Announcing 2017 MTC CONNECT Ambassadors

MTC CONNECT is a partnership with Multicultural Arts Victoria that was established in 2014 to broaden the range of voices informing Melbourne Theatre Company’s theatre making and programming processes. It is part of MTC’s long-term goal to reflect Melbourne’s cultural diversity and to reduce the cultural myopia that has inhabited the theatre community in Australia.

A first for an Australian state theatre company, MTC CONNECT is a tailored program where theatre artists of diverse backgrounds act as cultural and artistic ambassadors, advocates and facilitators between MTC and their communities.

The program facilitates an open dialogue between MTC and the participants as they engage with the Company through individual masterclasses, one-on-one sessions, programming updates and debriefs from members of the MTC Artistic team, and longer-term initiatives.

The 2017 MTC CONNECT Ambassadors are:

Shannan Lim is a Melbourne-based multimedia artist and theatre-maker born in Singapore. He has lectured in film and digital media at the University of Western Australia and graduated with a Master of Design from RMIT. Shannan received the New Director Award at Nice International Film Festival, and a Melbourne Fringe Award as co-creator of comedic play ’Asian Ghost-ery Store’. Trained at The Second City and École Philippe Gaulier, Shannan is currently working on ‘Salty’, a performance that borrows from Singaporean-Malay supernatural tradition.

Wahibe Moussa is an award-winning performance maker, and writer. In 2007, Wahibe received the Green Room Award for her role as “Mahala” in Theatre @ Risk’s production of Tony Kushner’s Homebody/Kabul. In 2014 she was one of ten dramaturgy interns at Melbourne Theatre Company, a Playwriting Australia Fellowship initiative. Wahibe’s practice is informed by her own experiences as a migrant child, her collaborations with Refugee Artists, and a commitment to understanding Indigenous performance and story making practices. This is Wahibe’s directorial debut.

Vidya Rajan is a writer, performance-maker, improv performer and comic born in Australia to Indian parents. Originally from Perth, she now resides in Melbourne. Recent works include Asian Ghost-ery Store (Melbourne Fringe 2016 Innovation in Cultural Practice Award) and Friendquest (Perth Fringe World 2015 Best Theatre Award finalist). She is currently undertaking her Masters Writing for Performance at the VCA and is a recipient of the Wheeler Centre’s 2016 Hot Desk Fellowship.

Samah Sabawi is an Australian-Palestinian-Canadian wrtier, commentor, author and playwright. She has written and produced the plays Cries from the Land (2003) and Three Wishes (2008), both successfully received in Canada, and in 2014, Sabawi completed a sold-out season of the play Tales of a City by the Sea, which had an Arabic production by Al Rowwad Theatre in Palestine and an English production by La Mama Theatre in Melbourne, Australia. She is a policy advisor to the Palestinian policy network AlShabaka and a public advocate for Australians for Palestine. Samah is currently writing a PhD on diaspora studies, with particular reference to the Palestinian diaspora.

Originally from India, Suhasini Seelin came to Melbourne to study Film & TV. After working in short films, TVCs and corporate videos she was intrigued by theatre and portrayal of multicultural performances in Melbourne.  She has acted in varied pieces with strong texts like James Joyce -Bloomsday’s Yes, Yes, Yes!; and the Indian epic Mahabharata -Australia India Institute’s Mahabharata of Women. Coached and mentored by Exit Theatre’s Kristof Kaczmarek since 2013, she was part of MTC Neon Readings (2015); Exit Theatre’s poetry reading series with the Aussie screen legend John Wood, and Yumi Umiumare’s Luminous Lunas at Federation Square’s Light in Winter Festival. Her vision is to embody and present stories from around the world, making diversity mainstream.