Arts House Announces 2020 Asia TOPA Program

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Arts House will showcase two inspiring and exhilarating Australian premieres as part of the 2020 Asia TOPA program.

What is Chinese? by Shanghai artists: Xiao Ke and Zi Han with a team of local Melbournian artists, contemplate many global perspectives after talking with over 140 people from the Chinese diaspora.

Are You Ready To Take The Law Into Your Own Hands by Philippines theatre ensemble: Sipat Lawin and Friends with artists from Melbourne's own KIKI House of Dévine, is an action thriller set to 40 years of Filipino pop.

Arts House Artistic Director, Emily Sexton explains that this programming reflects a contemporary Australia, where diverse points of view are essential to good art and good democracy.

"The conversations in and around Asia TOPA enable Australian artists to collaborate with artistic leaders across the region and we're delighted to be part of this riveting festival once again," Sexton said.

"In these two shows we have a new generation of artistic leaders from Shanghai and Manila expressing their perspectives on local and global political questions," said Sexton.

What is Chinese? by Xiao Ke x Zi Han

20 - 29 February 2020

It's difficult to define Chinese - is it a culture, a community or an identity?

Almost a quarter of humanity can trace ethnic roots to Chinese culture, but how does that manifest in our everyday lives?

Opening the doors into a cross-cultural contact zone, What is Chinese? is led by artists Xiao Ke and Zi Han in collaboration with local Victorian artists.

Over ten days, Arts House will become an interim home for a multi-faceted project that traces the Chinese connections and distinctions between people across the globe through a documentary installation, a site-specific conversation and also a digital dialogue.

Shanghai artists Xiao Ke and Zi Han have travelled the globe speaking to over 140 members of the Chinese diaspora -their exhibition of interviews and portraits forms the launching point for this multi-faceted work.

As What is Chinese? Unfolds local artists will join Xiao Ke and Zi Han to create and live in a makeshift 'home' in Arts House's Warehouse in North Melbourne over three days, where audiences will be invited to visit, eat and discuss Chinese perceptions and interpretations.

What is Chinese? ends with the local artists sharing their responses and reflections on their individual experiences with Chinese heritage and circumstances.

Over the past couple of years, Xiao Ke and Zi Han have initiated geographical-specific iterations of What is Chinese?, including at Taipei Arts Festival and other festivals in Europe, Japan, South Asia and China.

Concept and direction Xiao Ke and Zi Han

Dramaturgy Ophelia Jiadai Huang

Producers Erin Milne and Stéphane Noël

Season 20 - 29 Feb 2020

Location Arts House

Address North Melbourne Town Hall, 521 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne

Bookings or (03) 9322 3720

Are You Ready To Take The Law Into Your Own Hands by Sipat Lawin and Friends

26 - 29 February 2020

A high-octane Filipino action-movie musical

Are You Ready To Take The Law Into Your Own Hands is a Filipino jukebox musical about a ragtag squad of fans on the hunt for the Philippines' biggest pop star who has been kidnapped.

The vigilantes will brave rooftop chases, knife fights in the back of speeding jeepneys and underwater shoot-outs to liberate their idol from a conspiracy that threatens to tear their country apart.

This blistering action epic is set to 40 years of the best Filipino music, vaulting from 1970s peace anthems to contemporary Filipino hip-hop, from viral YouTube techno to iconic Pinoy power ballads.

A neon-drenched action adventure set in a nation on the brink, Are You Ready to Take the Law into Your Own Hands has zero political relevance to current events. None. At all. It's time to throw out the rules.

Dancers from Melbourne's vogue scene KIKI House of Dévine are collaborating with Sipat Lawin for the Australian premiere of Are You Ready to Take the Law into Your Own Hands.

Founded by graduates from the Philippines High School for the Arts in Manila, Sipat Lawin has been changing the landscape of theatre and performance in the Philippines. Previous productions include Battalia Royale, LOVE: Not Yet A Musical, A Wake: Kids Killing Kids and Gobyerno.

Director JK Anicoche

Choreographer Jared Luna

Lights and technical direction Roman Cruz Jr

Video artist Joyce Garcia

Music J Laspuńa

Writer David Finnigan

Stage Manager Sigmund Pecho

Performers Adrienne Vergara, Brandon Relucio, Bunny Cadag, Ji-ann Lachica and Claudia Enriquez
Local dance collaborators Efren Pamilacan and KIKI House of Dévine

Season 26 - 29 Feb 2020

Time 7.30pm

Duration 90 minutes (no interval)

Location Arts House

Address North Melbourne Town Hall, 521 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne

Tickets $15 - $25 (plus transaction fee)

Bookings or (03) 9322 3720

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