Tales of a City by the Sea: Malaysia 2017 Creative Team

In collaboration with KuAsh Theatre Malaysia, our award winning Australian production Tales of a City by the Sea is pleased to announce its first Malaysian tour January 2017.

Our creatives come from diverse backgrounds including Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Palestine, Malta, Malaysia, Thailand, Italy, Bengal, India, Chile and the UK. We have people of various faiths including the Muslim, Jewish and Christian faiths. Our play is a celebration of the power of inclusivity and a testimony to breaking down cultural and racial barriers!

Playwright Samah Sabawi

SamahSabawiSamah Sabawi is an award winning poet and playwright.  Her play Tales Of A City By The Sea (Currency Press 2016) enjoyed a sold-out premiere season at La Mama in 2014, a second sold out season in 2016 and was staged to full houses and standing ovations at Sydney’s Casula Powerhouse and Adelaide’s Bakhouse Theatre in 2016.  Its Arabic premiere was staged at Alrowwad’s Cultural Theater Society in Palestine in 2014. Tales of a City by the Sea was selected for the 2016 VCE Drama Playlist and has won two Drama Victoria awards for best new Australian publication for VCE And best performance by a theatre company for VCE.  Sabawi’s poems feature in WITH OUR EYES WIDE OPEN  (West End Press 2014) and  GAZA UNSILENCED  (Just World Books 2015) amongst other poetry books.  She is co-editor of Double Exposure: Plays of the Jewish and Palestinian Diasporas for the Playwrights Canada Press. Her most recent book I Remember My Name, edited by Vacy Vlazna and co-authored with poets Ramzy Baroud and Jehan Bseiso (Novum 2016)  won the 2016 Palestine Book Awards creative category.  Samah is a policy analyst for Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian policy network . She has been named cultural ambassador for the Melbourne Theatre Company and Multicultural Arts Victoria’s 2017 MTC-CONNECT program and is a PhD candidate and recipient of the Australian Post Graduate Award at Victoria University.

Original Direction Lech Mackiewicz

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Lech Mackiewicz is a Polish director, playwright, and actor. He formed Auto Da Fe Theatre Company in Sydney in 1987. He specialises in creating intercultural collaborative performance, having directed theatre in Poland, Japan, China, Korea, and Australia. Lech’s directing credits include: Felliniana (Belvoir St Theatre); King Lear (Playbox Theatre); Kafka Tanczy (Teatr Zydowski); Beckett in Circles (Suzuki Company of Toga); An Oak Tree (Teatr Wegierki); The Hour Before My Brother Dies (Teatr Jaracza); and Everyman and the Pole Dancers (Metanoia Theatre). He is a graduate of the National Academy of Theatrical Arts (PWST) in Cracow, and the University of Technology Sydney.

Director Wahibe Moussa

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Wahibe Moussa is an award-winning performance maker, and writer. In 2007, Wahibe received the Green Room Award for her role as “Mahala” in Theatre @ Risk’s production of Tony Kushner’s Homebody/Kabul. In 2014 she was one of ten dramaturgy interns at Melbourne Theatre Company, a Playwriting Australia Fellowship initiative. Wahibe’s practice is informed by her own experiences as a migrant child, her collaborations with Refugee Artists, and a commitment to understanding Indigenous performance and story making practices. This is Wahibe’s directorial debut.

Producer and Set Designer Lara Week

Lara WeekLara Week is a designer for performance and creative producer. Her design credits include: NaGL: Not a Good Look (Metanoia Theatre), Between Heaven and Her (La Mama Theatre), and The Conference of the Birds (Centre for Cultural Partnerships). Since 2011, she has been associate producer for Tribal Soul Arts, producing decolonial arts programs and performances in Africa, Europe, and Australia. She is dedicated to creating spaces where people with different skills and perspectives can share ideas and produce work together.

Production and Stage Manager Max Schollar-Root

head shot.jpgFrom his roots in The Australian Theatre for Young People and the NSW Performing Arts Unit State Drama Ensemble, Max Schollar-Root found his passion in musical performance and composition while studying at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. He works as a band leader with Ungus Ungus Ungus, a theatrical and multi-modal performance project combining live music, technology, and dance, presenting nationally at large-scale festivals. As a Registered Music Therapist trained at The Melbourne Conservatorium of Music he runs early childhood music programs and works with adults with intellectual disabilities.

Lighting Design Shane Grant

Shane GrantShane Grant has been Audio Visual Technician for St Kevin’s College for the past nine years. Previously, he was Production Manager with Strange Fruit and Technical Manager at Gasworks Theatre. Shane is an accomplished lighting designer having worked extensively with companies like Ranters Theatre, The Torch Project, NYID, La Mama and many others. Shane has a BA Dramatic Arts (Production) VCA from 1994. He sits on the Green Room Awards Association Theatre Companies Panel. Shane is currently an artistic director at Metanoia Theatre and the Technical Manager of the Mechanics Institute theatre in Brunswick.

Helana Sawires – Jomana

Helana SawiresFrom a large, creative Egyptian family, Helana Sawires has always lived within the realm of the arts. Early on Helana developed a love for percussion, very much influenced by her father. Since graduating from Newtown High School of the Performing Arts (2011), Helana’s projects include: Short and Sweet Theatre Festival; Banana Boy (upcoming short); and W.O.W Casula Kid’s Festival (storyteller/drumming workshop). Helana landed her first major film role in 2015 in Ali’s Wedding (Matchbox Pictures). She was accepted into the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in NYC (2014), completing a Chekhov Intensive Course, which further influenced her unique expression across all forms of art.

Osamah Sami – Rami

Osamah SamiOsamah Sami is a failed cricketer and a struggling Muslim. His memoir Good Muslim Boy was Highly Commended at the Victorian Premiere’s Literary Awards. He also co-wrote Ali’s Wedding, Australia’s first Muslim Rom-Com, and co-created the Web Series Two Refugees and a Blonde. Lead roles in films include Ali’s Wedding, Journey, 10 Terrorists! and Saved. TV roles include: Kick, East West 101, Rush, Sea Patrol, City Homicide and Jack Irish. He has performed at Belvoir St, MTC, La Mama and a dozen independent houses. His role as “Amor” in MTC’s I Call My Brothers earned him a Green Room nomination for Best Lead Actor.

Emina Ashman – Lama

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Emina is a Malaysian-Australian actor and theatre-maker currently based in Melbourne. She is a 2014 acting graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts. Her VCA credits include: Julie Bishop in Lucky Country (as part of VCA’s FRISK Festival (Melbourne Fringe 2014), Lizard Woman in Plus Sign Attached (dir. Maude Davey), Irina in The Three Sisters (dir. Melanie Beddie), The Fox in The Little Prince (dir. Angus Templeton). Other theatre credits outside VCA include Antonia D’Agostino in Bock Kills Her Father (dir. Penny Harpham, La Mama Theatre), Lama in Tales of a City by the Sea (dir. Wahibe Moussa, La Mama Courthouse, Bakehouse Theatre) and The Girl in Roberto Zucco (La Mama Theatre, Alliance Francaise Melbourne). She has recently completed a creative writing diploma, specialising in writing for theatre and poetry.

Majid Shokor -Abu Ahmad 

Majid Screen Shot 2016-11-25 at 2.21.49 pm.pnghas been acting for over 30 years. He also directed whilst teaching drama in Lebanon for four years and written his own works. He has won many awards in his home country of Iraq and has been a member of the Iraqi National Theatre Company, and was a long-time member of the Iraqi Theatre Artists Syndicate. Since arriving in Australia in September 2001, Majid has appeared in many plays in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide including, Kan Yama Kan directed by Robin Laurie. Getting in directed by Jean-Pierre Mignon, Subclass26A directed by Bagryana Popov at 45 Downstaires for which he got Green Room Best Actor Award nomination 2005, Between Heaven and Her, directed by Lech Mackiewicz at LaMam, Homebody /Kabul by Tony Kushner directed by Chris Bendal, Theatre@ risk company, Tales of A City By The Sea, Directed by Lech Mackiewicz at LaMama and The Cove season, 8 short plays by Daniel Keen and directed by Matt Scholton presented at the Dog Theatre, for which he got another Green Room Best Actor Award nomination 2009. Majid was also seen at Belvoir St Theatre in The Cool Room which was presented by Performing Lines and In Our Name, a play Written and directed by Nigel Jamieson and was presented by company B.  His screen credits include an actor and cultural consultant in the feature films Ali’s Wedding and Lucky Miles and guest roles in City Homicide and Rush channel 7 & 9.  Majid has also made a documentary film with Marsha Emerman about Iraqi music called, On The Banks Of The Tigris, which was screened in many international films festivals around the world and won many awards including Best Documentary Film at Baghdad International Film Festival in 2015.  Majid holds a Master degree in Community Cultural Development with honor degree from Victorian Collage of the Arts VCA / Melbourne University.

Reece Vella – Ali

Reece VellaReece Vella graduated from The Actors College of Theatre and Television in Sydney (2010) and has been acting professionally for the past six years. Check out his Star now if you are into name-dropping. He harbours a passion for new, eccentric and challenging work. Since moving to Melbourne, Reece’s stage credits include: Everyman and The Pole Dancers; Tales of a City by the Sea; Between Heaven and Her; and most recently Night Sings Its Songs. Reece is elated and moved that a remount of Tales of a City by the Sea has taken life, confirming his everlasting hope in stories of humanity.

Rebecca Morton – Samira

Rebecca Morton

Rebecca Morton has been singing and acting all around Australia for longer than she cares to admit, from opera to music theatre to Shakespeare and Noel Coward with state theatre companies. She writes and tours highly portable, one act music theatre shows, and recently joined Alchemy 7, a group of artists who create a fusion of sculpture and song. She is also working with a new company, RAPt, which connects people through theatre. She is absolutely delighted and proud to be part of this very exciting and important play.

Cara Whitehouse – Multiple Roles

Cara WhitehouseClassically trained, Cara Whitehouse has played roles in children’s puppetry to the Greeks, working in Melbourne and Singapore. Recent work includes Tales of a City by the Sea (La Mama 2014), Remember M with innātum Theatre, The Woman in the Window, and “Elektra” in The Oresteia. Cara’s film work includes multiple shorts with a web series in development. A certified Fitzmaurice Voicework teacher, Cara’s training encompasses Conservatory Actor training at Lasalle College of the Arts Singapore, Knight-Thompson speech work (NYC) and continued training at the Howard Fine Acting Studio.

Ubaldino Mantelli – Multiple Roles

Ubaldino Mantelli

Ubaldino was in the 2014 Melbourne premiere of Tales… at La Mama in Melbourne as well as the 2016 remount and tour. He’s played major theatrical roles in the Geelong region, including performing for the National Trust and in the ensemble-devised Daylight Savings, led by James Pratt. Ubaldino trained under Kerreen Ely-Harper, Stephen Costan, Jenny Lovell, Danielle Carter, Karen Davitt and Nicky Fearn in the VCA Acting Studio 12. He’s been a producer, presenter and performer on community radio. In 2016, Ubaldino was in the short film Sick Home as well as Broun’s War/Kiss for PlaySix Festival and Laurence Strangio’s adaptation of Duras’ Destroy, She Said for La Mama Explorations in Melbourne.

Tria Aziz – Singer

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A multi-award winning singer and entertainer, Tria has been performing on the musical stage for 12 years. She has been in more than 20 productions, performing mostly English Musicals. Some of her memorable performances include “DanSing” Thru Broadway, “Kurang Manis”, “Adam The Musical”, “Shout The Mod Musical”, “1Sex 1Money 1Scandal”, “The Edge” (for which she won the BOH Cameronian Arts Award for Best Musical Performer 2014), “The Wizard of Oz”, “Aladdin A Musical Comedy” and most recently, “One Thousand Million Smiles, A Musical Tribute to Sudirman ~ Asia’s Best Performer”. In 2007, she sung a soundtrack for a local award-winning Malaysian movie “Waris Jari Hantu”. She also lends her voice for various Malaysian cartoon dubbing projects, most of which have been aired on Astro. Tales of a City by the Sea will be her first international production venture in which she will be singing in Arabic, also a first for this multi-talented artist.

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