Visiting the National Centre of Performing Arts in Beijing, China, Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley has announced Melbourne’s newest major arts event – Asia TOPA: Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts.
Mr Foley said the Andrews Labor Government’s contribution to the event would focus on commissioning new works by Victorian arts companies in collaboration with Asian partners, and on engaging a broad cross-section of the community.
“Asia TOPA is an exciting and ambitious program that will bring the best performing arts from across our region to Melbourne in 2017,” said Mr Foley. “It will provide an unprecedented immersion in the contemporary culture and creativity of the Asia Pacific – and a new major arts event for Australia’s creative capital.”
Mr Foley also announced the first international act on the Asia TOPA bill: the ground-breaking Chinese contemporary dance company Tao Ye Dance Theater – a highlight of Arts Centre Melbourne’s recent Supersense festival.
Asia TOPA is being developed and presented by a consortium of leading Victorian arts organisations and venues led by Arts Centre Melbourne. The program will be concentrated around the Southbank Arts Precinct with partners including The Australian Ballet, ACCA, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Theatre Company, Chunky Move, Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne Recital Centre, NGV, and the VCA, as well as ACMI, Federation Square, Museum Victoria and State Library Victoria. Asia TOPA will also partner with a wide range of Victoria’s independent artists and companies.
“We are thrilled that the Victorian Government is investing in this unique and innovative model designed to deliver great Asian-infused cultural experiences across all art forms,” says Claire Spencer, CEO Arts Centre Melbourne, on behalf of the Consortium. “We will achieve this by exploring new ways of working together, supporting international artistic partnerships and reaching new and diverse audiences.”
Minister Foley is in China with a delegation of Victorian Creative Industries leaders from across the arts, screen and design sectors. The visit follows the recent signing of a Cultural Partnership Agreement between Victoria and China, opening the doors for Victoria’s creative industries to forge new opportunities with Australia’s biggest trading partner.
The Labor Government is contributing $250,000 towards the program. Asia TOPA was initiated by the Sidney Myer Fund in partnership with Arts Centre Melbourne, which received a $2 million philanthropic grant to establish the program.
“Asia TOPA, presented through a pioneering consortium of major Victorian arts organisations, will be the first event of its kind,” says Carrillo Gantner AO, Chairman of the Sidney Myer Fund. “It represents an exciting opportunity to celebrate Australia’s place in our own rich and diverse neighbourhood. I hope this will be seen as the beginning, as the first of the Triennials.”
Asia TOPA: Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts will run from January to April 2017.
Image: Tao Ye Dance Theater – photo by Fan Xi