Renée Newman – Escape Velocity Walks the City: listening to the transgender and gender non-conforming teen experience


Renée Newman


Escape Velocity Walks the City: listening to the transgender and gender non-conforming teen experience 

Escape Velocity Walks the City took place 23 -26 October 2019 as part of the Future Echoes Festival in Melbourne, Australia. Created by Rosana Cade with Ivor MacAskill, Laurie Brown and St Martins Youth Theatre and based on the internationally acclaimed participatory solo walking performance Walking Holding by Cade, audience and performer walk and talk together through the inner city of Melbourne. Hand in hand with a group of transgender and gender non- conforming teens, the performance was still, often silent, generative and kind. The work was fragile and powerful, gently prodding the audience to listen deeper and harder, and with an open heart. Drawing on the notion of empathy as an “affective demand of care” (Caswell & Cifor, 2016, p. 30) this paper explores how this micro-performance was an exercise in intimacy and empathy; of listening, speaking, caring and truth-telling. Raising critical issues of visibility, safety and hope Escape Velocity Walks the City marked out the performativity of a city and its citizens. 

Renée Newman has been an educator, actor, writer, director and producer for nearly twenty years. She is a lecturer/researcher for WAAPA at ECU in Western Australia with research interests in arts and social justice, environmental and political arts based commentary/intervention and performance praxis/research nexus. She has published with Educational Philosophy Theory, Sustainability, Platform and Performance Research and has a chapter in the 2019 Routledge Companion to Theatre and Politics. 

S Anril Tiatco – Performance, Devotion, Gender: Figuring the Peñafrancia in the Bicol Region, Philippines


S Anril Tiatco

University of the Philippines

Performance, Devotion, Gender: Figuring the Peñafrancia in the Bicol Region, Philippines

The Festival of Our Lady of Peñafrancia is celebrated on a Sunday after the octave of 8 September. Housed at the Peñafrancia Basilica Minore, Peñafrancia is considered the patroness of the entire Philippine region of Bicol. In the presentation, the Peñafrancia is described as a theatricalized devotion where devotees are transformed into a frenzied ensemble that normalizes masculinity as a privileged norm. However, digging deeper into the festival’s peculiarity, the normalization of masculinity is only incidental because the gendering is argued to idealize and celebrate a figure of a woman. The idealization and celebration of the woman-figure is asserted to have a precolonial root. In the end, it is argued that the Peñafrancia is a manifestation of a cultural community in which the pre-colonial lifeways of its members are recuperated through expressive bodily movements. At the same time, the legacy of Hispanic Catholicism is problematized through the rearticulation of an indigenous past. This way, the community members of the Bicol region are called to participate in a decolonized future.

Keywords: cultural performance, Philippine Catholicism, panata, pre-colonial lifeways, surrogation, figuration

S Anril Tiatco is professor of theatre and performance at the University of the Philippines Diliman Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts. He is the author of Buhol-Buhol/Entanglement: Contemporary Theatre in the Metropolitan Manila (Peter Lang, 2017) and Cosmopolitanism, Theatre and the Philippines: Performing Community in a World of Strangers (UP Press, 2018), winner of the 2019 Alfonso Ongpin Best Book on Art given by the National Book Development Board and the Manila Critics Circle. He is also currently a member of the editorial associates of Contemporary Theatre Review and Humanities Diliman.

Sean Coyle – F**CK IT UP SIS: Representation and agency in the work of FAFSWAG collective


Sean Coyle

Victoria University of Wellington

F**CK IT UP SIS: Representation and agency in the work of FAFSWAG collective

This presentation explores how the Auckland-based Pasifika, queer, interdisciplinary art-performance collective FAFSWAG, through their diverse and radical body of work, have forged a new understanding of creative space making/taking which challenges the prevalent hegemonic art and theatre structures in Aotearoa. The queer spaces they birth and inhabit can be understood as counterpublics, a term made popular by Nancy Fraser and later Michael Warner. Counterpublics offer a space for disruption and resistance against the cultural, societal and institutional hierarchies they inhabit. 

One of FAFSWAG’s key principles is to invoke social change through creative practice by activating spaces that are cutting edge, culturally responsive and socially relevant. These spaces span multiple platforms including both digital and conventional (theatres, galleries, community centres, nightclubs etc) resulting in exhibitions, performances, vogue balls and talanoa (conversation). 

This presentation looks at the history and significance of this collective and how their kaupapa is reinventing a creative future for Aotearoa that is radical, queer and brown. 

Dr Sean Coyle is a performance designer, photographer and theatre lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington. He was previously Head of School at the Pacific Institute of Performing Arts (PIPA) in Auckland for 12 years. In 2018 he completed a PhD at the University of Tasmania where he also lectured in theatre. He has been a designer for theatre throughout New Zealand and Australia for nearly 30 years.