Through the support of the Australia Council for the Arts and theMalcolm Robertson Foundation, this program is now moving into its second year, supporting visionary storytellers to bring culturally contemporary stories to the stage. The pool of applicants was truly impressive, coming from a range of artistic practices, and reflecting the breadth of approaches there can be to making theatre.
Vidya Rajan is an emerging writer, comic, and performance-maker working across devised/written performance, comedy, the screen, and the page. Recent works include The Fallout(Lonely Company), Genesis(Red Stitch), Last night (WAYTCO), DeAr BeLoVed, A completely unified theory of you+me (TiNA), Aaaaunty(ASIATOPA), The Shubaratnams(VCA), Asian Ghost-ery Store(Griffin Batch Theatre Fest 2018, Melbourne Fringe Award 2015) and FriendquestVidya was 2016 Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow and has a Masters in Writing for Performance (VCA). She has trained and performed extensively in improvisation and sketch in Australia and the States. In 2017 Vidya was selected for a Room of One's Own Residency with the Women's Circus, Melbourne Festival's Director's Lab Program and Westerly's Emerging Writer mentorship program. She has recently worked with ABC Comedy, Theatreworks (associate artist program) and is a 2018 recipient of Screen Australia's Developing the Developer initiative. Outside of the arts, she has worked primarily in community law and welfare advocacy.
'I'm intrigued by stories that look to the margins of social experience and resist fixed ideas around identity. My interest lies in centring these voices, and imagining spaces where they connect, challenge and transform each other. My aim is to develop work that captures this complexity with energy and insight. I'm excited to push my writing in this direction in the supportive, risk-friendly environment that is Malthouse Theatre.' – Vidya Rajan
Ra Chapman is an actor, theatre-maker and writer. Awarded the 2018 Wheeler Centre Playwright Hot Desk fellow and selected for the 2018 Cinespace/Film Victoria Story Lab Program. Ra is an alumni of the 2017 Besen Writers Group at Malthouse Theatre, a dramaturgical intern for Cybec Electric at MTC and attended the CAAP/STC Directing Workshop in 2016. Most recently Ra has been selected to participate in the two-year CAAP/MTC Director’s Initiative. Ra is a Korean Adoptee with strong ties to the adoption community in Australia and Korea and works closely with local inter-country adoptees on various advocacy projects. She is the Victorian Equity Diversity Committee Representative and is committed to changing the landscape of our industry.
'I’m interested in what stories and voices we choose to champion, and maybe even more importantly, how we as theatre makers go about approaching these stories and representing these individuals and communities on our stages. I’m excited at the prospect of developing my own work with the support and guidance of the Malthouse Theatre team, and collaborating with fellow creatives and storytellers of diverse backgrounds.' – Ra Chapman
This program is part of a partnership with Malthouse Theatre and Footscray Community Arts Centre to bring new voices into the conversation and develop bold new work. The panel included Bernadette Fitzgerald, Ming-Zhu Hii and Mark Pritchard.
'Aside from the high level of skill, dynamism and versatility in their writing, one of the things that excites me most about Ra Chapman and Vidya Rajan coming into the program is their curiosity, passion and desire to drive practical change through their work. I can not wait to see how they evolve as artists over their respective residencies, and look forward to many fruitful and deeply engaged conversations and collaborations with them both.' –Ming-Zhu Hii, Malthouse Theatre Director in Residence
Vidya and Ra will be in residence with us over the next 8 months, getting an inside look at how work is developed at Malthouse Theatre. With access to rehearsal rooms, a season of shows, and the support of our artistic team, we hope to put these two adventurous and deeply talented artists on a path to developing their own work for the main stage. We can't wait to see what they write.