CAAP Artist Lab

CAAP Artist Lab Sydney January 2023

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Contemporary Asian Australian Performance (CAAP), joins forces again with Sydney Theatre Company, Belvoir St Theatre, Griffin Theatre Company and the Institute of Australian and Chinese Arts and Culture (IAC) at Western Sydney University to continue the support and development of Asian Australian performance practice. 

Seventeen artists from a range of disciplines gather over five days between January - February to learn, experiment, challenge, upskill and develop new ideas and strengthen collaborations. Artist Lab aims to tailor its program to the creative aspirations of the participants by providing tools and resources to apply to their ongoing artistic practice. This initiative adds to CAAP’s suite of skills and sector development programs such as the CAAP Directors Initiative and the LOTUS Playwriting Project. 

The Lab participants are Aileen Huyhn, Andrew Undi Lee, Frieda Lee, Gary Paramanathan, Happy Feraren, Idam Sondhi, Jennifer Rani, Jordan Shea, Mayu Iwasaki, Michael Toisuta, Michelle Lim Davidson, Michelle Ny, Nicole W. Lee, Nicole Pingon, Ryuichi Fujimura, Sammy Jing and Shy Magsalin.

CAAP’s Artistic Director Tessa Leong said:

“These 17 artists are inquisitive and talented and bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to Artist Lab 2.0. We are thrilled to partner again with the Institute of Australian and Chinese Arts and Culture, Sydney Theatre Company, Belvoir and Griffin to provide necessary scaffolding for Asian Australian artists to make new work and be more connected to the wider performing arts sector. What a joy to spend this intensive alongside industry experts having essential conversations about the nuances and diversity of Asian Australian performance.”

STC’s Artistic Director Kip Williams added: 

“STC has been a proud partner of CAAP since 2016 and we're excited to work with the new leadership team - Tessa Leong and Sandi Woo - in welcoming the latest cohort of Artist Lab participants into the Company in 2023. Most recently we have had the privilege of working with the brilliantly talented Tasnim Hossain, Kenneth Moraleda, Jennifer Rani and Courtney Stewart as a part of the CAAP Directors Initiative. This is such an exciting time for Asian Australian performance and we can’t wait to witness the many exciting works that will emerge from this latest collaboration."

Belvoir's Artistic Director Eamon Flack said: 

“One of the big ideas that drives Belvoir St Theatre is theatre made by, with and for the many different communities that make up our city and our country. We can’t do that alone, it takes a big and varied community of artists and companies, and CAAP is one of the truly outstanding champions of artists and stories. We’re honoured to work with CAAP and with this brilliant team of artists.” 

Griffin Theatre Company Artistic Director Declan Greene noted:

“As Australia’s only theatre company exclusively dedicated to new Australian plays, it’s so important for the stories on our stage to reflect the full breadth and scope of this country’s identity –which means building deep connections with the people best equipped to tell those stories. For this reason, and many others, I’m so excited to work with the exceptional group of artists and storytellers CAAP has assembled for Artist Lab, and to keep the conversations bubbling long after it finishes.”

Professor Jing Han, Director of the Australian and Chinese Arts and Culture (IAC) said:

“The Institute for Australian and Chinese Arts and Culture (IAC) is delighted to once again host the CAAP Artist Lab in January 2023. As a national hub and resource centre for arts and cultural exchange between Australia, the Sinosphere and Asia, IAC is pleased to provide a collaborative space in which Asian Australian artists may learn, experiment, devise and develop new performance ideas and processes. IAC Director Prof Jing Han (translation and subtitling) and Research Fellow Dr Nicholas Ng (music) will contribute to the lab by drawing from their own creative and professional practices.”


The CAAP Artist Lab 2023

The CAAP Artist Lab Sydney is a five-day intensive program split over two sessoins held at IAC Western Sydney Parramatta South CAmpus and at Sydney Theatre Company. The schedule will involve various workshops and discussions tailored to participants.

The Lab will be facilitated by Darren Yap and he states: 

Darren Yap

 “I’m a fourth generation Chinese Australian and have been working in the theatre for over 30 years now. I’ve been lucky enough to direct and collaborate in a whole range of different styles of theatre: plays, musicals and large-scale events. I have worked here, Singapore, Korea, Dubai and Japan. I’m thrilled to be facilitating CAAP’s Artist Lab week. I look forward being in the room with these wonderful and diverse art practitioners.”

Returning with Darren is Co-Facilitator/Co-Coordinator Kenneth Moraleda (Actor, Director and Writer). Kenneth is assisted by Natasha Pontoh-Supit (Writer and Stage Manager) as Co-Coordinator. 


Kenneth Moraleda Natasha Pontoh Supit
Kenneth Moraleda Natasha Pontoh-Supit

The Artists

Ten of the inaugural 2020 Artist Lab original participants are joined by seven new artists selected from a statewide callout to form the 2023 cohort.

Aileen Huynh AILEEN HUYNH 
Aileen is an acting graduate from WAAPA. She was last treading the boards with Ensemble for Vanessa Bate’s world premiere of THE ONE.
Andrew Undi Lee

Andrew Undi Lee is a queer, Australian-born Korean director, writer, producer and production designer.

Frieda has a Bachelor of Performing Arts from WAAPA, a Bachelor of Arts/Laws, a Master of Human Rights and is currently writing a PhD with UNSW and Australian Plays Transform. Frieda is the Policy Advisor for the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia.
Gary Paramanathan

Gary Paramanathan works at the intersection of arts, culture and community. Gary is passionate about migrant and diaspora storytelling and hopes to add to the rich tapestry of diverse Australian storytelling through his work

Happy Feraren

Happy is a Sydney-based Filipino actor, improviser and trainer with 11 years’ experience across over 500 shows including in Manila, Sydney, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, Chicago and New York.


Idam Sondhi

Idam Sondhi is an actor and a creative arts enthusiast. Idam grew up in Auckland, New Zealand and has been residing in Sydney for four years.

Jennifer Rani

An accomplished creative working as an actor, director and creative producer Jennifer works primarily with new Australian writing and writers, to contribute to the shifting landscape of the ‘Australian’ story on our stages.


Jordan Shea

Jordan Shea is a Filipino-Australian writer for stage and screen. His work has been recognised international, by the Australian Theatre Festival in NYC, and nationally, working with both mainstage theatre companies and across the independent sector in Sydney.

Mayu Iwasaki

Hailing from Japan, Mayu is an actor bilingual in Japanese and English, puppeteer and theatremaker based in Sydney. She is an inaugural creative associate of Monkey Baa Theatre Company since 2020, where she wrote an original puppet show “Little Bozu and Kon Kon” based on Japanese folklore.


Michael Toisuta

Since the first CAAP Artist Lab, Michael has been co-director of Perahu-Perahu (CAAP) at OzAsia Festival 2021 and Sydney Festival 2022, co-writer on Stan Original and Screentime Australia series Bali 2002, sound designer on Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (STC) and composer and sound designer on Ate Lovia (Kwento / Red Line) and Top Coat (STC).

Michelle Lim Davidson

Michelle graduated from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in 2010 and has since worked extensively in Theatre, TV & Film. She is also an emerging writer for television and stage.

Michelle Ny

Michelle Ny is a Khmer-New Zealand screen director, producer and performance artist living on Gadigal Land, Sydney. 

Nicole W. Lee

Nicole W. Lee is a poet and playwright from Sydney. Since her participation in the original CAAP Artist lab in 2020, Nicole took up the position of Marian St Theatre for Young People’s Writer in Residence where her intercultural, intergenerational theatre show The Red Dust  had its world premiere at Ku-Ring-Gai Town Hall in July 2022.

Nicole Pingon

Nicole Pingon (she/they) is a multidisciplinary artist, theatre maker and artist facilitator working across live performance, installation and digital mediums. Expanding across and between mediums, Nicole's practice tends to be collaborative, curiosity-led, and process-driven.

Rychui Fujimura

Ryuichi Fujimura is an independent dance artist based in Sydney. Since the mid 1990’s, he has studied contemporary dance technique as well as improvisation and choreography in Australia and overseas.

Samuel Jing

Sammy Jing is an emerging Chinese/Australian director, screenwriter, producer, critic and researcher from Hong Kong. He holds a Masters of Directing from NIDA and a Bachelor of Theatre Studies (Honours) from the University of British Columbia, and was the inaugural recipient of the Jerry Wasserman Scholarship.

Shy Magsalin


Shy Magsalin is a theatre-maker, director, performer, physical dramaturg and intimacy director living and working across the lands of the Gagidal, Wallumettagal and Darug peoples. She is the Artistic Director of the ensemble Ninefold whose works are known to be intense, precise and imaginatively rich.


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For further information, please contact:

Sandi Woo Executive Producer  
M: +61 418 900 288

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The CAAP Artist Lab is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW.