OzAsia Festival welcomes Annette Shun Wah as Artistic Director in 2021
OzAsia Festival is Australia’s leading contemporary arts festival engaging with Asia. With its home in Adelaide, the festival has been bringing Asian stories, experiences and works to the stage since 2007.
While the Covid-19 pandemic means that OzAsia is unfortunately unable to proceed in 2020, the team has been busy planning for next year’s program. Most recently, OzAsia has welcomed Annette Shun Wah as Artistic Director in 2021.
Cultural Pulse spoke to Annette about her artistic practice spanning over 35 years, as well as the importance of producing diverse work in Australia.
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With Chinese heritage herself, Annette is truly passionate about facilitating opportunities for Asian-Australian creatives to showcase their work.
Her wide range of experience, including acting, working in television and producing theatre, brought to light how difficult it is for performers from non-white backgrounds to make their way in the industry.
She also noticed that so many talented writers, performers and creators simply weren’t given the platform to tell their stories. However, Annette is optimistic about the future of the arts in Australia.
“It’s great to see that finally – only in the last four or five years – things are definitely changing in a more dramatic and significant way than in the past,” she said.
Annette is heartened by the success of Asian-Australian writers like Anchuli Felicia King and Michelle Law.
“Every time I see them having success, it’s a really proud moment for me because I feel like this work has been worthwhile.”
Annette is drawn to stories which question the status quo and bring something new and meaningful to the theatre landscape. Above all, they should resonate with the wide Australian audience, which is incredibly diverse.
“It is the job of the arts to reflect who we are so that we can talk about being Australian and come to a better understanding about who we are as a nation and as a society.”
As Artistic Director of the OzAsia Festival, Annette aims to create even more opportunities for Asian-Australian creatives to present previously untold stories for large audiences.
“I look forward to showcasing exciting thinking that’s happening in Asia through the contemporary arts, and to support collaboration between Australian and Asian artists,” she said.
OzAsia Festival is set to host an online talks series in October 2020 featuring artists and arts professionals from across the Asian region. You can sign up to find out more HERE.