Hu木an – A Singaporean Collaboration To Premiere In Perth

As we know, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought international touring to a complete standstill until recently. So it is with great excitement that Performing Lines WA welcomed their Singaporean collaborators on Noongar Country last week for the premiere of Huan, one of the first in-person international collaborations to resume in Perth since the borders have re-opened.

The Australian premiere season has been co-produced by Performing Lines WA and The Artground. It will be presented at the WA Museum Boola Bardip as part of the AWESOME Festival, 26 Sept – 1 Oct, 2022.

The project has been made possible through the generous support from the WA Museum and the Australian Government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the AWESOME Festival.

Hu木an (which means forest in Malay and 木<mu> is the Chinese character for ‘wood’) is a partnership between the National Museum of Singapore, Sensorium Theatre (Australia), and The Artground (Singapore), exploring ways to make heritage accessible to children with disability through the arts.

The live performance is based on the Museum’s William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings, which comprises 477 drawings of the flora and fauna of the Malay Peninsula in the early 19th century.

This project was initially brokered by Performing Lines WA and commenced in 2019. The National Museum of Singapore and The Artground invited Sensorium Theatre to share their internationally renowned multi-sensory theatre making methodology and build capacity in Singapore to make meaningful theatre experiences for children living with disability.

The collaboration demonstrates the value and strength of Australia-Singapore relationships through the arts, and has resulted in Hutana sensory-friendly adventure in an interactive rainforest. At the heart of this work is a desire for inclusion, and a celebration of diversity. Hutan offers a unique model to make the Museums’ collections more meaningful, fun, engaging and accessible to all children.

In the magical Huan, young explorers are invited to feel the textured leaves with their toes and fingertips, smell the exotic flowers, play hide-and-seek with Hornbill, spot Owl in the moonlit canopy, and help Kingfisher look after her eggs. In this enchanting performance even a passing rain shower brings a surprise visit from the cheeky Gibbons with a mayhem-filled picnic of yummy tropical fruits for all their new friends.

The creative process has been highly collaborative and we are delighted with the (tropical) fruits of our collective labour. It has been such a privilege to work with exceptional Singaporean artists and learn more about Singapore and its rich history and culture.”

shared Sensorium co-Artistic Directors Michelle Hovane and Francis Italiano

The evolving pandemic situation, however, unfortunately disrupted their initial plans to present the performance to children with special needs in Singapore, and to subsequently tour the performance in Australia. While international borders remained closed, the artists continued to engage with each other online. In 2022, Sensorium was finally able to return to Singapore and complete the development stages of the performance and the transfer of skills.

It has been a great pleasure for Performing Lines WA to broker and hold this special relationship between The Artground, Sensorium Theatre and our other project partners. We have paused, pivoted and piloted – but are thrilled to now see this project flourish in person on Singaporean and Australian soil. Cross-cultural connection and collaboration remain as important now more than ever in our arts and creative industries.”

Performing Lines WA Senior Producer, Jeremy Smith says

Dates and times: 26 Sept – 1 Oct, 10am & 1.30pm

Venue: WA Museum Boola Bardip

Price: $15.50 (includes 1x Child + 1x Adult/Carer)

Duration: 50min

Booking and info

Images by Marvin Tang

In everything we do, we acknowledge that we live on Aboriginal land and constantly learn from the wisdom of First Peoples.

Where we are and the history that precedes us informs how we work and how we move forward.