Austral + Asia

Cultural Space, Theatricality and the Performance of Asia in Australasia

15 -16 November 2012
Performing Arts Centre, Monash University
Clayton Campus

Call for Papers

Image: Austral + Asia Face

This conference, the inaugural event of the Asian Performance Research Cluster,and the first annual themed conference sponsored by the Monash Asia Institute, seeks to define theatre, performance, and cultural spaces in Australasia. We would like participants in this event to engage with the theatricals and performatives that situate Australasia in Asia and Asian theatre and cultural performance in Australia. We recognise that in Australia and Asia, with their complex multi-ethnic and multicultural communities, contested histories and sites of shifting power or influence, it is a challenge to establish equal opportunities for cultural expression through theatre and performance. Moreover, Asians who find themselves practising and performing in these “third cultural spaces” are also faced with the challenge of creating a framework for both theory and practice that responds to questions of identity, tradition, cultural change (innovation) and preservation, especially in a country such as Australia. This space is also what theorists and cultural activists like Homi K. Bhabha and Gloria Anzaldúa consider as borderlands. It is where individuals and groups may examine hybridity (of culture, language, races, ethnicities) to understand their origins, the present remaking of their culture, the future direction of their lives, and to deconstruct dominant ideologies that shape all of these. Thus, we propose a dialogue between Australian and Asian performers, scholars, and audiences (including policy makers) about issues of cultural identity, community building and changes that occur in this “land down under (Asia)” as seen, practiced and received through theatre and performance-making.

We propose the following discussion points in this conference:

  1. Theatricality and performance of Asian cultures, traditions, or the everyday life in multi-cultural/ethnic spaces, such as Australia and Asia
  2. Asian folk theatres, community drama, musical and indigenous performances in Australia
  3. Adaptation, transformation, translation, recreation, re/invention in the practices and performances of Asian cultures for Australian and multi-ethnic audiences
  4. Policies, support, community and national frameworks in recognising Asian cultures in Australia and beyond
  5. Asian diaspora and the transformation or preservation (re-negotiation) of such inherited cultures or “traditions” with “new” and emerging ones
  6. Audience reception of these Asian theatre traditions, especially in folk or community settings
  7. Austral + Asian philosophies, methods, processes and organising theatre and performance practice or research in the community or academic settings
  8. The present and future of Asian-Australians as artists, researchers, audience and global citizens

Submission Process

We invite community-based artists, practitioners, researchers, policy leaders, academics and students to submit an abstract related to the stated themes for this conference. We seek paper/research participation as well as new ways to stimulate a discussion such as a reflection on a creative or critical practice of an individual’s or theatre group’s experience or a short performance that responds to questions related to the conference theme. Papers must be no more than 20 minutes long when presented, and will be followed by a 10 minute discussion. Workshops or performances must be in the range of 30-40 minutes, followed by a 10 minute discussion.

Please email an abstract of no more than 300 words for a short paper and 300-500 words proposal for a workshop or a performance plus a short biography to or Please indicate in the subject of your email “Conference Australia”.

Deadline Extension

Given that we have received many inquiries and expression of interest, the organisers have decided to extend the abstract and proposal submission to 21 September 2012. Furthermore, abstracts and proposals submitted beyond the deadline can still be considered provided that there still space for presentation.

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Paul Rae

Paul Rae teaches in the Theatre Studies Programme at the National University of Singapore, and is co-director, with Kaylene Tan, of spell#7 performance ( He is the author of Theatre & Human Rights (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), Associate Editor of the journal Theatre Research International, and has published on contemporary theatre and performance in Theatre Journal, The Drama Review, Performance Research, Contemporary Theatre Review and Theatre Research International. Recent book chapters appear in Translation in Asia (St Jerome, 2011),The Rise of Performance Studies (Palgrave, 2011), Contemporary Southeast Asian Performance (Cambridge Scholars, 2011), Performance and the Contemporary City (Palgrave, 2010), and Contesting Performance (Palgrave, 2010). His current projects include a monograph entitled Real Theatre, a co-authored book, Traveling Performance: Suggested Itineraries (with Martin Welton) and a co-edited volume, It Starts Now: Performance Avant-Gardes in East and Southeast Asia (with Peter Eckersall).

Paschal Berry Daantos

Paschal Daantos Berry is an independent Filipino-Australian writer and dramaturge whose practice is focused on interdisciplinary, cross cultural and collaborative processes. As a writer/dramaturge, he has contributed works for Urban Theatre Projects, Radio National (ABC), Griffin Theatre, The Australian Choreographic Centre, Belvoir Asian Theatre Festival, The Performance Space, ATYP, Multicultural Theatre Alliance, Platform 27, Canberra Youth Theatre and Tuggeranong Arts Centre. In 2005, he received an Asialink Residency to work with the Anino Shadowplay Collective. From 2003 to 2005 he was resident dramaturge at The Australian Choreographic Centre, developing projects for Quantum Leap with artistic director Ruth Osborne as well as dramaturging various dance works including Tanja Liedtke’s Twelfth Floor. He wrote the critically acclaimed The Folding Wife which was produced by Urban Theatre Projects and Blacktown Arts Centre (2007) and toured by Mobile States (2010).

Afternoon Performances

As we explore theatre and performance culture in this conference, we would also like to engage the participants in the afternoon or post-discussion performances or full-workshop sessions. This event will be facilitated by artists or scholars dealing with the actual practice-led inquiry or by performers involved with the community. We hope that this becomes a social event as well as an extension of any discussion as seen or experienced through a performance. More details to follow.


Current negotiations are underway for a possible publication of high standard papers in an online refereed journal based on the School of English, Communication and Performance Studies at Monash University, especially those from postgraduate researchers. We will be in contact with all participants regarding this matter after the conference.


Participating individuals must register to attend the conference (AU$60). Registration includes lunch, morning and afternoon tea on both days, as well as a conference kit. Pre- registration is done online as there will be no handling of cash on the days of the conference, and the event will be catered. Online registration will be available soon, via a link on this page.