Theatre and Performance Studies Research Seminar: ARCADIA – School of Literature, Art and Media Theatre and Performance Studies Research Seminar: ARCADIA – School of Literature, Art and Media

Theatre and Performance Studies Research Seminar: ARCADIA

ARCADIA: Nigel Kellaway, Katia Molino, Michael Bell

…  a rare opportunity to hear seminal artists talk “around” their work and histories …

Long-time collaborators Dr Nigel Kellaway, Katia Molino and Michael Bell share 95 years’ experience in what is now described as “post-dramatic” practice.  In this seminar, they will reflect on particular creative strategies.

ARCADIA, under the umbrella of The opera Project, is their latest work-in-development.  A surprising dialogue unearthing details of their shared and independent experience, much never before revealed.  Memoirs on the edge … questionable historic authenticity … heaps to contemplate … and zero citations!

Arcadia, Utopia, the antique and idyllic vision, mythic splendor and harmony in a poetically shaped space … The Golden Age? … the unattainable?

The opera Project explores how physical notions of space and the abstract qualities more generally attributed to music (tempi, dynamics, durations) can provide the structural, narrative and aesthetic building blocks of a new theatre work. It considers how existing structures (vocal expressivity, linear narrative, etc.) limit the understanding and practice of theatre and impact the creation of new work. In asking if a work could be described as “operatic”, it reframes that question in terms of what might be described as a composer’s theatre, arguing a case for alternative strategies (extant and possible) to nineteenth-century models in the creation of a theatre that might be described as “post-operatic”, guided by recent theoretical engagements with contemporary theatre and the concept of ‘musicalization’.

As a composer of music Kellaway brings, with his collaborators, compositional concerns and skills to assembling textual, theatrical, choreographic, musical and visual elements in the theatre medium.

ARCADIA has been developed in 4 short residencies over the past nine months at the Bundanon Estate and the Department of Performance Studies, University of Sydney.  It is still very much a “work-in progress”, aspiring to completion and production in 2020.


NIGEL KELLAWAY (director, performer, composer, writer) In a career embracing his skills as an actor, director, dancer, musician and contemporary performance maker, Nigel’s initial professional performance training was in music (piano and composition) at the Universities of Melbourne and Adelaide.  He was the first Australian actor to train and perform in Japan with Tadashi Suzuki and hisSuzuki Company of Toga (1984-85).  Over 40 years, he has created more than 80 full-length theatre, dance and music works with companies including the Australian Dance Theatre, One Extra Company, at London’s Royal Court Theatre, the Song Company, the Sydney Theatre Company, Urban Theatre Projects, Stopera, Sidetrack Performance Group, Salamanca Arts Centre and for the Sydney, Adelaide and Perth Festivals.  He was a co-founder of the performance ensemble The Sydney Front (1987-1993), touring extensively within Australia and Europe, to the UK and Hong Kong.  In 1997 he co-founded with Annette Tesoriero The opera Project Inc., co-creating 13 major works with more than 70 artists over the past 22 years.  He served on the dance committee of the Australia Council (1993-96) and in 1997 was awarded the Rex Cramphorn Theatre Scholarship by the NSW Ministry for the Arts.  Kellaway has been a leader in the development of post-dramatic and hybrid performance practices in Australia over the past three decades, awarded in 2004 a senior artist’s Fellowship by the Theatre Board of the Australia Council and, in 2015, a Doctorate in Creative Arts from the University of Wollongong.  As artistic director of The opera Project, he also works widely as a freelance director, performer and mentor.

KATIA MOLINO (performer and co-creator) has a Bachelor of Creative Arts from Wollongong University, where she majored in movement and theatre.  She is a freelance performer who has worked with many different companies and individual artists for almost thirty years, including Entr’Acte Theatre, Stalker, Marugekku, Theatre Kantanka, The opera Project, Ensemble Offspring, Roslyn Oades, NORPA, Julie-Anne Long, Chiara Guidi and erth.  She has a longstanding professional relationship with Nigel Kellaway, having worked with him in; A MASTERPIECE OF TELEVISION, ORIENTALIA, EL INOCENTE, THE AUDIENCE AND OTHER PSYCHOPATHS, BRIEF SYNOPSIS and GLORIAS.  Most recently Katia performed in NORPA’s “Wildskin”, directed by Julian Louis and Theatre Kantanka’s “Obscene Madam D” directed by Carlos Gomes.  For Siteworks 2017 she and Michael Cohen created “An Intimate Soiree of Reading. For the Elucidation and Entertainment of Mature Persons Free of the Usual Prejudices Pertaining to All and Divers Aspects of the Birds and the Bees”.  In 2018 they performed it for Story Fest in The Rocks Sydney and in 2019, took it to Panama Festival in Tasmania. Katia has toured nationally and internationally, performing almost everywhere, from an underground Masonic car park to a windswept Dutch coastline.

 MICHAEL BELL (pianist and co-creator) began his tertiary piano studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with Gerard Willems in 1993, completing his Bachelor of Music Education with Honours in 1996.  During this time he gained experience in the fields of accompaniment and contemporary music performance.  In 1997 he received membership into the Golden Key National Honours Society and continued his piano studies at the Conservatorium with Willems, Stephanie McCallum, and David Miller with an emphasis on vocal and instrumental accompaniment. In 2001 he was awarded the Sonja Hanke Memorial Scholarship and completed his Diploma of Music Performance.  Michael has tutored in Piano & Chamber Music at the Conservatorium Open Academy, the Conservatorium High School, and St. Ignatius College Riverview.  Currently he is on staff full time as College Accompanist at St. Aloysius’ College, tutors piano privately and is an active freelance accompanist.  His previous collaborations with The opera Project have been TRISTAN (1999), ENTERTAINING PARADISE (2002), ANOTHER NIGHT: MEDEA (2003), SLEEPERS WAKE! (2007), THE RAMEAU PROJECT (2009), GLORIAS (2016) and SHOT IN THE DARK (2017).

Department of Theatre and Performance Studies
AV Room (S113), John Woolley Building, Manning Road
University of Sydney



Aug 09 2019


3:00 pm - 5:00 pm



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