Multicultural Arts Victoria is supporting The Embassy—a collective of multi-disciplinary artists dedicated to assisting each other’s theatre collaborations and acting as cultural ambassadors for their communities.
The Embassy recently received a City of Melbourne arts grant and six-month residency at Boyd Studio in the heritage-listed former Boyd School.
MAV introduces the members of The Embassy—Suhasini Seelin, Wahibe Moussa, Shannan Lim and Vidya Rajan—and the projects they are working on during their residency, which will be presented later in the year.
The Boyd Studio has inspired Suhasini to explore the relationship between space, materials (what we choose to keep and what we throw out as waste), our identity, and the various emotional and physical ways they manifest in our lives. She is working towards a performance outcome that could include a play, a series of short films or an installation.
Suhasini Seelin is an actor, researcher and performance maker of Indian descent. She performs with various independent theatre companies and has been a part of festivals like Melbourne Fringe, Mapping Melbourne, Anywhere Theatre Festival, MTC NEON and Cybec Electric Readings. She was last seen in Godot: The Wait is Over at La Mama Theatre.
The Lives of Saints (working title) is Wahibe’s residency project that aims to explore the effects of localised violence and political chaos during civil war. Set in a chasm deep in the Valley of Saints in Lebanon’s Northern Mountains, it is about the choices people make during and after survival. This project is based on research into her family’s history, and knowledge and stories shared by the survivors of the Syrian Army’s invasion of Qnat village in 1982.
Wahibe Moussa is a Green Room Award winning stage and television actor, writer, community artist, and language and cultural consultant. Her fluency in the Lebanese dialect of Arabic and years of experience in liaison with diverse communities come to the fore during her time at Boyd Studio.
With his collaborators NORMAL CHILDREN, Shannan is developing a series of plays and screenplays that place Southeast Asian supernaturalism in inner-city Melbourne. He is currently working on Nenek, a story about spirit possession and a haunted mansion, drawing on his family’s indigenous traditions from West Sumatra.
Shannan Lim was born in Singapore. He lectured in film and digital media at the University of Western Australia, and has taught performance at RMIT University and City of Melbourne’s ArtPlay. Shannan received the New Director Award at Nice International Film Festival and two Melbourne Fringe Awards for Asian Ghost-ery Store and Salty.
During the residency, Vidya is developing live art that looks at the extinction and transmission of cultural knowledge, as well as comic projects for stage and screen inspired by women, bodies and the Internet.
Vidya Rajan is a writer, comic and performance-maker of Tamil descent, working across stage, screen and page. Recent works include Crocodiles, a completely unified history of you+me, Genesis, Asian Ghost-ery Store and Friendquest. A graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts, she practices and is interested in improvisation in performance. She has worked with Theatre Works, Lonely Company and ABC Comedy.
Image: Suhasini Seelin by Deep Golder; Wahibe Moussa by Shaun Herbertson; Shannan Lim by Yasi Peiris; Vidya Rajan by Jamie Breen.