Curated Journey

Welcome to Asia TOPA, a festival celebrating Australia’s connection to contemporary Asia. Brought to you through a ground-breaking collaboration by leading arts organisations from across Melbourne and beyond, and with a smorgasbord of creative forms including performance, visual, screen and literary arts, it’s hard to know where to start your adventure.

Our curated journeys offer something for every taste and budget, and, as an added incentive, if you choose 3 or more performances across the program, you’ll receive a 15% discount! So kick off your Asia TOPA journey here – you’re bound to be inspired.


First Time

The First Time

The sheer scope of exciting performance from across Asia can seem intense to newcomers, but there's no shortage of entry points from which you can begin your voyage. Start with The Music of AR Rahman when the Indian superstar makes a guest appearance in concert with the MSO (you already know his Oscar-winning music from Slumdog Millionaire) or dive into the lush history of Bollywood with ACMI's Bombay Talkies. From there it's your choice: the heart-stealing parade of flowers in Lee Ming Wei's The Moving Garden, or He An's neon tribute to love in the age of social media in Do you think that you can help her brother?

The First Time Journey:

  • The Moving Garden
    Experience Taiwanese-American artist, Lee Mingwei’s installation at NGV

Fresh Futures

Fresh Futures

When it comes to tech, fashion and design, the whole world is looking in one direction right now. Fashion-watchers shouldn't miss TAO Dance Theater in 6 and 8 – from the pages of VOGUE China to a show in Paris Men's Fashion Week, the company is turning heads with its cool, cutting-edge style. You won't want to miss the Boiler Room Lecture by Biennale of Sydney's new artistic director Mami Kataoka, while tech-enthusiasts lookout for the reality-warping experiences custom-created for XO State.

The Fresh Futures Journey:

  • XO State
    A place that is not a place – a crucible of constant change

Screen Scene

Screen Scene

We're rarely more than an arm's length from a screen these days, but Asia's leading screen artists can take you places far, far away. Follow the trail of cute carnage in video triptych Climax of the Next Scene or be ravished by the lush meeting of black-and-white cinema and Javanese mythology in Satan Jawa. Embrace the rich reinvention of queer, migrant, spiritual and intercultural identity in moving image series Ex Nilalang, and witness the dancing bodies of Anti Gravity become as weightless as clouds.

The Screen Scene Journey:

  • Satan Jawa
    Ravishing Indonesian cinema with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
  • Ex Nilalang
    Reimagining urban mythologies and traditional Filipino folklore
  • Anti Gravity
    An immersive performance with six extraordinary dancers

Worldly Women

Worldly Women

From warrior women to street artists, Asia TOPA is home to a staggering array of female stories. Be astonished by the military ballerinas of China's Red Detachment of Women, then beguiled by the gender-flipping subversions of Filipino dancer Eisa Jocson in Macho Dancer. Young Indonesian women transform a traditional martial art into transfixing spectacle in Balabala, and artists from across Asia reinvent our city one unexpected street artwork at a time in Women, Art & Politics.

The Worldly Women Journey:

  • Macho Dancer
    Artist Eisa Jocson embodies the ‘macho dance’ in this social commentary performance
  • Balabala
    Eko Supriyanto astonishes with his utterly unique style
  • Women, Art & Politics
    Celebrating the diverse voices of women across four days of talks, debates, music, film & performance.

On Topic

On Topic

If this is the Asian Century, it's no wonder that so many of the most significant voices right now are emerging from our closest neighbours. Become part of the conversation: whether it's Cry Jailolo's hypnotic meditation on the destruction of marine environments, Kagerou's post-Fukushima “documentary performance” Study of Translating Performance about the Great East Japan Earthquake, Little Emperors' exploration of China after the one-child policy or students protesting the state of their education via song in Roysten Abel’s The Manganiyar Classroom, this is performance that taps into the most vital currents of our times.

The On Topic Journey:

  • Cry Jailolo
    Young men using dance to tell their community story and protest
  • Little Emperors
    Wang Chong’s examines the stories, secrets and aspirations of the children of China’s one-child policy