we dive deep into the heartwarming and inspiring story of Darren Ashton and Michael Theo, whose unlikely friendship and collaboration brought the hit show 'Austin' to life. Darren, a renowned director, and Michael, best known for his appearance on 'Love on the Spectrum,' share the journey of their creative partnership. We explore how their bond transcended the typical director-actor relationship, leading to a transformative experience for both.

Poppy Reid

Poppy Reid is the Editor-In-Chief of Australia’s largest youth publisher, The Brag Media, which includes Rolling Stone AU/NZ, Variety Australia, Tone Deaf, The Brag and The Music Network under its umbrella.She is a multi-award winner, having won the Music Journalist of the Year award at the 2022 Australian Women in Music Awards (AWMA), the Publishing accolade at this year’s Mediaweek Next of the Best Awards and more recently crowned The Champion of Change at The B&T Women In Media Awards

Darren Ashton Headshot

Joined by Poppy is Darren Ashton. Darren is a highly experienced award-winning director and producer across television and film. In his role as Director and Co-Head of Development at Northern Pictures, Darren co-created Spreadsheet with Kala Ellis and went on to be set up director, for which he was nominated Best Director in a Comedy Series at the Australian Directors Guild Awards (ADG). Most recently, he completed production on the ABC/ITV Studios UK/Australian Comedy series Austin, starring Ben Miller (Johnny English, Professor T), Sally Philips (Veep, Bridget Jones’s Diary) and Michael Theo (Love On The Spectrum). Darren also directed the Emmy Award winning series Hardball, both Season 1 and 2 for Northern Pictures. Darren co-wrote & directed the successful Thunderstruck (Icon) and Razzle Dazzle which competed in over 20 International festivals – Including Toronto, Berlin, London and New York Film Festivals. Darren was executive producer on the feature film Not Suitable For Children starring Ryan Kwanten (True Blood) and Sarah Snook (Succession, Predestination). Prior to joining Northern Pictures, Darren was set up director for the hit series Here Come the Habibs! for Jungle and the Nine Network and associate script producer on Season 2.


Michael Theo Also joined by Poppy is Michael Theo. Michael was the break-out star of the ABC/Northern Pictures documentary series, Love on the Spectrum (series 1 and 2). This heart-warming and hugely successful series followed Michael and other young adults on the autism spectrum as they explored the unpredictable world of love, dating and relationships. Michael captured the hearts of viewers with his dapper style, unintentionally hilarious one-liners, big heart, warm personality and he quickly became a fan favourite not only in Australia but around the world. After appearing in Love on the Spectrum, he made his professional acting debut in a cameo guest role in the Emmy award-winning kids drama, HardBall, also produced by Northern Pictures for ABC Television and is now starring as the lead in the new ABC series Austin, also for ABC Television, in the title role.

Spaces are limited! Make sure to register your interest to be a part of the magic and witness some of our industries greatest in action. 


Catch up on the The Variety Australia Podcast below: