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Asialink June-July

I spent June and most of July in Indonesia and Malaysia on part one of my Asialink residency, hosted by Arts Island Festival – Bali and East Java – and Melaka Arts and Performance Festival.

My trip started with a prelude in Singapore at the ConversAsians platform, at the Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, for networking and dialogue. Then it was off to Jakarta in the first week of July, attending the Indonesian Dance Festival and meeting with key organisations including IDF itself, Kelola, Salihara and the Goethe Institute, to talk about both Arts Island Festival and my own producing work. IDF was fascinating; it was the perfect time to meet loads of artists and arts managers and get an overview of contemporary dance work from Indonesia and the region. It was very helpful to give me a sense of where the work of artists and festivals I am involved with ‘sits’ regionally. A personal highlight of IDF was Crack by Amrita Performing Arts (Cambodia), choreographed by Arco Renz of kobalt works. Later in the trip I was fortunate to visit Arco and his collaborators Melanie Lane and Eko Supriyanto in the studio in Solo, where they were working on a new piece.

In Jakarta, at Kelola’s invitation, I gave an afternoon workshop on producing and self-producing skills for a group of dance artists, arts managers and emerging producers. We talked about everything from the artist-producer relationship, partnering with your venue, marketing, documentation, research and advocacy, budgeting and more.

After Jakarta it was off to Yogyakarta, where my main focus was a two-week Bahasa Indonesia language intensive, meeting lots of wonderful choreographers, dancers, directors and visual artists, and assisting Agung Gunawan and his team in preparations for the Arts Island Festival. This was also a rich time of immersion and learning about Javanese culture and arts practice more broadly.

Late in June, things shifted from preparation to the actual whirlwind of the Arts Island Festival in Klungkung, Kediri and Batu – three festival locations in ten days, with artists from Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, France and New Caledonia. My newly acquired Indonesian language skills were put to immediate, satisfying, use communicating both with artist colleagues and with locals in our festival locations. Agung’s festival is an extraordinary opportunity to not only offer contemporary work to curious and open-minded new audiences, but experience the power and richness of Balinese and Javanese traditional and contemporary cultural practices. My second festival deepened my learning and understanding from last year.

Malaysia was next on the agenda, with a week in Penang at George Town Festival with Tony Yap Company’s Rasa Sayang making its Malaysian premiere at penangpac. We loved working new collaborator in lighting designer and photographer Joie Koo.

As mid-July approached, a week in Kuala Lumpur was an opportunity to get into preparations for Melaka Arts and Performance Festival 2012 and beyond. Meetings with artists, the Australian High Commission, Alliance Francaise KL, Japan Foundation KL, Goethe Institute KL, and MyDanceAlliance all consolidated previous relationships and introduced new potential festival partners and participants.

Finally, this leg of Asialink ended with time in Melaka with festival creative director Tony Yap: venue scouting for the festival, dreaming and planning for future collaborative initiatives.

I will be back to Jakarta and Malaysia during September for follow ups and delivery of the Melaka Arts and Performance Festival.

Kath’s Asialink residency is supported by the Australia-Malaysia Institute and the Australia Council for the Arts.

George Town Festival, Independent Producers’ Initiative, ZeroZero

Lots of news so far in May!

Rasa Sayang will tour to the George Town Festival, Penang, Malaysia in July. We are a featured project, to boot! Visit their website here. It’ll be a great opportunity to premiere this work in Malaysia and profile it in the region, and we are delighted to return to Penang PAC; Tony performed at the opening last year and it’s a great space with a fantastic team.

Visit the ZeroZero page in the portfolio to view brand new videos just added, of last year’s season at Performance Space in Sydney, and the technical experiments in February which laid the foundations for the final stage, to come in 2013.

Last but not least, we are excited to announce that Kath has received a business development grant from the Australia Council for the Arts for 2012-13, under the independent producers of theatre and dance initiative. Watch this space for further news!

Rasa Sayang – ABC Classic FM radio broadcast

During the recent season of Rasa Sayang at Blacktown Arts Centre, ABC Classic FM recorded a segment for their New Music Up Late series which aired on 31 March 2012, focusing on the ideas behind the piece, Tim and Maddie’s music, and collaboration. Click here┬áto listen to the broadcast (this link is for the whole show; skip forward to 7:00min to listen just to Rasa Sayang).

Arts About Us news

It’s a busy time with VicHealth’s Arts About Us Roadshow (overview of the project in my portfolio).

The fantastic Museum Victoria project Talking Difference will open at the Shepparton Library on 28 February for a three-week stint that is the first stop on its regional tour. The sensitive design of this interactive media project elicits very honest responses from people who venture inside to answer the video questions and participate in a dialogue with other’s responses. See the Talking Difference blog for some of the very moving content generated during the project’s time in Brimbank in 2011.

Rehearsals are underway in Shepparton for Dare to be Faceless, Simon Tengende’s play commissioned through La Mama which will have its premiere in the SheppARTon Festival. A couple of weekends ago I met the cast at a reading and BBQ, which was really terrific. First-time actors from local African communities are joining seasoned members of Shepparton Theatre Arts Group (STAG) for this production. We also secured the participation of local choirs, especially St David’s Lutheran Church choir, which will add some rich tones and textures to the production.

Kirsty and I will travel to Mildura for Sarajevo Suite on International Womens’ Day, 8 March, in the Mildura Wentworth Arts Festival, and then a few days later be in Shepparton supporting the cast and crew for the Dare to be Faceless premiere on 12 March.

Rasa Sayang at Blacktown Arts Centre this March

We are delighted that Rasa Sayang will have its first interstate outing with two performances at Blacktown Arts Centre on 29-30 March, with the support of Kultour and the New Music Network. Tony Yap, Tim Humphrey, Madeleine Flynn, Naomi Ota, Nik Pajanti and I will travel up, and are looking forward to engaging with the Blacktown AC artist community in two workshops as well as the performances, and the installation which will be open during the day.