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Festival Lab

A chance for emerging artists to be fully immersed in an international arts festival.

Festival Lab is an opportunity for emerging practitioners to get stuck into the big ideas in the Festival program, and to reflect on their own artistic practice within the context of our local and international arts environment.

An intensive program of events is created, responding to the Festival program and opportunities that arise to engage with artistic companies and visitors. This may include performances, discussions, or visits to closed sets or rehearsals.

Lab participants will also be invited to connect with the Festival team and key arts industry, providing insight into way a Festival is programmed and the context in which it operates.

Importantly, the Lab creates an opportunity to find community in the cohort itself, creating relationships with artists and practitioners from other disciplines, over an intensive period of discussion and discovery.

There are no outcomes associated with the Lab. This is an invitation to make space for contemplation and inquiry, and a vehicle for connecting with artists working in different ways – but not a skills development workshop.

Perth Festival Connect is Supported by the Ungar Family Foundation.

Image: Rebecca Mansell


Festival Lab 2019 Participants

Benjamin Bannan

Benjamin Bannan is a young artist and recent graduate from Curtin University’s Fine Art degree.  He represented Curtin in Hatched, the National Graduate exhibition at Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts in 2018, and has won several local art prizes. Bannan is a multidisciplinary artist working across sculpture, photography, printmaking and installation. Recently his work has centred on the interconnections between urban spaces and the built environment, and queer identity. Drawing on archival research, oral histories and personal narratives this research focuses on subjective experience and representation of male sexuality. This gendered framing of site-specific work aims to tackle greater narratives between ‘public and private’ and ‘shame and liberation’. 

Carolina Duca

Carolina is a Perth-based South American emerging artist. Her practice focuses on storytelling, performance art and community theatre. During Carolina’s teenage years in Argentina, she was involved in different community projects that helped her deal with traumatic experiences. Years later, that would motivate her to start her own projects in local disadvantaged communities. This was when Carolina realised that theatre was not only an effective tool for self-healing and social integration, but also a very powerful instrument to alter the dominant, often damaging, narratives of her country.

Now in Australia, Carolina has discovered a new passion for performance as a WAAPA student. In in the last two years she has participated in different local productions that include shows as part of the Bachelor of Performing Arts, Fringe Festival performances and the current development of a new installation art work with other  culturally and linguistically diverse artists. Carolina’s main goal during her training years is to be equipped with a skill set and a network that will allow her to create artistic projects that empower different cultural groups, and specifically the involvement of the Latin American community in the Perth artistic scene.

Daley King

Daley King is an eclectic, queer theatre-maker and stage manager; raised in Perth, he was born in New Zealand with Māori heritage.

Exploring the outer limits of performance through his personal experiences, Daley generates unpredictable and uncomfortable works in a celebration of chaos. Daley creates socially engaged performance works under the moniker Antifragile, including environmental satire TANK and thought-provoking introspection Hold Your Breath (Count To Ten). He has also written articles for SBS about his struggles with mental and neurological disorders. Brutally honest in his observations of the world, he fuels his writing and art with the darkest of humour and has been described as “rewriting the rule book”.

As a stage manager, Daley has worked on a multitude of independent shows at The Blue Room Theatre, including award-winning productions Between Solar Systems, Under This Sun, and Butt Kapinski. Fascinated with the machinations of technical theatre, he is currently in his final year at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. An enthusiastic autodidact and coffee drinker, he has an insatiable curiosity and thirst for knowledge.

Elizabeth Bills

Elizabeth Bills (she/they) lives on Wadjuk boodja (in Perth), her Mutter (mother) emigrated from Germany and her father is a fifth generation descendant of John Jacob, a colonial pastoralist who was part of the invasion, occupation and colonisation of the Kaurna nation (Adelaide). She is an emerging artist and currently working on a project looking at her family herstory and another project collecting meaning filled recipes from the people around her.

Elizabeth exhibited Tactile Tour at Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery for their inaugural Access Week in 2017, a subversive performance with Grace King revealing the often invisible privilege of sighted audiences in art institutions. The same year she curated For the Lonely exhibiting alongside seven other artists at PS Art Space. It was the first universally accessible exhibition to date in Western Australia. Her solo show Snakes and Ladders: A Catalog by a Receptionist was exhibited at Paper Mountain in 2016.

Evelyn Snook

Evelyn Snook is an emerging performance maker and interdisciplinary artist with a background in physical theatre and dance, training as a classical and contemporary dancer from a young age. Evelyn holds a Bachelor of Performing Arts (Performance Making) degree from WAAPA.

In 2018, Evelyn undertook two months of intensive training at the Intercultural Theatre Institute in Singapore studying Kutiyattam (a traditional Indian dance theatre form) under Gopalan Nair Venu.

Evelyn devised and performed in Work in Progress and The Painfully True Story of the Show We Couldn’t Make at The Blue Room Theatre for WAAPA’s 2018 TILT season. Evelyn is a founding member of stumble. a Perth-based collective of interdisciplinary artists, and in 2019 they are premiering a new solo work Dancing in the Driveway at Lady Beaufort for Fringe World. They are also part of collaboration of young artists developing Stuff That Helps, a durational performance piece at Cool Change Contemporary. 

Evelyn is inspired by dance, physical theatre, poetry, story-telling, intercultural theatre and their lived experience of mental illness and recovery. As a passionate advocate for self-care in the arts they are interested in how art can change lives for audiences and creators alike.

Jessica Russell

Jessica Russell is an emerging performance maker, dance artist, and director with a focus on the integration of movement into contemporary works and a passion for adaption and the collaborative theatre process.

All for The Blue Room Theatre, she has worked on Unveiling: Gay Sex for Endtimes, The Book of Life (Renegade Productions), iOTA in The Average Joe (The Kabuki Drop), Laika: A Staged Radio Play (Second Chance Theatre), Minus One Sister (SALT.), Hive Mind (Rorschach Beast), Blueprint (Sean Crofton, Jessica Russell & Phoebe Sullivan), and Arteries by Ancestry (FUGUE) for which she was awarded Best Marketing & Publicity. 

Jessica has also studied under STRUT Dance, Punchdrunk, and Force Majeure, and holds a Bachelor of Performing Arts (Performance Making) from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. Jessica was most recently invited to observe Ivo van Hove and the Internationaal Theater Amsterdam for their adaption of the critically acclaimed novel, A Little Life. 

In 2019, Jessica will undertake her Masters (Directing) at the WA Screen Academy. 

Liam Colgan

Liam Colgan is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Perth. Colgan’s work broadly investigates the fields of sexuality and queer theory in relation to art practice. Their work often deals with complex and unseen social codes within everyday life, drawing from their personal experiences as a queer person. Liam’s practice takes multiple forms including video, performance and installation. Through these media, they consider how individuals might challenge social power structures and navigate complex emotional and psychological states.

Since graduating in 2014, Colgan has shown in multiple exhibitions nationally including Hatched National Graduate Show at PICA (Perth); Passing/Parades at SUCCESS ARI (Fremantle); King Single/Expanded Queen at FELTSpace (Adelaide); Of All Others at First Draft Gallery (Sydney) and The TV Show at Wollongong Art Gallery (Wollongong). Colgan has participated in development programs and residencies at Vitalstatistix (Port Adelaide), Proximity Festival (Perth) and Cool Change Contemporary (Perth). More recently they have published a small text as part of the book Maybe It’s the Weather released in Perth/Glasgow and produced a curated playlist for Runway Australian Experimental Art’s online publication Conversations.

Sarah Chaffey

Independent dance artist Sarah Chaffey has collaboratively produced, choreographed and performed theatre and site-specific works with dance artists, composers and visual artists in Perth.

Sarah has presented work at the Perth and Melbourne Fringe Festival, winning the 2016 Overall Dance and Physical Theatre Award at the Perth Fringe World Festival with her collaborators. She has also been commissioned to choreograph short works for WAAPA and Joondalup Arts Festival, and has engaged in Perth’s annual site-specific dance program, In SITU, as a maker and performer since 2015. As a dancer, Sarah has performed works by both Australian and international artists including Helder Seabra, Tamas Moricz, Liegh Warren, Cadi McCarthy and Natalie Allen.

Sarah seeks to cultivate her choreographic and performance practice to develop works revealing the dance between movement and the voice in self-expression. Her current Master of Arts (Performing Arts) (ECU/WAAPA) research project, titled Voice in Motion, speaks to this interest in examining the integration of vocal fundamentals into contemporary dance practice. 

Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa

Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa is a first generation Australian Sikh spoken word artist, educator, performer & human rights reformer.

Sukhjit is passionate about diversity and the importance of visibility in the performing arts and inherently merges her advocacy background with the arts. Her work predominantly provokes conversations around Australian identity, feminism, cultural confusions, and the power of uncomfortable conversations. Within a short period, Sukhjit has gone from performing at the Opera House for the Australian Poetry Slam Competition in 2014 to performing on national television for Australia’s Got Talent, and most recently she was a speaker at TedxUWA. She has shared the stage with renowned artists such as Missy Higgins and L-FRESH the Lion and her performances and workshops have led her to tour USA, Canada, UK and South East Asia, as well as across our very own nation.

While working at Community Arts Network as a Project Coordinator, Sukhjit is also currently co-commissioned to write and perform ‘Fully Sikh’ with Barking Gecko Theatre Company and Black Swan State Theatre Company in Western Australia for their 2019 season.

Yvan Karlsson

Yvan Karlsson is a Director, Movement Director & Multi-Disciplinary Performer. He has trained with STEPS Youth Dance Company (2007-2014), Spare Parts Puppet Theatre (First Hand Program 2015), The Curious School of Puppetry (UK) & most recently Force Majure (INCITE).

Yvan has worked with Companies & Organisations including: Spare Parts Puppet Theatre (SPLAT! & Nobody Owns the Moon), Compagnie Royal De Luxe/PIAF (THE GIANTS), Circus MAXIMA (Fearless), Steamworks, Force Majure, In Soliloquy, Atticist & X+CO. Creator/Director credits include: Cool Bananas (600 Seconds/The Blue Room Theatre), Monkey Boy (SPPT/First Hand), Ophelia (FringeWorld 2016) & Player (In Situ/STCWA). Movement Director credits include: Deadly Dialogues (Edinburgh Fringe 2017), EAST (Atticist) & Confirmation (X+CO).

Yvan was selected for the Next Generation Programme Asia in Tokyo, completed a choreographic residency at Lizierés in France & is currently nominated for an ‘OFFIE’ (Off West End Theatre Award) for ‘Best Choreography/Movement’ for his work on EAST. Recently returned to Perth, Yvan is one of the co-creators for Circus MAXIMA’s CATCH! and will be presenting Death Wish for MicroMove in The Blue Room Theatre’s Summer Nights Program (Fringe World 2019).