PAT CHATS: Shriya Bhagwat Chitale and ripping up the Kamasutra


“Well, the Kamasutra or love is not for the faint hearted or the sane, really.

But that’s just my opinion.”

Images: John Rata

Images: John Rata

Shriya Bhagwat Chitale tears up the legendary sexual self-help book in her new play ‘Kamasutra Chronicles’, challenging ancient and contemporary myths around sex and relationships.

The explosive first play in Proudly Asian Theatre’s new series, where Asian playwrights debut their new works each month of the year, Shriya gives some insight about why she’s flipping the script on the ancient text in her debut work as a playwright.

Catch the debut reading of The Kamasutra Chronicles this March:

When: Wednesday, March 20, 8:30pm
Where: Basement Theatre, Studio
Free Event - R16 - Open to all

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What inspired you to write this play?

A feeling of solitude that I got more and more comfortable with during the process of writing the play inspired me to continue. Initially, it was curiosity about the Kamasutra and if it held anything more than just sexual poses. When I read the translations (and I read more than one), I found it to be a fascinating window into how people lived, dated and socialised all those years ago.

What were the challenges you faced during the process?
Making space for writing this with competing priorities of adult life heaped with self-doubt and being tremendously shy of calling myself a writer.

What do you think makes a good story?
I think that this is a good story because it takes the mundane domesticity of everyday life and turns it into something magical and full of possibilities. Also the problems faced by the couple in the play are at once specific and universal.  

How do you want people to feel at the end of your play?
I want people to feel good about themselves, thoughtful and more than anything else, hopeful.

Who did you write your play for? 
I wrote this play first and foremost for myself. Then it is a play for anyone who has sex, wants to have sex or thinks about sex. It’s for people like you and me and of course people who love theatre.

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What character was the easiest to write? Why?
The muse, the mighty Vasant Sena was the most interesting and the easiest to write. I think this was because she is asking the questions that many of us may ask ourselves in the privacy of our own heads.

Can you explain any ‘theatrical’ ideas/concepts utilized in the play?

Ishita’s direct address would be a theatrical concept I’ve used in the play. She will create a very special relationship with the audience and co-opt them into the funk she finds herself in.  










Review for TIDE WAITS by Theatre Scenes

“Tide Waits For No Man: Episode Grace is exciting theatre, pushing the boundaries and redefining what Asian, and Aotearoa New Zealand theatre, can be.”

Photos: John Rata

Photos: John Rata

Thanks Theatre Scenes for the review of Tide Waits For No Man, our Fringe show and second season in collaboration with SPOOKY ANTICS. Chronicling the journey of a Chinese Kiwi woman through shadow, movement and puppetry, this non-dialogue show premiered in Wellington at BATS last year and performed to much success in the Auckland Fringe.

“A beautiful and meditative piece of work, the cast compellingly compose and perform a series of striking images to tell Grace’s story.”  

- Rand T. Hazou

Check out the rest of the review here!

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“The play offers a series of meditations on Chinese patriarchal gender constructions in a physical and non-verbal performance that incorporates shadow, puppetry and movement. This performance is part of a wave of Chinese Kiwi theatre sweeping Auckland stages over the last few years generated in part by the impressive talents behind Proudly Asian Theatre (PAT), a company dedicated to producing, empowering and enabling theatre and film by Asian talent in New Zealand.”



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“This confident production elides the primacy of logocentrism and the written word. Instead of words we have images, and instead of challenging white orientalist notions of Chinese femininity, we have a production that interrogates traditional Chinese gender constructions stemming from Tu-Bryant’s own Taiwanese heritage. Instead of focusing on white inscriptions of ‘the other’, the production uses the metaphor of Chinese calligraphy to  interrogate the imprints of cultural traditions and the processes of cultural transmissions that continue to mark subsequent generations.

Tide Waits For No Man: Episode Grace is exciting theatre, pushing the boundaries and redefining what Asian, and Aotearoa New Zealand theatre, can be.”












Tide Waits For No Man - in Auckland and on the radio

Asian women speak up about patriarchy in non-dialogue show

Image: Janna Tay

Image: Janna Tay

” … it’s literally just a big Asian wāhine collaboration, and it’s been so delicious and good.”
Marianne Infante

” … it’s not just a theatre show—it’s non-dialogue, it’s movement and puppetry and shadow puppetry with music throughout the whole thing.”
Chye-Ling Huang

“And I really believe in truth, so when people die, whether or not they live their lives really well or did really bad things, sometimes people can be glorified when they die, and I want the full picture of a human being, not just all their good things.”
Nikita Tu-Bryant


Tide Waits For No Man, PAT’s collar with Spooky Antics, is on at the Auckland Fringe this week. Check out these interviews with the three women who perform in the show, and director Nikita Tu-Bryant!

Image: Janna Tay

Image: Janna Tay

PAT round up - 2018!

Meri Kirihimete everyone! 

Thank you to all our Asian creatives that have performed, participated and shared their time with PAT this year for Fresh Off the Page. There were a whopping 71 creative practitioners involved this year and we are thrilled to have met more talented directors, writers and actors.

We've had our biggest year yet, presenting two original works and one from Singaporean pals The Finger Players 十指帮; Roots by Oliver Chong 🍚(winner of Best Design at Auckland Fringe), Orientation by Chye-Ling Huang 🐍(winner of the Hackman cup for most original play) and Tide Waits For No Man by Nikita 雅涵 Tu-Bryant 🌊, our first Wellington production (coming to Auckland Fringe in Feb).

A massive heart-felt THANK YOU to our supporters and funders - Equity New ZealandAlbert-Eden Local BoardCreative New ZealandUnitec Department of Performing & Screen Arts NZ Film Commissionand the beauties at Basement Theatre

Thank you to our awesome audiences for this year - we look forward to meeting more of you in 2019! 

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Chye-Ling Huang one to watch - Asia Media Centre

New Zealanders with Asian heritage making waves

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Lynda Chanwai Earle summarises Kiwi-Asian’s to watch after the meteoric rise of Crazy Rich Asians in the US, naming PAT co-founder Chye-Ling Huang and PAT chat interviewees Yoson An and Xana Tang as some of them. Read more below or follow the link here!

30 AUGUST 2018

Like a Bollywood classic, Crazy Rich Asians opened across the globe to dizzying anticipation. It became a soaring box office hit in the first week of release.

The film may have generated hype in the US for its impact on Asian-American representation in Hollywood, but reviews ran a little chillier in Singapore, the primary setting for the story, likely because of the prevalence of American-Asian casting.

Crazy Rich Asians is a ground-breaking retelling of the ‘Cinderella/Pride and Prejudice’ story, only with much more product placement. The film turns the tables on racial representation, with non-Asians playing only the most minor roles. Not since 1993’s The Joy Luck Club has there been such an Asian-centric story coming out of Hollywood. 

So what of New Zealand’s treatment of its own prodigious Asian talent? How are high-profile Asian actors faring? According to directors such as Roseanne Liang, the issue of lack of representation on screen is all too familiar, and the reason why talent often heads offshore.

Here are some New Zealanders with Asian heritage who are making waves internationally.

Augusta Xu-Holland

Augusta Xu-Holland was born in Auckland in 1991 to a Chinese father and Pākehā mother. 

Beijing-based Xu-Holland broke into the China-Hollywood film-making industry as a foreign actor working in China. Most recent roles include Catherine Standish in the 2016 film On Wings of Eagles opposite Joseph Fiennes (Eric Liddell) and in The Last Race opposite Zach Ireland, where she found her dual ethnicity an advantage.

She has been cast as Pudding in the upcoming film Meta Area, Chanyang Yin in Special Mission, and Eva Li in Eight Hundred.

Xana Tang

Twenty years after Disney’s animated classic, Xana Tang has been cast as Mulan’s sister in director Niki Caro’s highly anticipated live-action remake.

Tang is a New Zealand-born Chinese-Vietnamese actor. She studied Communications at AUT and speaks fluent Cantonese and Mandarin.

At 16, Tang made waves as Spit in Michael Bennett’s award-winning feature film Matariki. She was the lead in the television comedy Hounds, which won best TV comedy series at the 2012 New Zealand Film and Television Awards.

She’s had notable screen roles in Power RangersThe Almighty Johnsons and Cherry, and a major supporting role in the TV drama Filthy Rich.

Tang was cast in the highly-anticipated Australian comedy series The Letdown, her major Australian screen debut.

Michelle Ang

Michelle Ang is a film and TV actress currently based in New York City. She was born in Christchurch to Malaysian-Chinese parents, and did a double degree in law and chemistry at the Victoria University of Wellington.

Ang first made her name in New Zealand’s teen hit series Tribe and Xena: Warrior Princess. She is known for her work on the long-running Australian TV series Neighbours, where she was nominated for a Logie, and for her role in New Zealand’s Outrageous Fortune.

Ang won Best Actress (Feature) at the 2011 New Zealand Film and Television Awards for My Wedding and Other Secrets directed by Roseanne Liang.

Her international film work has screened across the globe, and she has won awards including those at Berlin and Sundance.

In 2016, Ang was nominated for an Emmy for her work on Fear the Walking Dead: Flight 462.

She has appeared in The Beaver directed by Jodie Foster, Big Momma’s HouseLike Father Like Son, and was the lead in the 2012 MTV scripted series Underemployed by Emmy-nominated writer Craig Wright.

She starred as the mother of Tui in the first season of the mini-television BBC series Top of the Lake directed by Oscar-winner Jane Campion.

Yoson An

China-born Yoson An immigrated to New Zealand at a young age. He worked in theatre, most notably with Proudly Asian Theatre, before breaking into the New Zealand screen industry in 2012 in the short film Death Note, followed by roles in Director Roseanne Liang’s hit webseries Flat3.

His first major feature role was in the local cult classic Ghost Bride, followed by roles in international films The MegMortal Engines, and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon 2.

Highlights in television include the HBO Asian miniseries Grace, and in 2017 he played the series lead Charlie in the new SBS crime-thriller Dead Lucky, opposite Rachel Griffiths.

It was announced this year that An would play the love interest in the big-budget Hollywood remake of Mulan directed by Nicki Caro.


JJ Fong

JJ Fong’s roles include Alice Lee in the New Zealand television show Go Girls, and Betty in Step Dave. In 2016, Fong was cast in the role of Filipino-New Zealander and cosmetic surgical nurse Ruby Florez on Shortland Street.

Fong co-owns the production company Flat3 with friends Roseanne Liang, Prelina Lau and Ally Xue, and is known for her role as Jessica in the web series Flat3Friday Night Bites and K-Road Stories.

Fong is currently in Hollywood following up roles in film, so watch this space.


Chye-Ling Huang

Chye-Ling Huang is a Chinese-Pākehā director, actor and writer. She co-founded the theatre company Proudly Asian Theatre (PAT) with Filipino-Kiwi actor James Roque in 2013.

Huang has produced and acted in PAT produced Black Tree Bridge and recently won Playmarket’s ‘Asian Ink’ for her ground-breaking new play Orientation, which challenges the desexualisation of Asian men.

Huang also directed Asian Men Talk About Sex, a Loading Docs short documentary which featured Yoson An.

Her play Call of the Sparrows (The Herald Theatre, 2016) was part of the Auckland Diversity Project Fund. Huang will direct Like Sex, by award-winning Chinese-New Zealander Nathan Joe at The Basement this year.

Credits include The Mooncake and The Kumara (Auckland Art’s Festival and tour), Call of The Sparrows (Herald Theatre), Find Me a Māori BrideThe Last Man on Earth is Trapped in a Supermarket (Q Theatre) *

The Asian Actors/Practitioners Hui

In October this year, the New Zealand Film Commission will be holding a hui focused on Asian actors and practitioners in the New Zealand film industry – similar to the event they held 18 months ago for their engagement with Māori communities.

Raymond Suen, the Commission’s Asia Outreach Executive, says the prospect for Asian talent is looking very positive.

“It’s fantastic to have such visible representation [on screen]. It’s important just to have visibility, it shows that the diversity policy is working.”

Suen sees the cultural intelligence quota exponentially rising with Asian-New Zealanders bringing their knowledge to the global film industry.

“They have an existing understanding of Kiwi culture. Having hands-on experience is valuable and often overlooked.”

– Asia Media Centre

Tickets are LIVE for Tide Waits For No Man - Auckland Fringe!

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Tide Waits For No Man comes to the Auckland Fringe Festival this Feb

After a stellar debut season at BATS in Wellington, Nikita Tu-Bryant’s transformative puppetry, physical theatre and shadow play theatre show comes to the Basement this summer in collaboration with SPOOKY ANTICS and Proudly Asian Theatre.

Telling the story of one woman’s quest to reconcile cultural patriarchy in her grandfathers passing, this show is non verbal and is suitable for hearing impaired and non English speakers.

Get your tickets here!

Tide Waits For No Man

Feb 19th - 23rd

Basement Theatre, 6.30pm

Starring and director by Nikita Tu-Bryant,

with Marianne Infante and Chye-Ling Huang

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“Tide Waits for No Man: Episode Grace stands out for its inventive use of different forms of dance and movement, shadow puppets and three-dimensional puppets in combination...it’s a triumph of this production that the different modes are woven together so seamlessly and skilfully." - Theatreview

Grimshaw Sargeson Fellowship announced - Chye-Ling Huang for two new drafts

“The next logical step, if you’re not seeing the work that you believe is valuable in the world, is to just make it yourself.”

Congratulation to PAT co-founder Chye-Ling Huang for receiving the 2019 Grimshaw Sargeson Fellowship

This distinguished literary fellowship allows Chye-Ling and fellow recipient Chloe Honum to share an annual stipend of $20,000 and a four-month tenure each at the Sargeson Centre in Auckland.

Chye-Ling Huang directing Fresh off the Page. Photo: John Rata

Chye-Ling Huang directing Fresh off the Page. Photo: John Rata

"There are a number of Asian playwrights making incredible work, but there’s so few of us you can never be fully satisfied with the narratives you see. I’m hungry to see the kind of work that represents myself and people like me. The next logical step, if you’re not seeing the work that you believe is valuable in the world, is to just make it yourself,” says Chye-Ling.

“The work I do with my theatre company, Proudly Asian Theatre, is essentially to dismantle stereotypes by providing platforms which accurately represent Asian people in New Zealand. A natural part of that is creating works that show the nuances of the Asian experience, with the end goal of making our industry much more inclusive while also changing people’s mindsets.”

She aims to complete the final draft of her play Black Tree Bridge – which was shown at the 2016 Auckland Arts festival RAW season, and start the first draft of a new play titled The New Temple, which will be based on queer Asian experiences.


Read the NZBC’s write up here!


Orientation wins the Hackman Cup at the Auckland Theatre Awards!!

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We are supremely honoured and incredibly stoked as the The Auckland Theatre Awards were announced this arvo!


Our Q Matchbox production Orientation is the winner of the Hackman Cup for Most Original Production!!

And - our amazing SM, producer for Fresh off the Page, performer in Tide Waits For No Man and first time playwright or PINAY Marianne Infante, and our incredibly talented production designer, set designer and costume designer Micheal McCabe were BOTH awarded Outstanding Newcomer award for 2018!


Thank you to everyone who has supported PAT and the team over this incredible year. Your votes and support make it clear that the work we create is necessary - here's to continuing to challenge stereotypes, empowering marginalised voices and making hot messes in 2019!

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THE TEAM OF ORIENTATION:

Kelly GilbrideNahyeon LeeNatasha Anthea LayRuby Reihana-WilsonKhalid ParkarMicheal McCabeEmi PogoniMarianne InfanteAlistair KwunChye-Ling HuangAhi KarunaharanCindy JangNatasha BunkallMayen MehtaMarwin Maui SilerioKyle ChuenEugene YaoPaul LewisJacqueline DrewCalvin SangLindsay YeeSacha Stejko

And special thanks to those who participated in our development workshops.


Check out the rest of the awards here:

https://www.facebook.com/aktheatreawards/



"Complex, personal, beautifully executed" - Theatrereview for Tide Waits For No Man

Nikita Tu-Bryant

Nikita Tu-Bryant

Tide Waits For No Man opened to a packed Wellington audience for a PAT first!

Thanks to Tim Stevenson from Theatereview for our first review of the season, running til Saturday 8th.

Check it out here or below!

Tickets here


INVENTIVE USE OF DANCE, MOVEMENT AND PUPPETRY

Review by Tim Stevenson


Complex, personal, beautifully executed and drawing on a rich and diverse palette, Tide Waits for No Man: Episode Grace presents a narrative about a young Taiwanese artist raised in Aotearoa grappling with the conflicting calls of love, self-realisation and traditional cultural imperatives. 

The conflicts which Grace (Nikita 雅涵 Tu-Bryant) must deal with are brought to a head by the death of her Ye-ye*, a patriarchal figure who will appear throughout the show in different guises - benign and protective, overbearing and hostile, even aggressive. We can guess that Grace’s Ye-ye also personifies the rule makers who lay down the expectations for women - ‘Clean’, ‘Silent’, ‘Calm’ - which break up the narrative into sections.

The complexity of the culture or cultures within which Grace is trying to live and grow is also mirrored in what we see on stage. What appear to be traditional Taiwanese/ Chinese elements come to the fore here, including the white costumes of the two mourners (Chye-Ling Huang, Marianne Infante) who also appear as part of the narrative, and the figure of Ye-ye himself. However, we are also shown contemporary/ traditional and old/ young divisions, and the show’s conclusion is expressed in part by Grace dressing in an outfit that integrates all elements.

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Tide Waits for No Man: Episode Grace uses a variety of theatrical modes to deliver its narrative, and it stands out for its inventive use of different forms of dance and movement, shadow puppets and three-dimensional puppets in combination. This approach means that the action on stage is constantly shifting in mode and also location, which makes for a more varied vocabulary but also places particular demands on the performers. It’s a triumph of this production that the different modes are woven together so seamlessly and skilfully.

This is a striking-looking show which demonstrates a keen sense of visual impact. The bridge / path projected on the backdrop in particular – like an image from a traditional Chinese silk painting – is both dramatically effective and beautiful. The first appearance of Ye-ye on stage (as opposed to on the backdrop) is a highlight.

The production has a very strong cast who have obviously worked hard and closely together to create a unified narrative out of so many moving parts.

Tu-Bryant’s performance is a tour de force: powerful, flexible, committed, expressive.

Huang and Infante display skill and versatility in their dual roles as mourner and puppeteer. Infante has also done the choreography, drawing on an impressive and eloquent range of styles.

Variety and cultural diversity are also a feature of the highly effective sound effects and musical accompaniment, designed by the versatile Tu-Bryant. 

Nikita Tu-Bryant, Chye-Ling Huang and Marianne Infante

Nikita Tu-Bryant, Chye-Ling Huang and Marianne Infante

The sound and lighting operators (Nic Cave-Lynch, lighting; Wendy Collings, sound) deserve the enthusiastic applause they receive at the end. A production like this, which switches modes so frequently, relies on technical effects being delivered dead on cue every time, and Cave-Lynch and Collings never drop a stitch. 
 - - - - - - - - - - |
*Google translates ‘Ye-ye’ as ‘grandpa’ in Mandarin. Your reviewer notes that Google doesn’t always get translations right and apologises for any offence given. 

Photo Credit: Kenneth Chapman

Mother tongues - Nikita Tu-Bryant's take on a bilingual upbringing

“How do you cross barriers, when words don’t exist in the other tongue?”

Artist, performer and first time director Nikita Tu-Bryant shares her story ahead of her debut non-dialogue show, Tide Waits For No man.

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Mandarin-Chinese was my mother tongue, and soon after English followed.
Growing up in a Taiwanese/Pakeha household, I witnessed the constant frustrations of trying to communicate clearly though English and Chinese translations.

It is hard enough communicating well with a common language. How do you cross barriers, when words don’t exist in the other tongue?

Recent years have seen me collaborate with many non-english speaking Asian Artists in Japan. There, we would have month-long workshops to create a full-length theatre piece, with our different Artistic skills combined - and no words.

This experience instilled hope in me, that despite cultural and language barriers, if given the space and time, we can all learn to communicate and connect with one another.

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Before captions for TV or film existed, I have memories of stop-starting English films and explaining the storyline to my mother. A decade later she is using words I don’t even know existed, but my habit of explaining storylines have remained - much to the annoyance of those who watch films with me.

My mother is the compass I have followed making this show. And though her English is well-beyond now, this is dedicated to all the mothers who are just beginning that journey.


Photos by Ankita Singh

Tide Waits For No Man performs at BATS Dec 4th - 8th.

Book here

Lights, Camera, Asians - NZCTA young associates forum

“Regardless of if we intend it, everything we create is political. The best thing we can do is to tell our stories truthfully and boldly and from the heart.”

The New Zealand China Trade Association hosted a forum for those keen to hear about how the everyday person can help ensure realistic representation of Asians in New Zealand media, and to see what young filmmakers are creating to represent themselves in NZ.

Nathan Joe, Chye-Ling Huang and Calvin Sang

Nathan Joe, Chye-Ling Huang and Calvin Sang

Calvin Sang and Mayen Mehta

Calvin Sang and Mayen Mehta

NZCTA Young Associates and Future Dragonz hosted panel discussion event "Lights, Camera, Asians!”, engaging in conversation with speakers Calvin Sang, Chye-Ling Huang, Mayen Mehta Nathan Joe and screening ‘The Han Chronicles’ and ‘Asian Men Talk About Sex’.

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Thank you to

the University of Auckland,

NZCTA Young associates

and Future Dragonz

CALLING ASIAN WRITERS! 2019 Fresh off the Page writers opportunity announced

A year of risk taking, creation and rising to the challenge

PINAY by Marianne Infante, the first FOTP commission in 2018

PINAY by Marianne Infante, the first FOTP commission in 2018


Proudly Asian Theatre is calling new, emerging and established Asian writers to submit your play ideas for our Fresh off the Page series in 2019!

Fresh off the Page launched in 2016 as an event to showcase Asian scripts, actors and directors in Aotearoa. For free and monthly at The Basement theatre, we pair emerging talent with experienced practitioners to connect, challenge and network, and put on a great night to celebrate  Asian work.

In 2019 we are dedicating the year to writers. Our ambitious programme will consist of 9 new theatre works - written by you!

Whether you have never written a script before, have a half finished idea or a dusty draft from years ago, we want to hear from you.

Chosen writers will be given a deadline to complete their play by (negotiated with writers), receive ongoing mentorship to complete the draft, and will have their script read aloud at public event Fresh off the Page with a team of actors and professional directors. Following the event, each writer will also receive a script assessment session with a dramaturg from Playmarket. 

Submit your idea, in whatever shape it’s in! Please include a short synopsis, a paragraph about why you want to make this work, your preferred month and your contact details.

Deadline for submissions: 

Due to a mis-print, our facebook release indicates deadlines were due on December 1st. We are happy to receive submissions for those who were misled on December 8th. Cheers!

Send to:

pattheatrecompany@gmail.com 


Proudly Supported by Playmarket

"I had to do it ready or not - you can't be afraid." - STUFF interview with Nikita Tu-Bryant

Thanks STUFF for the great interview!

Catch Tide Waits For No Man here!


Debut director explores cultural and identity

Matthew Tso for Stuff.co.nz

Photo: Ankita Singh

Photo: Ankita Singh

Grace director Nikita Tu-Bryant says the production explores a woman's grapple to reconcile different values from different parts of her life. The production also features Chye-Ling Huang and Marianne Infante.

Nikita Tu-Bryant's first foray into theatre directing started with a song.

Tide Waits for No Man: Grace comes five years after the Wellington based musician wrote and recorded a song about feelings she experienced following the death of a family member.

Tu-Bryant says the semi-autobiographical story explores cultural patriarchy and follows a Taiwanese-Kiwi, Grace, who grapples with her Yè-Ye's (Mandarin for grandfather) teachings in the face of her life in modern New Zealand.

While the story draws on distinctly Asian references, she believes it will strike a chord with a much wider audience.

People naturally discovered and adopted different values as their social circles expanded outside the family environment. Reconciling often conflicting sets of beliefs was not unique to any one set of people, Tu-Bryant said.

"It's a story about how we marry who we've become with where we've come from."

Tu-Bryant was relieved to be getting the production underway after years of writing and conceptualising the latest iteration of the story.

"Considering the time between the death of my family member and now ... with my music projects, I'm a real doer - I go out and do it straight away. 

Photo: Hayden Weal

Photo: Hayden Weal


"I turned 30 this year and had been writing for four years. I just knew as every year passed, I'd get more anxious. [Like the title says] 'Tide waits for no man,' I had to do it ready or not - you can't be afraid."

Working with the Auckland-based Proudly Asian Theatre, the production is being performed at Bats Theatre in Wellington in December.

It is the first of what Tu-Bryant hopes will be five instalments chronicling the grandfather's personality though the experience of different members of his family.

The production is "non-verbal" and will rely on choreographed movement, and shadow and object puppetry set to a backdrop of Tu-Bryant's music.

She did not want language to be a barrier for her audience. She wanted people like her mother, for whom English was her second language, to be able to understand the story. 

Tu-Bryant will be performing alongside Proudly Asian Theatre co-founders Chye-Ling Huang and Marianne Infante.

 Tide Waits for No Man: Grace will be performed at Bats Theatre, 1 Kent Tce, Mount Victoria, Wellington, from December 4-8. Tickets are available from the Bats website.







Beyond the D-word - The Future of Asian Representation discussed

Diversity is hot - but now what?

“A panel on diversity is like a panel on world peace. It should be seeking a time when we no longer need such panels. It should be a panel actively working towards its own irrelevance. The fact that we’re still having them not only means that we continue to fail, but the false sense of accomplishment in simply having one is deceiving us into thinking that something was tried.” - Marlon James

PAT and Basement attempted to answer the question at Basement Theatre at their regular event Unseen: Unsaid. A future focused discussion prompted by Basement’s 10 year anniversary kicked off talking about Asian representation across the industry - how far we've come and what we can do now to move forward. OG Asians and millennial practitioners just hitting their stride chatted with non-Asian people in positions of casting to find out where the blocks are and how we can remove them together. 

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Panelists:

Hweiling Ow

Ahi Karunaharan

Amanda Rees

Ankita Singh

Roseanne Liang

and host, Julie Zhu

Check out some of Julie’s notes and quotes from the evening to kick off your own discussion!

Being confined to the diversity brand

“Why do our published works tend to rehash the same handful of themes and, in particular, the theme of inter-generational conflict set against the backdrop of culture clash? The answer is, in part, connected to the commodification of literature, whereby the writing of an ethnic group becomes a genre (like chick-lit, detective fiction, thriller), and its writers find themselves constrained within the bounds of a brand – a formulaic and ultimately oppressive expectation.” - Kavita Bhanot

- The current trope in many Asian diaspora storytelling is about our relationship to assimilation, to whiteness. Has that become a trope that we are over now? Or do we need to keep rehashing new and alternative interpretations of it?

- It also still centres white people, therefore making them more comfortable or feeling relevant?

Privileged assimilated voices, who gets to speak and be represented?

“To focus only on numbers, to talk only about the need for a greater ‘diversity’ of writers in terms of background, is a limited and misleading approach. The real problem is not simply a monoculture but a mono-ideology, a mono-perspective.” - Kavita Bhanot

Intersectionality.

- Westernised, educated, middle-class voices with believable NZ accents are promoted above others.

- Chinese and East Asian privilege within 'Asian' spaces.

- Assimilation and the model minority, we are always striving to not be like ‘them’, we’re Asian but not Asian Asian, distancing ourselves from our more overtly Other parents perhaps, so that we can more easily and confidently and stealthily fit into mainstream white spaces.

- CRA described as essentially a white story but happens to be played by Asian people and that that is great. Is that the highest goal we want to strive for?

Academia and the elitism of the diversity conversation

Who is left out of the diversity conversation? Who does not even have the language to talk about these issues? E.g. older generations not exposed to this type of discourse, those too busy trying to survive to be able to indulge in learning discourse.

Criticism and the precariousness of criticism

Where is the room for criticism of work in our own communities? If there is so little room for success, for representation, must we be grateful and celebrate every small morsel we are thrown?

Representation and that desire to see ourselves represented, where is the room for systemic change, not seeing the word for the trees

At the moment the conversation around diversity still centres white people as the sun which we all revolve around. Diversity upholds white supremacy, how do we dismantle that? Can we?

- Ghassan Hage talks about diversity being like a multicultural fair where all the stalls of migrant cultures are neatly on display to be consumed by white people, it is there to serve their enrichment. How do we ensure our interactions with other groups who are not our own are not tokenistic? How do we create authentic relationships?

- Why are we still fighting to be part of the mainstream, are we upholding white supremacy by constantly asking to be let into the system and structure that continues to oppress us, what does decolonisation mean to you?

- Systemic change versus individual change. (Individual change looks like one of us getting funding.)



“I realised our differences are to be celebrated. And where you come from, your culture and its history, are incredibly important." Nikita Tu-Bryant talks to STUFF

Embracing the ‘uncool’ - Nikita Tu-Bryant is taking back her roots through performance

Following the launch of Tide Waits for No Man, creative and theatre maker Nikita Tu-Bryant talks to STUFF about her musical journey as a Taiwanese kiwi.

Read the full interview below or follow the link here!

Nikita performing in her band FLITE.

Nikita performing in her band FLITE.

'Made in Taiwan' may be a label attached to most electronics but it's also a phrase one Wellington performing artist proudly associates with.

Nikita Tu-Bryant's melodious voice has a haunting timbre akin to Kiwi chart topper Bic Runga and acoustics which have heads swaying . She's heading south for three intimate shows, including a stop in Golden Bay with Christchurch based singer-songwriter, Monique Aiken.

Tu-Bryant's main aim with her music is to make people "feel", she said.

"People will interpret your music through whatever lens or experience that are going through at the time.  A song about travelling, could be interpreted as a break-up song.  I believe feeling all feelings are important, be it sadness or joy."

Tu-Bryant's most recent single release was with her band 'Flite', producing music she described as an "atmospheric-funk/electro-pop hybrid". She has also released an album and EP with folk band, Spooky, while producing music as a solo artist.

Born in Taiwan and raised in Auckland by her Kiwi dad and Taiwanese mum, Tu-Bryant has been immersed in everything music since she was five-years-old when she began playing the violin. She said being a "little Asian kid wanting to fit in", she couldn't relate to the violin's classical music. 

"It was, to me at the time, very uncool."

At 12-years-old, her father bought her a guitar which brought with it the inspiration to write songs.

Nikita performing with FLITE.

Nikita performing with FLITE.

"It was the cool thing I got to do growing up in a pretty strict environment."

From there, her thirst for performing grew. The guitar allowed her to play in shows and at 16, she was playing in bars, followed closely behind by her parents. It later led her to study music in Wellington. Tu-Bryant struggled with her cultural diversity growing up, wanting to be more like her "white friends", but she said, now she embraced her oriental background.

"It wasn't until my twenties that I started using my Mandarin-Chinese name in my performing life (雅涵 - pronounced Ya-Han), and it wasn't until then that I started to show interest in music from the Orient.

"I realised our differences are to be celebrated. And where you come from, your culture and its history, are incredibly important." 

Tu-Bryant is taking her music back on the road after a four-year break, but those years weren't spent far from her passion - collaborating and performing with other artists while travelling overseas.

This time her travels are taking her closer to home and with one of her biggest inspirations and supporters in tow - her dad. 

"He's responsible for all the good music I used to listen to as a teen."

She said people who go to her shows should expect an "intimate event" and talking between songs. And when she's not performing her music, she's taking her talents to the theatre. Tu-Bryant has an upcoming debut show which she wrote, directed and is acting in called, Tide Waits for No Man: Episode Grace. 

"I call myself a performing artist because I tend to do everything. I write music, I write stories, I write poetry, I act, I paint ..."

And in between her creative projects, she takes to the sea to surf.


Get tickets to Tide Waits for no Man here:

https://nz.patronbase.com/_BATS/Productions/TIDE/Performances

PAT Chats: PINAY Playwright Marianne Infante


”I want people to feel love, to be hurt, uplifted and inspired.”

Marianne Infante is on the edge of the new - the first bilingual Filipino play to be written in New Zealand, and her first full length work. PAT’s challenge to write for Fresh off the Page is part of a new initiative to support Asian writers to create new works and step outside their creative fields.

Marianne, who began as PAT’s producer for Fresh off the Page, is a proud Filipino who moved to Christchurch at age 11, before moving to Auckland in 2014. Marianne gained a Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts degree graduating from Unitec in 2016 and has since multiplied her skills in the creative industry. Her theatre experiences include the Auckland Summer Shakespeare 2017's As You Like It, Emotional Creature (The Others Club) and Rumination (Simple Truth Theatre). As a stage manager she worked on BOYS with Auckland Theatre Company and TEMPO Dance Festival in 2017/2018.

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PAT sat down with Marianne to talk about her experience before unleashing PINAY on the world.

Catch PINAY October 17th at The Basement Studio, 8.30pm!

What inspired you to write this play?

I don’t think I can pin it to one inspiration. Many things inspired and motivated me to write this play. It’s been brewing for 2 years and then when all the WHY-DO-I-WANT-TO-WRITE-THIS reasons stacked up together, I got to a point this year when I knew I just HAD to get it out of my chest. Those reasons being: personal lessons and conflicts, appreciation for my culture, for my family, my parents hard-work and love, PAT fighting for representation, sheer lack of Filipino voice in all sector of NZ Arts community, and the fact that I knew I had a genuine story I was so passionate to share and communicate.

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What were the challenges you faced during the process?

Expressing and forming feelings into words, specifically scenarios that are so close to home. Writing out the pains and mistakes and fully realising those on the pages of my script; I avoided writing the hardest scenes till I just knew I had to, to finish the script. Another challenge for me was trusting myself as a writer. Trusting myself that the truth and story I have to share mattered.

What do you think makes a good story?

A story of truths. A story that explores the ugly and the complex. A story that activates the space and the people within it and engages people to think, question, maybe challenge and wonder.

How do you want people to feel at the end of your play?

I want people to feel love, to be hurt, uplifted and inspired by it. I want people to feel and understand one’s *malasakit at pagmamahal sa kapwa’t pamilya*

*Loose translation- selflessness/sacrifice/devotion/concern and love for fellow people and family.

‘Who’ did you write your play for?

I wrote this for any young adult who is having to; re-identify with themselves, dissect their multi-layered culture and re-evaluate the real importance and value of ‘love’ and ‘family’. I wrote this for the person I was last year and the year before.

What character was the easiest to write?

Mama. I have so much gratitude for her complexities and immense capability to love that I really enjoyed exploring her energy and essence.

Can you explain the ‘theatrical’ ideas/concepts utilized in the play that you describe?

I wanted to explore and stretch my story past dialogue and I have delved into movement, sound and music. Featuring my awe for Kapa Haka, Tinikling and love for Filipinos karaoke culture. Movement gives me the freedom to express what words can’t hold and moulds together the 3 different languages the character Alex engages with; English, Tagalog and Te Reo. It’s hard to fully translate from one language to another and to actually keep the essence and actual definition of the word just like the word ‘malasakit’ in the question above.  Regarding the musicality of the piece, for me music and singing is used when the emotions being communicated surpasses the dialogue; speaking no longer suffices.

Life is Easy - new series focussed on Asian and Queer characters funded by NZOA

“They thought they were woke…until they woke up in each other’s bodies.”

Chye-Ling Huang, Cole Jenkins and Ruby Reihana Wilson

Chye-Ling Huang, Cole Jenkins and Ruby Reihana Wilson

Congratulations to Chye-Ling Huang and Cole Jenkins, who are part of a series of new funded shows that push the boundaries of storytelling in 2019. Life is Easy, written by the pair, will feature an inclusive cast and crew of POC and diverse sexualities.

The media release from funding body NZ On Air released the good news this week, saying:

Life Is Easy, comes from the TVNZ New Blood initiative to support new storytellers. This body-swap comedy/drama series explores ideas of race, privilege and sexuality and is aimed at millennials. The lead characters are an Asian female and a gay male, bringing more diversity to our screens.

Writers Cole Jenkins and Chye-Ling Huang say they created the work to talk about race, sexuality and gender in a light hearted way. “In a nutshell, she’s Chinese, straight and female; he’s white, gay and male. Though they always thought they shared everything, their ideas about race, privilege and sexuality are challenged as they find themselves living each other’s lives with no way to escape.”

8 x 15minute episodes are expected to come out in late 2019.

Read the full release here!


"Orientation is a hugely significant work: sexy, smart, and not putting up with your shit." - New reviews!

"This play could not have cared less about perfectly crafted impeccable representations. On the contrary, the use of cultural symbols is trivial and bleak, seeking to blow mono-dimensional representations into pieces.” - Hainamana

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Thanks to Theatrescenes, Hainamana and Appetite for the Arts for their sizzling reviews of Orientation. Check em out below!


Theatrescenes:

http://www.theatrescenes.co.nz/scene-by-james-stars-sex-scares-and-sisters-auckland-does-nz-theatre-month/

Hainamana

http://www.hainamana.com/a-review-of-orientation-by-proudly-asian-theatre/

Appetite for the Arts

https://appetiteforthearts.com/2018/09/12/proudly-asian-theatre-orientation/


Orientation is on for two more nights at Q Theatre. Don’t miss it!

"Brash, sensual work a landmark for NZ stage" - two reviews for Orientation

"In the words of Orientation’s Thomas Pang, Asians are like vampires, their representations are never reflected in the media. However with the increasing visibility of Asian representation in the media right now, aided by projects such as Orientation, there really is no better time than now that you should be proud to be Asian."

Kyle Chuen in Orientation

Kyle Chuen in Orientation

Thank to the NZ Herald and Craccum for the first killer reviews of Orientation!

Check them out here:

NZ Herald

Craccum

Orientation is on this week until September 15th at Q Theatre.

 

Kickarts podcast - a poet, a playwright and a musician talk process and presentation

'We don't have to fight the fight, we're just telling a story” 

Dan Goodwin, Zoe Larsen Cumming, Chye-Ling Huang and host Richard Green

Dan Goodwin, Zoe Larsen Cumming, Chye-Ling Huang and host Richard Green

Musician and actor Zoe Larsen Cumming, poet and playwright Dan Goodwin and PAT's Chye-Ling Huang chat with Richard Green from Kickarts podcast about their art-making inspirations and process. Have a listen to the arty gossip here!