Arts Centre Melbourne presents

Salon Series: Intercultural Artistic Collaborations

Public Program & Free

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How do artists from different disciplines and cultural backgrounds come together to collaborate? What challenges do they face, and how does inter-cultural collaboration differ from other artistic practices? And importantly, what does the inter-cultural context add to the process?

Some of the artists behind Asia TOPA commissions come together to discuss intercultural artistic collaborations.


Salon Series: SAIGON - Between Life and History

The live conversation between Nguyen Duc Duy and Benjamin Law has been replaced with a recording. The recording will be available here soon.

Moderator: Beverley Wang

People – families – of diaspora carry the traces of change: new circumstances, different languages, uncertainty and often trauma. How do the ghosts of history and geography affect the everyday experiences and identities of people today? And what happens when the places where your parents and grandparents lived no longer exist – or you don’t share a language with your parents because you grew up in different places?

For Asia TOPA 2020, theatre director Caroline Guiela Nguyen presents SAIGON – a moving family saga tracing the paths of 11 characters across history and space. Vietnamese-French translator Nguyen Duc Duy worked with Caroline translating stories of those in both countries as part of the creation of SAIGON, and in this talk Nguyen will be joined Australian writer Benjamin Law for a conversation about the intergenerational, intercultural dimensions of their work – treasured by audiences, but largely missing from international stages. Hosted by Beverley Wang.

Please note: due to personal reasons, Caroline Guiela Nguyen will no longer be participating in this event as was previously advertised.

Related event: SAIGON

Salon Series: Independent Intercultural Producing - 'Best' Practice, 'Failed' Practice

This session will now be conducted online rather than in person. If you booked a ticket for this event, you will be contacted with information about how you can access the digital session.

In partnership with Theatre Network Australia - Victorian Independent Producers Initiative
Venue: Theatre Network Australia, G5 / 152 Sturt St, Southbank
Date: Friday 20 March 2020
Time: 12:30 PM - 2:30 PM
Speakers: Bo Svoronos, Ejan Tan


What does it mean to work as an independent producer across diverse cultural contexts? What are the cultural protocols you need to keep in mind? How does working in a multilingual context shape an artistic collaboration? What does it mean to be a 'producer' when you work in a context where art is a part of everyday life, rather than an artistic 'outcome' or 'product'? How do you navigate complex power dynamics in different cultural contexts?

Theatre Network Australia and Asia TOPA will host this roundtable discussion with independent producers working across cultures in Australia, the Asia-Pacific and beyond. This event is part of the Victorian Independent Producers Initiative (VIPI), an initiative of the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria, delivered in partnership with Theatre Network Australia.

Salon Series: Oedipus Schmoedipus

Arts Centre Melbourne, the University of Melbourne, UMSU’s Union House Theatre, post and Hong Kong Repertory Theatre regret to announce the cancellation of all Oedipus Schmoedipus performances.

In light of the latest health advice regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, this session and all Oedipus Schmoedipus performances scheduled for 18–28 March in the Union House Theatre as part of Asia TOPA are cancelled.

Venue: Open Stage, 757 Swanston Street
Date: Monday 23 March 2020
Time: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM


What happens when an original Australian theatre production is translated into a different culture and language? How are interpretations dependent on past, present and future contexts and understanding of artists and audiences experiencing performance in different cultures? This talk seeks to explore these questions through a discussion of the journey of Oedipus Schmoedipus and the artists involved.

Confirmed Speakers
Mish Grigor
post, writer/creator/director of Oedipus Schmoedipus
Zoë Coombs Marr
post, writer/creator/director of Oedipus Schmoedipus
FUNG Wai Hang
HKREP Assistant Artistic Director, Co-Curator of Hong Kong International Black Box Festival 2018
Kee Hong LOW
Head of Artistic Development (Theatre) West Kowloon Cultural District Hong Kong, Co-Curator of Hong Kong International Black Box Festival 2018
Dr Paul Rae
Associate Professor Theatre Studies, Melbourne University

Related event: Oedipus Schmoedipus

Past events

Salon Series: Dragon Ladies Don’t Weep
In partnership with Asia Society. Presented with support from National Arts Council (Singapore) and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (Singapore).
Venue: Theatre, The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square
Date: Saturday 15 February 2020
Time: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Speakers: Margaret Leng Tan, Tamara Saulwick, Erik Griswold, Kok Heng Leun
Moderator: Leah Jing

How do you create a sonic portrait of a music icon in an intercultural context?

Join Asia Society Australia at Asia TOPA for an in-depth exploration into the making of Dragon Ladies Don’t Weep, a Singaporean-Australian work featuring avant-garde music icon Margaret Leng Tan exploring memory, time, control and loss. Pianist Margaret Leng Tan, director Tamara Saulwick, composer Erik Griswold and dramaturg Kok Heng Leun share their experiences and challenges working on what became a very personal sonic memoir that pushed Margaret Leng Tan to connect her background in experimental music into an exploration of new territories in theatre.

This event is open to the public and registration is essential via this link.

Related event: Dragon Ladies Don’t Weep

Salon Series: BLACK TIES
Venue: Common Rooms, Trades Hall
Date: Sunday 23 February 2020
Time: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Speakers: Rachael Maza, Tainui Tukiwaho, Amber Curreen

In this behind-the-scenes conversation, ILBIJERRI Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Rachael Maza joins Amber Curreen and Tainui Tukiwaho from Te Rēhia Theatre Company to reflect on the making of BLACK TIES, a ground-breaking collaboration between two First Nations theatre companies.

Please register to attend via this link

Related event: BLACK TIES