Asian Australian Theatre

“Slanted Theatre” Aims To Bring More Opportunities and Visibility To Asian Aussie Actors And Stories

Established in 2021, by recent University of Sydney student Tiffany Wong, Slanted Theatre is all about building a community of Asian onstage actors and audiences.

Slanted Theatre Artistic Director Tiffany Wong

According to the Slanted Theatre website its aims are to:

  • Work with Asian casts & crews
  • Support emerging artists of all ages
  • Present relevant & interesting work
  • Eliminate tokenism
  • Improve representation
  • Create conversations
  • Explore diversity within the ‘Asian’ community

What a noble cause and very much needed considering Australian theatre is still pretty much white. Slanted Theatre has produced a number of shows since it was established in the Indy theatre arena, such as Ching Chong Chinaman by Asian American playwright Lauren Yee and Three Fat Virgins Unassembled by Singaporean playwright Ovidia Yu. Both very interesting plays and to an extent controversial, but having spoken with founder and Artistic Director Tiffany Wong, Slanted Theatre does want to be experimental and not just go with the flow.

Image from “Three Fat Virgins”

Wong also mentioned to Being Asian Australian in a recent interview that the Australian theatre space still lack Asian representation and visibility and that despite efforts to be more inclusive by the more mainstream Australian theatre companies, the Indy sector is still not there yet due to lack of resources, networks and funding.

I think a lot of theatre companies are trying harder to bring in more Asian and POC actors and stories, but predominantly it is still known as a white/Caucasian space. The more mainstream stage theatre companies are putting efforts to be more inclusive but it is difficult to see these efforts in the Indy sector because they are unfunded and usually hire friends or only work with people they are familiar with. This also makes it more difficult to work with culturally diverse and marginalised communities. The Australian onstage industry has always been homogenous and without changes this will only continue.

As mentioned earlier, Slanted Theatre has already produced a few plays. It has ended its run early in 2021 with Ching Chong Chinaman with its most recent play produced and performed is Three Fat Virgins Unassembled which ended its run earlier this month. Wong spoke about where the experience working on these plays has been awesome, it hasn’t come easy, and there were many learning curves gained;

Image from “Ching Chong Chinaman”

Producing and showing Three Fat Virgins Unassembled has been a huge step for us, and as up till now, I haven’t really worked in the professional theatre space, so I am actually learning on the job. Our team is majority all women of Asian background and our crew are all young and emerging. While all this has been awesome and fun, it has also been tricky as everyone was learning as they went. The pandemic didn’t make things any easier and everything including readings and actor development moved online.

Finally, we discussed how Asian Australians can help promote the work and visibility of Slanted Theatre. There is a Buy Me A Coffee page where supporters can become members for the cost of $2 a month. Also, Wong emphasises that the biggest help is to spread the word around about the shows and to come and join the audience.

Coming to watch our shows is probably the biggest support Asian Aussies can give us, as we are completely un-funded and work on a profit share basis. We also have a “Buy Me A Coffee” page where supporters can become members, and when we are not producing shows, we have readings and get together events where members are invited to join and for young and emerging Asian actors to keep connected in the network.

Slanted Theatre has some upcoming shows you can keep an eye out for : Lady Precious Stream for The Flying Nun at Brand X (an experimental work with traditional Chinese opera with contemporary Western theatrical traditions).

Images provided.

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