Performing Arts Writer | ArtsHub | Friday 30th October 2015

Victorian artists will have opportunities to make new work with Asian partners as part of a new Asian arts festival

Tao Ye Dance Theater; image via

Chinese contemporary dance company Tao Ye Dance Theater have been announced as the headline act of a four-month long, international arts festival, to be held in Melbourne in 2017. The festival, announced today, will be held in Melbourne from January to April 2017.

Known as Asia TOPA: Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts, the new festival will run from January to April 2017.

The announcement was made today by Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley, during a visit to the National Centre of Performing Arts in Beijing.

‘Asia TOPA is an exciting and ambitious program that will bring the best performing arts from across our region to Melbourne in 2017. 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,’ the Minister 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, the Minister added.

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.

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.

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.

Chairman of the Sidney Myer Fund, Carrillo Gantner AO, said ‘Asia TOPA, presented through a pioneering consortium of major Victorian arts organisations, will be the first event of its kind. 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.’

Speaking on behalf of the Consortium of organisations which will present Asia TOPA, Claire Spencer, CEO of Arts Centre Melbourne, said: ‘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. We will achieve this by exploring new ways of working together, supporting international artistic partnerships and reaching new and diverse audiences.’

Asia TOPA will run from January to April 2017.

IMAGE CREDIT: image via