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CONTENTS Trespassing Rebecca Conroy

Why TransLab Fiona Winning

Interculturality as Performance Practice Liza-Mare Syron

Ethics and Cultural Protocols: A Journal of a Self Confessed White Middle Class Princess Deborah Pollard

Border Language Paschal Berry

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This publication was produced following TransLab Dialogues a one day forum organised by Performance Space which took place at CarriageWorks on 5 November 2009. The forum and publication are supported by TransLab, a Theatre Board of the Australia Council Initiative. TransLab was managed by Arts House, Melbourne and Performance Space, Sydney. TransLab Curatorial Team: Fiona Winning, Steven Richardson, Constantine Koukias, Claudia Chidiac, Siu Chan, Alvin Tan

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TRANSLAB PROJECTS 2008–2009 4

Missing the Bus to David Jones Theatre Kantanka Artists: Carlos Gomes (Key Artist), Valerie Berry, Katia Molino, Kym Vercoe, Arky Michael, Joanne Saad, Lina Kastoumis, Nick Wishart, Rosie Lalevich, and Philip Mills.

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Dramaturg: Annette Tesoriero Scratched Running Blind

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Sivan Gabrielovich (key artist); Anna Liebzeit; Alex Ben-Mayor Dramaturgs: Ghassan Hage and Margaret Cameron

Who the Power Has Ahilan Ratnamohan

Graffiti and Skateboards Chris Mead

Thoughts from a Distance Claudia Chidiac

Short Black, the Story of an Abyssinian Girl 9

Artists: Sosina Wogayehu (Key Artist), Anni Davey, Kate Denborough Dramaturg: David Pledger

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Within & Without Paschal Daantos Berry (Key Artist), Valerie Berry & Manila-based multimedia company Anino Shadowplay Collective

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Dramaturg: Deborah Pollard Sweat Branch Nebula

Unexpected Outcomes 1-10 Angharad Wynne-Jones

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Contributor Biographies

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Lee Wilson & Mirabelle Wouters (Key Artists); Hirofumi, Ahilan Ratnamohan, Claudia Escobar, Marnie Palomares, Erwin Fenis, David Vu. Dramaturg: Deborah Pollard and Martin del Amo Am I? Shaun Parker (key artist) Paul Jarman (Musical Director) Mark Atkins, Rakini Devi, Silvia Entcheva, Ghenoa Gela, Wei-Zen Ho, Marnie Palomares, Bobby Singh, Julian Wong Dramaturg: Chris Mead


My first break in ‘professional’ theatre came about in 1996 because of Carnivale, a multi-coloured, multi-linguistic platform festival directed by Lex Marinos and featuring a United Nations cast of thousands. And me, a white chick from the suburbs, of patchy Irish French heritage. The festival was initiated in 1976 through the NSW Ethnic Affairs Commission with the objective to support and nurture the development of multicultural artists and artforms in NSW. I had been hanging out up north with a boat load of recently arrived refugees from East Timor. I was collecting stories for a script I was developing, doing interviews and trying to get across from Kupang in West Timor into Dilli, East Timor, at the time still under occupation by the Indonesian Military. They were not my stories, but they were stories that tied me to my shame for Australian political leaders who had given the green light to the Indonesian invasion and then proceeded to plunder East Timor’s oil and gas fields. Aptly titled Stories from the Underground: Translations in History it was a shameless, passionate, didactic narrative espousing a David and Goliath struggle. These were the stories that interested me as a dreamy impetuous 20 year old. I didn’t consider the ratio of non-white representation of theatrical voices on the mainstage. It was simply an entry point, a platform, and an opportunity to craft out a narrative and see what would happen. In the new century, the multicultural has transposed into the intercultural —a deceptively smooth bricolage of different ways of being and operating, speaking and articulating, seeing and (not) being seen. We are sorry for the stolen generations, we feel sorry for children thrown overboard, and we are all talking about the climate changing; but the fear of the ‘other’ has never been so terrifying and confusing. We need to hear different stories.

The following essays have been written by a range of participants, artists and dramaturgs involved in TransLab Dialogues, a one-day forum held at the conclusion of the initiative in November 2009. This publication is by no means a comprehensive account of the day, nor representative of all the creative and diverse voices involved in developing new work under TransLab. Its aim is rather to give a snapshot of the motivations and explanations for exploring these particular stories and to prompt a response from ‘others’ —to start a conversation that will (hopefully) lead to more stories. Special thanks to the Australia Council for instigating this initiative, to Arts House our partners in this endeavour, and to the creative teams who stepped up to the challenge, without whom we would be short half a dozen different stories. Rebecca Conroy Associate Director, Performance Space April 2010

The desire to tell different stories often needs to be coaxed out through multiple avenues and platforms. Opportunities to make space for audiences who want to hear different stories to the ones on prime time television are sometimes difficult to make and always tricky to sell. As the climate changes, we need to imagine harder and listen more carefully, finding new ways to circumvent the inevitable and create more avenues for alternatives. TransLab has been one such opportunity to broaden the scope of work exploring interculturality by putting money into the research and development of the theatre-making process. Over two years it has seeded the development of six new works, one of which went onto a sell-out two-week season at Performance Space and Campbelltown Arts Centre. Another two works have secured presentations and a fourth has received second stage development. These stories explore ethnically diverse aged care facilities, urban cultures, a labour force of low paid young people, Australian identity through music and dance, Israeli refuseniks, a colourful and darkly humorous tour of a Filipino city, and a runaway asylum seeker from an Ethiopian circus.

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Performance Space at CarriageWorks: 6 November 2009 Thanks Millie (Ingram) for your Welcome to Country and good morning everyone and welcome to the TransLab Dialogues. I’m Fiona Winning, and my job this morning is to talk a bit about ‘Why TransLab? ‘ Steven Richardson from Arts House and I, when I was at Performance Space, developed the idea for TransLab in response to an immediate opportunity created by the Australia Council’s Theatre Board calling for tenders to host a cross-cultural residency program. Performance Space and Arts House tendered for it because we shared with the Theatre Board a sense of urgency to carve out a space for supporting the development of intercultural practice among this current generation of theatre and performance makers. All too often, it’s assumed by programmers, policy-makers and artists that this is no longer necessary. As if intercultural practice is either a strategy of the past or that it’s so embedded in our mainstream that it no longer needs attention and resources—neither of which in our view are true. For TransLab, we were interested in partnering with artists to undertake intercultural projects at the research level. While any creative development process is both precious and pressured, intercultural work has added complexities of cultural translation and exchange. So it seemed useful to offer theatre and performance makers time to undertake a level of research not usually available for independent artists and small companies. We made a call-out across the country for project proposals. A curatorium— including Claudia Chidiac, Constantine Koukias, Siu Chan and Alvin Tan—made decisions about which projects to support and in the process engaged in a broad-ranging discussion about contemporary intercultural practice in Australia. Each project was hosted by and offered space and support at either Arts House or Performance Space. Fundamental to TransLab was our facilitation of active critical dramaturgy as part of the creative process—quarantining money for a dramaturg, a position that’s not always budgeted for in many tiny production budgets, often to the detriment of the process.

Fiona Winning

We brokered some new dramaturgical relationships and supported some existing ones. We’ll hear artists and dramaturgs from some of the TransLab projects reflect on what happened—how they undertook the work, the pitfalls and pay offs. The other area we wanted to support was the dialogue around intercultural practice—to extend the experiences of the making of intercultural work beyond the closed studio doors. To share the findings with a broader community of peers. So here we are today at TransLab Dialogues, to hear each other describe and appraise our approaches in a broader group of practitioners. To ask questions we’re struggling with and share realizations, breakthroughs and blind alleys. All six research phases are now complete, but each project is at a different stage of making. A couple have had further creative development, and Theatre Kantanka’s Missing the Bus to David Jones has gone to production, receiving excellent critical responses. Before I finish, I wanted to talk about the urgency of this area of practice. When I reflect on my personal experience as an artsworker, as a maker, a producer and


a programmer over the last 20 years, I see a complex arena of practices that has had periods of great energy, exploration and discussion—but that these periods end abruptly, and don’t necessarily morph into a next stage. While there are always people making intercultural work, to name a few —Bagryana Popov, Yumi Umiumare, Constantine Koukias, Urban Theatre Projects, Theatre Kantanka, Powerhouse Youth Theatre, Marrugeku, Liminal Theatre, Tracks Dance, Not Yet It’s Difficult—they do so in a relatively frail environment. They’re not surrounded by a proliferation of intercultural practices that might contextualise, support and cross-fertilise each other and each others’ audiences. For example, in Sydney in the early to mid 1990s we had the Multicultural Theatre Alliance that mounted an annual festival. Then we had the Asian Theatre Festival at Belvoir Street, The Pacific Wave Festival at Performance Space and Casula Powerhouse, and then Carnivale for a few years into the next decade. But these energetic forums for both the making and presentation of work petered out or lost funding or favour. Similarly, nationally there have been several important companies that operated as both producers and hubs for intercultural practice and discussion that have closed shop over the last few years—most notably Adelaide’s para//elo (previously Doppio Teatro Australia’s first professional bi-cultural theatre company) and more recently Sidetrack Theatre in Sydney.

and participation in TransLab. We bring vastly different perspectives, experiences, cultural and practice backgrounds into this space. If we can collectively agree that there’s no hierarchy of intercultural practice, but rather a plethora of possible approaches for each circumstance. And if we can collectively agree to risk asking important questions of each other so we might have the conversations that matter—then we have a chance of developing our language, our making and reception practices. And hopefully we can keep the conversation going to collectively build the energy for another eruption that we can nourish into multiple sustained and productive discussions.

While each of these initiatives have left many legacies—including in Sidetrack’s case, a venue—this means a loss of resourced opportunities for artists working interculturally. And while it might be argued these festivals and companies were effective structures of their particular time and place, the issue is that no phoenix has risen from those ashes. Knowledge and experience of intercultural practice resides principally among individual artists, academics and audiences, who are generally not policy makers or company directors applying that knowledge to programming and other decision making areas of the arts sector. So while artists continue to create intercultural work, they do so without a broader critical context and community of practitioners and audiences, having to build and rebuild from scratch all too often. Similarly, the debate around embodied intercultural and cross-cultural performance has had some seriously fervent times, obviously linked to these energetic episodes of intercultural practice and often when there was a confluence of debate in the broader community about multiculturalism or cosmopolitanism or racism. But we have not had a continuity of discussion. We have eruptions from time to time, usually in response to a particular work but these eruptions are often closed down by emotion, exhaustion, frustration or a combination of these and other factors. Or simply not followed through—out of politeness or fear or lack of time. The result is that we as artists and artsworkers, as audiences, as critical thinkers, have been diminished by these gaps. As a sector, we’ve lost some of our language around these practices and we need to work to redevelop it for this contemporary moment. Talking about practice takes practice too. So I hope today we can set the dial for some robust discussion. We are a mix of artists and artsworkers brought together principally by our interest

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When asked to consider the term ‘Interculturality’ in a contemporary performance context, I was initially not sure what to write about. My contribution was to reflect on what this practice means to Indigenous practitioners. ‘Interculturality’ is such a broad field of inquiry, used in so many contexts, and occurring in different ways; it invokes multiplicity in its intent. So in deliberating on its significance to the Indigenous practitioner when working with non-Indigenous people in a contemporary performance context, I begin briefly by analysing interculturality as a subject of inquiry. I then consider what ‘intercultural’ means in performance practice, followed by how Indigenous performance practitioners might engage in this context. I finish by adopting the position that intercultural performance as a practice is ‘the celebration of differences’. The inter-cultural, according to Ian Watson in Negotiating Cultures is a meeting between two or more cultures where what is generated between cultures is limited to a single event. “It is predicated on a celebration of difference, a cultural plurality that implies contact, give and take, but no change in culture involved” (2002, p.11). The event itself has no particular efficacy other than perhaps the meeting of differences. Therefore, when cultures come together in the act of performance, it is the celebration of that event. Further, those differences in this space become mediated. Eugenio Barba, founder of the International School of Theatre Anthropology, claims that theatre is the common ground wherein difference is displayed, and most importantly negotiated (Watson, 2002, p.12). Hence, intercultural performance practice is the condition under which the spectacle of difference emerges. Further, ‘interculturality’ concerns itself more with the mediation of differences, rather than the exploration of cultures.

Liza-Mare Syron

In considering ‘difference’, according to the Macquarie Dictionary, it is an ‘unlikeness’. In Difference, a Critical Idiom, Mark Currie claims that difference is the opposite of likeness or sameness, which is a negation of a synonym (2004, p. 1). The notion of difference is constructed as something in opposition to something else; it is not seen as equal. A comment I come back to shortly. The notion of culture is a highly complex idea, best explained by Watson who states: “Culture is a holistic complex, with an interrelated palimpsest of determinants which comprehends, among other things, socio-historical identity, mytho-religious belief systems, kinship, rituals, ethnicity, national heritage, value systems, various modes of creative expression, as well as social behaviour” (2002, p.2). Culture, according to performance studies professor Richard Schechner, is most fully expressed in and made conscious through ritual and theatrical performances (1990, p.1). Ethnographer Clifford Geertz in Local Knowledge determines culture not as a power in itself“or something to which social events, institutions, or processes can be causally attributed, but that the concept of culture is essentially a semiotic one where man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he [she] has spun” (1973, p.14). The analysis of culture should not be an experimental science in search of law, but an interpretive one in search of meaning (1973, p.5). So too when I use the term culture here, I refer not to a fixed construct, but one described by a community of practitioners who give meaning to that practice. However, unlike Geertz, I attribute power to cultural institutions, especially large arts organisations, as reproducers of dominant cultural norms. Institutional power operates within and between cultures, in multiple ways, depending on the circumstances or conditions of each encounter. It is


important to acknowledge the prevalence of certain dominant performance practices in Australia and the assumptions that we have a common approach or language to many aspects of performance making processes. These methodologies, often informed by an engagement with other dominant performance practices, create hierarchies of knowledge. In intercultural processes, I argue one practice will always potentially dominate another.

Currie, M. (2004). Difference; A New Critical Idiom.

If we concede that interculturality is the exploration of differences, and further that it is the very coming together of different cultures which initiates this feature, then the question that arises out of this engagement is: how are cultural differences mediated in this practice? In returning to the problematic of equality in opposition, or the hierarchy of knowledges within and between cultures at work, a basic approach requires further investigation.

James, M. R. (1999). Critical Intercultural Dialogue. Polity ,

In the article Critical Intercultural Dialogue Michael Rabinder James claims there are three central criteria that participants must satisfy for interculturality to properly occur (1999, p.590). Firstly, there must be an attitude of openness towards each other’s cultural perspectives. Then, people must come to understand each other’s perspectives. Thirdly, this dialogue must occur under conditions that are mutually accepted as fair (1999, p.590). However, before these criteria are considered, the event itself needs to be acknowledged as inter-cultural. James claims that an attitude of openness promotes a trust that any dialogue generated between people will be fair and will not sink into a volley of stereotypes. The second criteria of any inter-cultural encounter is that the term ‘understanding’ should not be seen as the transposition of imagined realities, nor about claiming to feel another’s experience, as these are projections of fantasies and desires onto the other. It is instead about listening and reaching agreement on the meaning of the perspectives communicated. Lastly, according to the author of the article, fair conditions are those that do not allow participants to exercise power over each other.

Routledge. Geertz, C. (1973). Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture. In C. Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures. Selected Essays by Clifford Geertz (pp. 3-33). New York: Basic Books, Inc, Publishers. XXXI (4), 586-607. Schechner, R. (1990). Introduction. In R. Schechner, & W. Appel (Eds.), By Means of Performance. Intercultural Studies of Theatre and Ritual. Great Britian: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge. Watson, I. (2002). Negotiating Cultures. Eugenio Barba and the Intercultural Debate. Great Britian: Manchester United University Press.

For Indigenous Australians, I can only say that from my own experience as a person who identifies as being of Aboriginal descent, and who is accepted as such by the community in which I live and work, as well as in my position as theatre coordinator at the Eora College of Aboriginal studies, and as a researcher of Indigenous performance practice, we have ways of working with each other that would be considered different to the way we work with mainstream practices. Most of these practices are framed by protocols of engagement which are designed to assist the processes of working both intra-culturally and inter-culturally. These protocols are based on the following principles, respect for each other, equality in interaction, consultation through dialogue, integrity in practice, confidentiality, credit for contributions, acknowledging the past, and recognition of knowledge systems. When Indigenous performance practitioners enter into agreement with other cultures, these are the values brought with them. These ethical approaches then are met with the ideologies of other performance makers in an intercultural exchange. Interculturality as performance practice is therefore, acknowledging what other cultures have to offer, listening to the ways in which other cultures engage with performance practice, conceding the power of knowing, the acceptance of difference, and an awareness of the hierarchies of knowledge’s at work in the process. In this way, interculturality as performance practice is the process of celebrating cultural differences.

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Dear Reader, I am going to fess up right from the start. I am not a theorist. I write this paper as a practitioner, a director and a dramaturge. In an earlier draft I found myself attempting to find new revelations and maybe even a few solutions. In truth, I believe there is no one set of protocols or ethics to consider when entering into any new collaboration, yet alone one that involves different cultural groups. Each collaborative team will have its own set of unique challenges informed by personal histories, cultural contexts and artform practices. In this paper I have written a series of reflections of my time in Indonesia in the hope that they may give an insight into the myriad of considerations that arise when working cross-culturally. The reflections canvas a long period of time and indicate shifts in my thinking. They offer a journey from naïve tourist, to faux cultural anthropolist, to an artistic collaborator, who is still learning.

D e b o r a h P o ll a r d

Indonesia, East Java, 1992 I first went to Indonesia with Jigsaw Theatre Company, a theatre–for– young–people company based in Canberra. We had created a small touring show about Australian flora and fauna for primary schools. It was a two hander and I was a devisor and performer in this work. Whilst in Australia, Indonesian playwright WS Rendra saw the show and invited us to re-create it for Indonesian children. I remember playing a bear, an orangutan and even a coconut tree (those were the days!). Armed with a two-week crash course in Bahasa Indonesia and advice on appropriate cultural protocols, we arrived and hit the roads of East Java in a truck visiting a new village every two days for a month. Needless to say the gruelling schedule led quickly to exhaustion and emotional outbursts. Was this what they meant by culture shock? Our Indonesian colleagues wondered what on earth they had done wrong and how they could make it better. We spent a lot of time smiling and nodding at each other. We toured to very remote and poor villages; the schedule seemed endless and relentless. I remember being mobbed by enthusiastic villagers; small tan hands would shyly touch my pink sweaty skin and run away giggling. We were bigger than the Beatles in the Indonesian village circuit. It became too much at one point for our Australian director and he ran away. After a long police search they found him on a beach in Bali. We read about it in the Indonesian papers: Missing Australian Director found on Bali Beach: Stress. Apparently ‘Stress’ in Indonesia was considered to be a western phenomena. The director was diagnosed with acute paranoia and sent back to Australia. We stayed on to complete the long tour circuit. The extremity of this experience was fairly life changing for a white middleclass princess. This was my first experience of a ‘developing’ country. I came away with many questions, particularly questions about my own cultural context. In Java I noticed not only their ‘otherness’ but my own. I went back and forth to Java for many years and slowly learnt to value the contribution of my own cultural ‘otherness’. It is easy to slip into exotic Java and mistake observing cultural protocols with blinkered orientalism. Attempts to ‘blend in’ found me behaving more “Javanese than the Javanese,” as one kindly friend once pointed out. Indonesia and Sydney collaborations from 1995-1999 I initially met up with political theatre companies based in Jakarta, but soon felt a growing sense of unease of always being on the outer or cast as the


Dutch coloniser. My artistic aesthetic also sat at odds within this theatre community. My artwork in Australia had always been experimental; in Indonesia at that time theatre was a vital form of political activism. Suharto was at the reigns and censorship on press and the arts was high; many plays were closed down on opening night. In extreme cases artists were carted off to prison. I remember one playwright declaring, “I have to speak the truth and if they kill me for that so be it.” My aesthetic concerns felt like frivolous whims in this urgent environment. There were, however, many artists making experimental work, work that was politically motivated but presented within abstract forms. These encounters were mainly with installation artists with whom I later began to collaborate. I felt immediately comfortable with them and inspired by the work. Was it because of the post-modern aesthetic, rather than the agitprop aesthetic the theatre companies seemed bound by? A style that had perhaps fallen out of ‘vogue’ at that time in Australia in the mid nineties. The more I collaborated with the installation artists, the more I discovered about Javanese thinking and the subtle cultural symbolism that separated their work from their western counterparts. They were for the most part still activists but were able to avoid censorship because of the abstract nature of their work. Their questions around form and process were the same as mine and they, like every artist, were responding to their immediate environment. We had an aesthetic meeting point and from here things started to fly. We made four large-scale performance installations together in Java, Hobart and Sydney. My main collaborators were Hedi Hariyanto, Regina Bimadona and Sutanto who are all contemporary visual artists.

carried with it the heat and heaviness of that Javanese afternoon. With this work I feel like I had arrived at a new way of collaborating across countries and across cultures. The work was no longer concerned with cultural identity politics—it read far more broadly, but at its heart was a collaborative process informed by years of questioning process and intercultural collaboration. Today I carry all of these experiences into my working relationships. As a dramaturge working with various teams and artistic enquiries (cultural and other), I challenge them with respect and with a desire to assist artists to find a place of nuance and unpredictability. To go beyond what is already well researched by the field or in the public domain and to find an individual enquiry into both form and content.

The work we made was full of post-modern irony married with hybrid arts processes and abstracted outcomes. Audiences were amused and sometimes confused. The most hostile response to this work came from an Australian. She enquired if I had forced these artists to make this kind of work. It didn’t appear to be very ‘Javanese’. Indonesia 2001 Our earlier collaborations had often focused on cultural difference. In retrospect these works were very literal, but in time gave way to something more nuanced. In 2001 I returned to Java to collaborate with Regina Bimadona. I had just bought a video camera and we set ourselves a series of performative tasks, which we would film. We were not interested in making a video work but in what the medium might suggest as neither of us had worked in that medium before. From the collected footage we selected the most evocative work, an overhead shot of us dozing on a bed in the heat of a Javanese afternoon. Using the video footage as a starting point we would each make a new work. ‘Cultural difference’ became an unconscious nuance in the work. We still carried our ‘otherness’ in the colour of our skin and our unconscious choice of sleeping attire. I wore my slip and Regina had grabbed a sarong to sleep in. I made Shapes of Sleep, a sculptural installation and a durational performance based on the sleep footage. For eight hours five performers attempt to physically recreate the movements of sleep. Through sheer exhaustion they sometimes fell asleep, blurring the boundaries between fiction and authenticity —choreographed and everyday slumber. Somehow the sleep choreography also

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Language has shaped my life. And I have understood my ethnicity—a Filipino born in the Visayan region of the Philippines and raised in rural Australia—as at once complex and multilayered. If you are a child born outside the dominant Tagalog culture of Manila, you are likely to understand that you need different ‘tongues’ to get by in life, and you certainly have to learn Pilipino, the language imposed on all Filipinos so we could all enjoy nationalism and move on from our previous imposed languages: Spanish and English. My siblings and I were born Cebuanos. Our parents were Warays. My mother was a Marcos loyalist but changed her mind once in Australia. My father was on the Left side of politics. We were all multilingual. They both believed English to be the language of the future. We were raised on Walt Whitman, Lord Byron, John Keats and Wilfred Owen. My mother loved Nick Joaquin, a Filipino writer who wrote in English and was nostalgic for the Spanish era. She spoke English with a joyous formality. My father painted Byzantine style religious paintings with Latin inscriptions. We grew up hating the Japanese and being jealous of the Chinese.

Pa s c h a l D a a n t o s B e r ry

As a child I was aware of borders. I understood geography. I observed that adults lived in coded realities and that they had elaborate funerals. I was aware of how you behave in front of your parents and how to behave in front of your maids. I was made to believe that I belonged to the educated middle-class. I was told that the Filipino is worth dying for and that it is a worthy death if you fought to have your own language. I was taught that Russia was Totalitarian. The U.S. was a Democracy. And the Philippines was…well, a Republic. Identity and place has always been constructed around me or placed under my feet. My mother married an Australian and we moved to Ceduna, South Australia. I have not seen any of my Filipino relatives since 1984. We Facebook now. My step-father once told us that educating the Aborigines was a fruitless exercise. He was a boxer who adored Muhammad Ali but only when he was still Cassius Clay. My mother was an academic who specialised in Aboriginal Early Childhood Education. The white kids liked us. The black kids always highfived us. We were more than just ‘tolerated’ in a landscape of sporadic racial inflammations. My brother won Young Citizen of the Year for the region. Mom won the senior version. We were the perfect migrants. As siblings we sang four part harmonies at the senior cits’ village. In public we spoke English. With mum we spoke Cebuano. Everyone spoke English if Dad was in the room. When Pauline Hanson arrived in our public consciousness, Dad welcomed her. I loved my step-father. I write, speak and think in English. My Cebuano is tolerable. My Tagalog is horrific to those who speak it. Spanish is a cloying spectre that I’d love to master. Sometimes I believe that theatre without scripted text is the future and that language really does get in the way of telling the truth. I enjoy dramaturgy for dance. Though dance has become obsessed with being theatre. Strangely enough the older I get the more affinity I feel for my Cebuano ethnicity—it probably has to do with burying ones parents and the obsessive sense of archeology one needs to act on when one’s heritage has corroded within the memories of the dead and dying. In Manila I feel like an impostor. In Cebu I am a child looking for his footsteps. In Ceduna my Filipina mother and my Australian step-father are buried facing the sea, witnessing the sands claim the landscape. I write because it’s like an act of excavation. At university I failed archeology. My worldly possessions are my white goods, my bed, a few suitcases full of drawings and words. I own my language.


Parthi couldn’t pronounce ‘v’. ‘On the wine,’ he would say referring to our passion fruits. My mum would always pronounce ‘food’ as one would pronounce ‘good.’ We just laughed. Our cousins scoffed and laughed at the fact that we couldn’t speak Tamil. We came up with a routine that proved we could easily navigate our way through a Tamil dinner. “Hello, hello, welcome, welcome!” **long pause, sitting patiently in living room, smiling** “Come and eeeaaaattt” “Picture, picture” “Goood Byyyyeeee!” went our routine. Our good, cousins found it hilarious. It din mada much to me, Ah spoke perfic Ozzie an that awso bicame pridy apparan. Peepuw would occasionly remark at ow I din av any accent, or at ow much of an Ozzie Ah souned like; but I was black. Ma Tamil-speaking, accenned cousins would tease ma bruva an I frow Aussie we wer. It was aw so paradoxicuw.

Raul: …And man I have to do this fucking assigment Me: assignment Raul: this fucking assignment with an university’s colleague Me: with a university colleague Raul: All the assignments are heating me hard Me: hitting me hard Raul: And we are taken a bit of time to understanding the topic Me: taking a bit of time to understand… Raul: Thanks a lot, man, for helping with my English. Me: No problem.

At the time realised I, that I strange talking was, but knew I not exactly, how I sounded. I was a 20-yearer, who like a 4-yearer sounded. And then came the bi-lingual driven Insomnia, the Thrill of to speak being able, the Struggle that me in bed lie make would, these foreign Sentences over and over repeating. I was a 4-yearer around walking, jede zweite Satz auf englisch, every other Sentence in german, haunted by this Lust to fit in and understood be. In Australia I suddenly saw things in a different way. I realised I was in a city with millions of people who heard the world differently. Peepel wawking around wondering y evrithing woz alwayz sow complicated here. Everywun woz so obsesd with this idea that yoo had too speek Inglish hear. I saw my dad sitting in front of the television, as if hypnotized, repeating the newsreaders’ ‘perfect’ English. That was what we should all aspire to. Perfecting every single one of Richard Morecroft and Brian Henderson’s words and I imagined black, white, yellow, and brown people walking the streets talking perfect newsreader English. Was that the dream? Would people still find my dodgy Indian/Sri-Lankan accent funny? Sometimes it’s sad for me to think I’ve been given a certain power by my parents decision to raise me on English and I feel sorry for the people forced quite harshly to speak it and then sometimes frowned upon as dumb beecoz ov a mis-konstruktd sentens or inkorrekt werd (wurd?) and the gilt dryvz mee intoo just wishing I woz wun ov them. I wud start a revalooshun.

A h i l a n R at n a m o h a n

Europe made me see the different sides of language as a base in relationships. A typical conversation with by best friend Raul went;

Sitting in the lunchroom watching them smack huge gobs of butter onto their dark bread, “how’s he going to learn Bavarian, he can’t even speak German,” I heard my boss jovially saying.


One of the brilliant aspects of my job is that I read a great number of plays and the best of them are fired by fury or humour or astonishing insight, or sometimes all three. I hold out great hopes for this responsive, genuinely plastic and ancient artform. Writers observe and report, interpret and re-interpret, appal and delight, make the strange familiar and the familiar strange, and good playwrights do so in real time in front of an audience. Not everybody wants to be a playwright, however, and not everybody can be a playwright. For some, the reason not to pursue writing for theatre is one of economy— who can afford to live on spec while writing a play that may or may not get produced? And even if it does, can it sell enough tickets to make the writer a living wage? For others, of course, it’s lack of talent or lack of interest. Not everyone can write—not everyone wants to. Some artists do want to write for performance, however, but they are stymied by a lack of access to theatre companies. Australian theatre companies don’t read plays and generally tend to wait for plays, or playwrights, to arrive fully formed. When they don’t arrive the companies look overseas, failing to engage with their neighbourhood, their city, their country. For artists who may have stories to tell, Australian theatre is remote and inaccessible, poisoning any possibility of them ever writing a play. And looking recently across the repertoire of professional Australian theatre companies—major, small and medium-sized—this suspicion was borne out by the scarcity of Australian plays programmed and produced by writers from culturally diverse backgrounds, from writers that spoke English as a second language, or from writers who were from a minority culture. This was surprising because Australia, statistically, is a diverse country.

Chris Mead

There are over 200 languages being spoken in our community. In addition to the languages other than English spoken by migrants who have settled in Australia from all over the world, there are also more than 60 different languages spoken by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. The 2006 Census found that 3.1 million people (16% of the population) spoke a language other than English at home (an increase of 285,000 people, or 10%, since 2001). And the six most commonly spoken languages other than English were Italian, Greek, Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin and Vietnamese with speakers of these languages together comprising 7% of the total population. That theatre companies’ repertoire does not reflect actual Australians is problematic; that the plays that I read also don’t—all PlayWriting Australia’s programmes and opportunities are open access and free to enter—is equally, possibly more, problematic. When I began talking about this substantial blindspot in our theatre culture a couple of years ago I was met variously by blank stares, defensive posturing, pointed to the successes of the past by older artists, or told that the next generation thought plays were by old people for old people (and that young people preferred skateboarding, iPods and graffiti to plays). Most theatre companies made it clear, however, that their doors were always open. The problem, evidently, was out there.


For potential creative artists from minority cultural backgrounds, however, such a passive, reactive approach is inadequate and unfair. A colleague from the UK, Ola Animashawun, made the point that having an open door is only relevant if you feel it’s OK to walk in, or even know where the door is; and that indeed an open door does not guarantee equal opportunity, rather it tends to reward the most motivated, oftentimes people with the most resources, not those with the least. Niuean playwright and performer Dianna Fuemana remarked in 2007 that “if you are Maori or Pacific Islander . . . how do you get in?”1 One of the key findings from a UK conference in 2001 was that British theatre faced substantial problems associated with institutional racism and, as a Black participant observed: “People see us as problems first. We have not got much of a chance when we are automatically seen as this huge problem that they have got to solve.”2 And, as Tyrone Huggins, Artistic Director, Theatre of Darkness, noted: “It dawned upon me that—yes—there was no career model for a Black artist/actor in Britain in the 20th century.”3 The situation is just as desperate in Australia. There have been substantial gains over the last 30 years and some great artists have created and produced beautiful and brilliant new plays. Overall, however, disincentives and logjams have been inadvertently built into the system, the most profound of which is the disconnection between professional theatre companies and the wider communities from where their artists and their audiences are drawn. At PlayWriting Australia we have begun a programme of small community workshops. This is exciting stuff, though only tiny first steps. Over the last two years, we have developed a two-year tiered programme that offers both skills and opportunity. We run them not at our Redfern HQ but, so far, in Parramatta, Fairfield, South Wollongong and Blacktown and we’re about to start in Broome and are talking to contacts in Campbelltown, Casula and Penrith. Our Play Festival will focus on this work in 2011. Our workshops aren’t unique of course and there is renewed attention in this area from theatre companies. This is good. As Sergeant Williams, Keynote Speaker at Eclipse, commented: fighting discrimination “should not be left exclusively to Black people. It is not a Black issue it is an organisational issue.”4 It is not about being politically correct but professionally correct.

1 From an interview conducted in Auckland, December 2007. Quoted in Chris Mead, ‘What is an Australian Play: Have we failed our ethnic writers?’, Platform Paper No.17, Currency House, July 2008, p.29. 2 An unattributed quotation from the African, Caribbean and Asian Artists’ Workshop from Eclipse Report: Developing strategies to combat racism in theatre. A one-day working conference held on two consecutive days at Nottingham Playhouse: 12 and 13 June 2001. Working Party: Stuart Brown, Isobel Hawson, Tony Graves, Mukesh Barot. An Arts Council of England, East Midlands Arts Board, Theatrical Management Association and Nottingham Playhouse initiative, p.13. 3 Eclipse, p.49. 4 Eclipse, pp.44-5. 5 From 22 February 2010 at http://www. telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/theatrereviews/7293100/Off-the-Endz-at-the-RoyalCourt-review.html (accessed 29/3/10).

But despite our nifty workshop we’re still working out how to get people through the door. Maybe emerging artists prefer graffiti and skateboarding—or maybe we are yet to find the right marketing, the right lists, the right calls, the right combination of people, pathways and connections? I believe that it’s the latter and, now that we’ve started—and seen the joy and empowerment that comes with putting these new voices in front of an audience—emerging artists have started to reach towards playwriting. Indeed emerging artists will grab the artform that is most present and available—and playwriting ain’t that. Not yet anyway. But we’re now a step closer. In a recent review of a play from the UK, Charles Spencer of the Daily Telegraph argued that the emergence of a new generation of Black playwrights has delivered new plays of “superb vitality, complexity and often highly critical insights.”5 This is instructive. We have to contribute to building a virtuous circle in which great new works are developed and produced for these workshops and productions inspire more writers to write plays. Only then will we begin to change the warp and weft of our theatre culture, and the way our culture speaks to itself and the world.

11


“I don’t get it, this intercultural stuff, I mean we just do it.” William Erimya, Youth participant at PYT during the making of City Quest 2007. I have worked in Western Sydney for ten years as a performance artist, arts worker and theatre practitioner. As a community based cultural worker in one of the most culturally diverse regions in Australia—Western Sydney—I utilise cross-media artforms to realise concepts and to produce work that says something. My work is informed by popular culture, cultural identity and by the places and spaces that people inhabit; I invite audiences/artists/ communities to ask questions about their place(s) in the world. Most recently (2005–2010), I was the Artistic Director of Powerhouse Youth Theatre (PYT), Western Sydney’s leading and only full time funded youth theatre company. I have been driven by a desire to push diversity into public places and spheres; by a desire to make space for stories and for creative expression, spaces that intersect our public and private lives and all the space in-between; by a desire to engage with communities in creative practice and cultural exchange. I grew up in the era of multiculturalism where it was all about cultures mixing with each other and getting along; that era of inspiring slogans such as ‘different colours one people’. That was my time and was formative in how I grew to see the world. However, as the song goes—‘the times are a changing’— and with that, multiculturalism lost its lustre as policy as communities demanded something more than the ethnic song and dance routine.

Cl a u d i a C h i d i a c

Multiculturalism played a significant role in my early practice as in the practice of my mentors twenty years ago. I find today that it does not have the same meaning for communities as it did even ten years ago. Australian multiculturalism came into being in 1973, after the White Australia Policy, assimilation and its cousin integration. Migrant activists and advocates lobbied the federal government for multicultural policy as national policy that addressed the needs and aspirations of the culturally and linguistically diverse. This policy was originally about social justice and access and equity were the policy terms that non-English speaking background migrants and refugees agitated for because it meant equity of service and equality of treatment by the state. Interpreter services, bilingual workers, specialist settlement services for migrants and refugees, and English language provision were seen as key to developing the capacities of migrant communities through multicultural policy. This idea eventually made its way to arts policy, as art was not necessarily seen as an essential service, especially for recent arrivals. In the late 1980s and 1990s, there was much advocacy around multicultural arts and developing multicultural arts policies, so performance and other artforms became a technique used to develop the capacities and skills of communities to address social issues, to assist in settlement and to develop relations between parents and children, between students and teachers and between young people from culturally and socio-economically different backgrounds. Interculturalism seems to me to be a fluid concept that is different to multiculturalism. While ‘multiculturalism’ is a social policy that informs and guides us in our thinking about how we work effectively and respectfully with diversity, ‘interculturalism’ is more about how we might go about it in actuality. Whilst an intercultural project might be an exchange between different cultures; intercultural practice is more about the process which is enacted through the exchange between two or more different groups. ‘Intercultural dialogue’ is key to intercultural practice with the intent to develop cultural


understandings and to enhance social cohesion. After Cronulla, everyone was calling for intercultural dialogue between the obvious groups. I see interculturalism happening on an everyday basis. A young Assyrian man steps into Kim’s Vietnamese beauty salon for a quick eyebrow shape and shares stories. Before that he browses the latest tattoo designs on offer at the Gypsy Jokers Tattoo Parlour next door. This is followed by a quick stop at the Iraqi bakery to pick up some bread for his mum, on his way to the Spanish barber shop to get his hair cut with a whole lot of young men on a Friday afternoon. On another level, intercultural activity occurs when a youth theatre company is able to bring together young people from over eight ethnically diverse backgrounds to talk about and create a new performance. This performance making process does not specifically focus on their ethnicity, but rather pushes the boundaries of new technologies and the use of public space, while engaging with questions around exclusion and inclusion in the process. So intercultural practice is unavoidable if you live and fully participate in all the different spaces and worlds of Western Sydney. Western Sydney is home to the largest migrant, refugee and urban Indigenous populations in the country. When engaging creatively in a community context, you work in such an intense manner, on back to back projects, that you rarely have a moment to reflect on or articulate how your practice develops and changes. But the reality is precisely what the young man quoted at the opening of this article meant when he says, ‘we just do it, it just is’. It just happens. My practice has always been fundamentally concerned with developing inquiry around a set of questions in collaboration with artists and communities. The sorts of questions I always asked myself were: What am I doing? Why am I doing it? Who is it for? How do I want to do it? Who do I work with to accomplish this? Whilst these questions may seem obvious, simple almost—they are intrinsic to my ‘intercultural’ practice when working with communities in Western Sydney. They serve as a reminder of why I chose to embark on this particular path. I have been fortunate and humbled by the opportunities to work alongside the communities I have partnered with. Their trust in my process has allowed me to develop as a practitioner, an artist and as a person. It’s this that has driven my desire to create platforms/opportunities; to bring the world to Western Sydney! In 2006 I co-directed a site-specific performance event, I Do…But, which was created with young people from Middle Eastern and south Asian communities from across Western Sydney in collaboration with professional artists. Young people performed I Do…But at The Ambassador Lounge, a wedding reception centre in South Western Sydney, Fairfield, with the audience as the guests of honour. This production investigated national identity politics and the shifting definitions of ‘us’ and ‘them’ in contemporary Australian society. Through working on this production, the participants discovered that the cultural nuances that originally seemed to divide them could actually bring them closer together. That is why the context of a wedding had been chosen to explore issues of identity and culture, as the wedding ritual is a shared experience across many cultures.

Western Sydney communities was strong, with young people and individuals becoming interested in examining and making work around this theme. Workshops were held over three months and through various workshops, such as Hip Hop and Bollywood dancing, the participants were able to devise their ideas about these issues into new art forms. In addition to the celebration of an all-singing, all dancing wedding extravaganza, the performance offered an insight into the lives of young people living, working and studying in Western Sydney. By examining the racial tensions they encountered in their everyday lives, the audience and participants were invited to consider new Australian identities that broadened the representation of Australian experiences. The result was: I Do…But. Engaging, liaising and partnering with communities on projects to ‘tell it the way it is’, will always remain at the forefront of my practice. However, politics remains embedded within the critical practice of all communities. While politicians play with people’s lives, as is clearly demonstrated by the Australian government’s treatment of refugees, people will always negotiate their intercultural interactions in ways that are both creative and compelling. I’m excited by the possibilities for future ventures together and representing stories on a local, regional and national level. I Do…But (2006), Powerhouse Youth Theatre

Calls were made out to young people from Middle Eastern and South Asian communities to participate in a show that looked at their identity post September 11, post Bali, post London and post Cronulla. The response from

13


Eavesdropping on TransLab Dialogues Day My task on the day was to respond and relate to broader social and cultural agenda. Already a challenge given that I am consumed (rather unhealthily) by the challenges and opportunities of a radical re-imagining of everything in the face of climate change; In particular, the need for us to reinvent our cultural modes of production along with everything else. The green manifesto of recycle, reuse, reduce, buy local, buy less, (and of better quality), go slow, grow your own, know where it comes from and how it’s made, make-do, all seem like really good principles. To apply them conceptually and practically to culture-making between artists and audiences would certainly transform our current production modes for the better, I think. So some questions that I use to sustain my search for some new modes of operation are: What is failing and how? And how can I be more unprofessional? Or more positively: What are the unexpected outcomes? And how are personal values being realised? This was the bandwidth I was listening in on as I eavesdropped throughout the day.

Angharad Wynne-Jones

With the little bit of personal insight and the help of a Myers Briggs personality test I know I have a tendency to proselytise. So in an effort to redress this tendency I allowed for the possibility that people might be concerned with more than climate change. I invited the people on the day to nominate and identify the broader issues they thought most critical and relate their learning through the day to that. Strangely (to me at least) climate change didn’t come up once! But lots of other good stuff did (Unexpected Outcome Number One). For example, And we reinventeding the exercise that was supposed to facilitate this process as what I proposed didn’t work (Unexpected Outcome Number Two) The capacity of participants, generously listening and warmly responding, was characteristic of the entire day and didn’t fail - even at 5pm on a Friday. Unexpected Outcome Number Three:—‘Be it, not have it’ The day before I had a chance to see some of the TransLab works in development. I was impressed as much by the skill and virtuosity of the performers and makers as by their desire and courage to look at some difficult issues: racism, exploitation, aging and displacement. Each work was so different, one from the other, and within each work there was an effortless diversity in performers and approaches, which reinforced the sense that the challenge was not so much in creating “inter–culturalness” but in creating a form that enabled the richness of that and the idea of the work to be communicated coherently. A challenge articulated in Ghassan Hage’s beautiful command to ‘be multicultural not have multiculturalism’ and Ahil Ratnamohan’s comment about working and living with people from many different cultures “It’s just normal” which indicated how already defunct ‘intercultural’ is as a concept and foretold a time when the current ‘mainstream theatre’ is recognised as just another form of community theatre for a specific (white, middleclass) audience, and maybe even resourced as such. Unexpected Outcome Number Four: The Shape of the Table The first thing that happened at the start of the discussion of the day was the dismantling of the panel format, ostensibly because of light and sound issues, but what resulted was a circle, a round table, a space of equity. Unexpected Outcome Number Five: Fit for Purpose


Anni Davey’s bold declaration that circus will not serve the telling of stories… the knowledge that finding the right work for the form and the right form for the work is a critical challenge no matter how much of an expert you are in a form. Why couldn’t Shaun Parker’s work be realised as a world music CD instead of a performance? Unexpected Outcome Number Six: Paschal’s Cheat Pretending that there’s more time than there is, a strategy for artists to take back control of the process, or at least faking it and seeing who else buys into it and makes it real. Unexpected Outcome Number Seven: Feedback Lee Wilson saying that he’s been doing development showings for 15 years and still hasn’t got it right—so as artists, producers, presenters and audiences how can we re-imagine that process, what are the questions we want to ask? What will we do with feedback when we have it? Deborah Pollard said “It has to be a conversation and to constantly let the audiences be in at the level of work that is being made.” Which sounds like a great strategy for the ‘finished product’ too—so we understand what we’re seeing. Is it ever possible to know too much? Can the audience not be a collaborator in the performance? Unexpected Outcome Number Eight: The Artists and the Audiences Deborah again talking about the pressure to jump to the producer model as opposed to doing it yourself as an artist. This named a feeling I’ve been having that presenters and producers can get in the way of the relationship between artists and audiences. And consequently some artists not feeling a sense of responsibility as to who the audiences are outside of needing them as a presence in the work. Unexpected Outcome Number Nine: John Baylis’s Questions for artists in making performance, (which I think could make a great T Shirt) via Deborah Pollard. • Who is your audience? • How can you problematise the work for them? • Who are you in the work? • What expertise do you bring, what moral position? • How do you bring in expertise and frame it? • How do you understand the liveness? • What kind of dialogue are you having with the audience? • What can you offer that’s not already in the public domain?

Which leads to being unprofessional: These comments were made by these named people and reproduced without their permission: • Carlos Gomes talked about the investigation being like a fire “we couldn’t help ourselves”. • Lee Wilson said he felt very emotional—and that cocollaborator Mirabelle Wouters was at home looking after the kids. That he was always concerned about the future of the work. And that he was big on “hanging out” as a mode of research. • Shaun Parker said he kept asking himself why he was making the work and found himself saying, ”No, I still want to do this”. • The women that weren’t at home being unprofessional were very vocal, although not strongly represented in the first panel. • Rosalba Clemente talked about having a degree and being the child of peasants. • Ghassan Hage talked about the “right to be bad “and not from the “dominant culture.” • Deborah Pollard the dramaturg said there was “no such thing as a trained dramaturg”. All this passion, knowledge, failure and circumstance spilling out and over the forms and structures we work within. A radical re-imagining. And we didn’t talk about climate change once.

Unexpected Outcome Number Ten: Sweat and Sweet Sacrifice. Antoinetta Morgillo talked about these huge gaps between one development and the next and asked what do we have to do to sustain practice? Sweat had one answer—they all have other jobs. Paschal Daantos Berry said the unpaid hours are “a sacrifice you have to make to make loving work”. In the corporate sector volunteering is encouraged because it ”…extends a healthy life, develops skills, builds social capital, increases well being and self esteem.” (www.goomalling.wa.gov.au/lifestyle/ volunteering/benefits)

15


FIONA WINNING

DEBORAH POLLARD

PASCHAL DAANTOS BERRY

Fiona is a dramaturg, producer, and arts consultant working with independent artists, venues and contemporary arts organisations around Australia. She is currently on the Theatre Board of the Australia Council and previously was the director of Performance Space. In collaboration with Steven Richardson from Arts House, Fiona was the chief architect of the TransLab program.

Deborah is an interdisciplinary artist working in devised performance and has a long history working with Australian/Asian collaborations. Deborah is a resident dramaturg with the political performance company version 1.0 Inc.; she was dramaturg on two TransLab projects (Branch Nebula and Paschal Berry/Anino).

Paschal is a writer and dramaturg for theatre and dance. He is interested in creating hybrid theatre through collaboration with artists from different artforms. In 2005 he developed his work The Folding Wife whilst in the Philippines, working with Anino Shadowplay Collective in Manila. For his TransLab project he was interested in continuing his artistic relationship with Anino by collaborating on a new work, Within & Without.

ANGHARAD WYNNE-JONES Angharad is an ex-director of Performance Space and was the facilitator of the TransLab Dialogues. Recently Angharad was the director of the Australian Theatre Forum which brought together 100 theatre practioners from across Australia for the first time in twenty years. Currently Angharad is an independent producer/director developing projects with artists and scientists responding to climate change.

CHRIS MEAD Chris is the artistic director of PlayWriting Australia, the peak advocacy body for new writing in Australian theatre. He specialises in directing and dramaturging new plays, as well as some contemporary performance, and wrote a Platform Paper, ‘What is an Australian Play?’ for Currency House in 2008 centering on diversity in Australian play texts. Chris worked as the dramaturg for Shaun Parker’s TransLab project.

LIZA-MARE SYRON Liza-Mare is a descendent from the Birripi people of Tuncurry NSW. Liza-Mare is a graduate of the Victorian College of Arts and is currently coordinator of the Theatre Performance and Practice Course at the Eora Centre of Aboriginal Studies in Redfern NSW. Liza-Mare is also Co-Chair of Moogahlin Performing Arts Inc and currently completing her PhD in Performance Studies at the University of Sydney.

CLAUDIA CHIDIAC Claudia is a theatre director and performance artist who has among other projects worked extensively with young people, migrant and refugee communities. Claudia is also part of the TransLab curatorium that selected the six projects over the two years. From 2005 until the end of 2009 she was the artistic director of Powerhouse Youth Theatre (PYT) in South West Sydney, where she was responsible for directing the company’s artistic program and developing training opportunities for emerging artists.

AHILAN RATNAMOHAN Ahilan considers himself a metaphysical-footballer, attempting to make sense of the world through football and art. He was a member of the Urban Theatre Projects Ensemble and has performed with other companies such as Theatre Kantanka, Branch Nebula, and created his own work in residency with Legs on the Wall and PACT. Ahilan produced his first solo work The Football Diaries early in 2009 with Urban Theatre Projects. He participated as a performer in the TransLab project Sweat directed by Lee Wilson from Branch Nebula. Ahil is currently in research and development, working with Lina Kastoumis and Martin del Amo, for his next project, The Phorena, which is being produced by Campbelltown Arts.

REBECCA CONROY Rebecca is an interdisciplinary performance maker, writer/researcher and curator, working across the areas of community culture development, devised performance and practicebased research. She is an Associate Director of Performance Space and also the co-director of Bill+George an artist run space based in Redfern.


Managing Partners:

Editors: Rebecca Conroy, Daniel Brine Design: Alexandra Crosby Illustrations: Rudy Ardianto

Performance Space Performance Space is a creative space in which to explore and experience new forms, new arts, and new contexts of interdisciplinary arts. performancespace.com.au Performance Space is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body; the New South Wales Government through Arts NSW; and the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments. Performance Space is the anchor tenant at CarriageWorks, Sydney’s home for contemporary arts. Performance Space is a member of Contemporary Art Organisations of Australia (CAOS) and Mobile States, Touring Contemporary Performance Australia.

Arts House Arts House is a City of Melbourne contemporary arts initiative. Arts House operates as a multi-dimensional resource hub for artists—producing, programming, devising, supporting and funding. Arts House values arts that help create a world where people are actively engaged, aware and empowered to participate in cultural life. artshouse.com.au Arts House is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body; the Victorian Government through Arts Victoria. Arts House is the initiator of Dance Massive Melbourne, a National Contemporary dance platform; and the Black Arm Band - Music of the Indigenous Australian Experience. Arts House is an active member of IETM (International Network for contemporary performing arts) and Mobile States, Touring Contemporary Performance Australia.

© 2010 all authors for all texts. All opinions expressed within this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily of the publishers. All rights reserved. Published by Performance Space. ISBN 978-0-9806742-6-2 Printed in Sydney through Blood and Thunder Publishing www.bloodandthunder.co

TransLab Dialogues  

Texts around and about intercultural practice in contemporary theatre. Published by Performance Space to make the conclusion of TransLab In...

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