Upcoming Event: Stories East & West
Belvoir Street Theatre, Sydney, 01 - 13 February 2011
Evan Kanarakis

For those of our readers in Sydney, Australia, this February 1-13 as part of the City of Sydney’s Chinese New Year Festival, the ‘COOLie Asian Australian Performance Event’ will be taking place over two weeks in conjunction with Performance 4a and Belvoir at the Belvoir St Downstairs Theatre, Surry Hills.

While the entire festival promises to be a varied, colorful spectacular featuring song, dance, cabaret and stories, one event that we wanted to highlight in this, our annual literary issue is Stories East & West, directed by William Yang and Annette Shun Wah.

Australia is, of course, a country with a rich multicultural heritage. Yet while the bulk of attention can often seem preoccupied on the nation’s Anglo and European roots, the history, influence and impact of Asian migration on Australia has been just as important.

While not every story will be exactly the same, whether Greek, Chinese, African, Hungarian, Indian -or connected to any one of the many other nationalities that have enriched the Australian landscape- several experiences are often shared. Cultural isolation, a sense of disconnect, familial conflict over competing new and ‘old world’ ancestral values and the at times struggle to establish an Australian identity while also maintaining a connection to ones heritage are commonly expressed themes.

Stories East & West represents a valuable insight into the experiences of six Asian-Australian storytellers, drawn from their roots in China, Vietnam, Malaysia and India.

Director William Yang is an acclaimed artist noted for combining his talents as a writer and visual artist into monologues accompanied by image projections and music that make for compelling theatre. This production itself grew from a series of workshops conducted by Yang. His fellow director, the fourth-generation Chinese Australian Annette Shun Wah is familiar to many Australians as an established writer, actor, director and producer.

Stories East & West takes place at the Belvoir Downstairs Theatre 1 February - 13 February. Tickets are $35/conc $28. For more information visit: