Kolyang Program

In response to the widespread cancellations of performing arts events caused by the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Performing Lines WA (PLWA) partnered with independent artists and producers to create the Kolyang Creative Hub and Artist Lab. These initiatives, which ran from 2020 to 2022, aimed to provide flexible, artist-led spaces and opportunities for the performing arts community to come together without the pressure of performance outcomes.

The Kolyang program is many things.
t is artist-led and artist responsive.
It offers space to think and explore.
It is emergent and evolving.
It is a space for experimenting with practice, processes and models.
It weaves the collective industry together.
It’s about advocacy.
It’s about self-determination.
It’s about making us stronger for the future. 

Evaluation and impact study

The Australian Government’s Australia Council for the Arts supported PLWA’s efforts by funding an evaluation and impact study of the Kolyang Program, the findings of which have been shared with the broader performing arts sector across the nation. The study’s key resources include a detailed 44-page report and the two highlight reels below.

The Kolyang Creative Hub

The Kolyang Creative Hub is a three-week responsive program facilitating interdisciplinary artistic practice sharing, creative developments, panels and conversations.

The Creative Hub aims to:

  • Bring artists and industry heads together
  • Provide time and space to reflect, question, learn and share.
  • Create a future-focused site for breaking down silos and knowledge-sharing within the sector.
  • Foster critical thinking and develop innovative new ways of working.

The Kolyang Artist Lab

Held in conjunction with or close proximity to the Creative Hub, the Kolyang Artist Lab is a creative environment for WA emerging and early-career artists with diverse lived experiences to explore ideas, build new relationships and unpack performance-making processes.

The Artist Lab aims to:

  • Bring a cohort of emerging and early-career artists with diverse lived experiences together and connect them with artform allies and mentors.
  • Provide time and space to explore ideas, build new relationships and unpack performance-making processes.
  • Support innovative new ways of working.



While Kolyang adjusted the scope and focus over the three years in response to feedback and sector issues, a similar methodology was used:

  • An open expression of interest inviting mid-career and established artists and producers from Western Australia, including Perth metro and regional areas, to apply.
  • An Artist Advisory Group to help select and support participants and shape the program.
  • No fixed outcomes were expected – participation and learning were central.
  • Participants were paid.
  • Artist-led, with each year having a focus on one aspect of cultural diversity, equity and inclusion.

Kolyang has radically transformed the ecology of the sector, accelerating the pace of changes that are needed.

Participant 2020 and 2021.

Curated Public Program


A public program of practice-sharing workshops, industry discussions and provocations from the Hub participants and arts leaders was curated each year to encourage open access to our artistic community. 

Check out our podcast list featuring some of our 2021 & 2022 provocations.

Sector conversations


A key focus of Kolyang in 2021 was to strengthen the sector by engaging in sector-wide discussions and bold conversations, and collectively suggest actions to make our industry better and more cohesive. 

> Read 2021 Kolyang Sector conversation report

At A Glance


Across the three years, 2020 to 2022, the Kolyang Program:

  • Designed, facilitated and presented 73 sessions (workshops, practice-sharing, cohort conversations, public sessions etc) to 1,256 participants and attendees.
  • Had 163 paid independent artists and art-workers in the Kolyang cohorts.
  • Engaged 1,682 people across the public programs.
  • Partnered with 21 Western Australian arts organisations.

It reminds me to stay open to new artists, artforms and ideas. It got me out of comfort zone to just be around other artists without the pressure of having to create something. To just be.

Mararo Wangai, participant 2020.

Artist Advisory

An Artist Advisory was established in 2021 to ensure the program was artist-led and responsive.  In 2022, former member Mel Cantwell was joined by four new artists representing a diverse pool of skills and experience, including Bruno Booth, Daisy Sanders, Janine Oxenham and Ella Hetherington as our 2022 Associate Producer. 

Melissa Cantwell

Writer and Director

Bruno Booth

Contemporary Artist

Janine Oxenham


Daisy Sanders

Dance and Multidisciplinary Artist


Produced by
Performing Lines WA

2022 Artist Advisory
Melissa Cantwell
Bruno Booth
Daisy Sanders
Janine Oxenham

2022 Associate Producer
Ella Hetherington

Information for Presenters

Jeremy Smith Senior Producer

Project Partners & Acknowledgements

The 2020 program was funded by Lotterywest through its COVID Relief Fund, while the 2021 and 2022 editions were funded by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries’ Strategic Initiatives programs.

A range of partner organisations also supported the program both financially and with in-kind support across the three-year arch, which contributed significantly to the delivery of both the Kolyang Artist Lab and Creative Hub, and allowed the number of artists in the Hub cohort to grow.

This includes:


  • CircuitWest
  • Subiaco Arts Centre / Perth Theatre Trust
  • The Blue Room Theatre


  • CircuitWest
  • Subiaco Arts Centre / Perth Theatre Trust
  • The Blue Room Theatre
  • Co3 Contemporary Dance
  • My Place WA
  • Perth Festival
  • STRUT Dance
  • Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company
  • CircuitWest
  • Black Swan State Theatre Company
  • Perth Symphony Orchestra
  • WA Opera
  • The Last Great Hunt
  • Barking Gecko
  • Sensorium Theatre
  • Spare Parts Puppet Theatre
  • Perth Institute of Contemporary Art
  • Tura Music


  • CircuitWest
  • Subiaco Arts Centre / Arts and Culture Trust
  • The Blue Room Theatre
  • Co3 Contemporary Dance
  • My Place WA
  • Perth Festival
  • STRUT Dance
  • Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company
  • PICA
  • Black Swan State Theatre Company


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.