Festival Lab

Immerse yourself in the heart of the Festival

Festival Lab is an opportunity for emerging practitioners from across disciplines to get stuck into the big ideas in the Festival program, and to reflect on their own artistic practice.

About this opportunity

Festival staff curate an intensive program of events for the Lab, responding to the Festival and opportunities that arise to engage with companies and artists. This may include performances, discussions, workshops, gallery tours and attendance at rehearsals.

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

Perth Festival 2021 is locally focussed, a celebration of the artists and companies making work on Noongar boodjar. Through the Lab, participants will be invited to connect with local arts industry representatives and the Festival team, providing insight into the way a Festival is programmed and the context in which it operates.

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 program.

Applications for Festival Lab 2021 have now closed.

2021 Festival Lab Participants

Annika Moses Festival lab 2021

Annika Moses

Annika Moses is an emerging sound artist working on Whadjuk Noongar boodja, in Boorloo (Perth) Western Australia. Her creative practice is a sprawling affair, writing and performing under various monikers including the alt-folk act Nika Mo and the elusive weird-pop persona Great Statue, as well as writing ensemble and radiophonic works under her full name. Since 2016, Annika has participated in the Perth arts community as an independent organiser and curator, as co-director of local label Tone List, and as a member of the Difficult Listening collective on community radio station RTRFM 92.1. In 2020, Annika completed a Bachelor of Music: Honours (WAAPA), majoring in Composition and Music Technology, and studying experimental radio arts with a feminist musicology focus.


Asha Kiani Festival lab 2021

Asha Kiani

Asha Kiani is a performer, theatre maker, storyteller, musician and Teacher. Born and raised by her Indian father and Irish mother on Wardandi Nyungar country, Asha draws inspiration from the diverse threads that weave her identity. Asha has been involved in story telling projects with The Centre for Stories and Perth Festival and in 2019 helped devise and perform in Saga Sisterhood, a transformative performance project for South Asian women. In January 2020, Asha wrote and performed her debut solo piece Drift and received the most audience votes for Best of (The Blue Room Theatre, 600 Seconds, Perth Fringe World Festival). In June 2020, Asha co-founded the Second Generation Collective with local Video Artist Elham Eshraghian-Haakansson as part of Community Arts Network’s Lotterywest Dream Plan Do program. Asha and Elham are working with the local Iranian - Australian community, to curate stories of displacement, migration, home, and identity for a multi-modal exhibition in March 2021. Inspired by her work with this community, Asha has written and will perform Avarehآواره  & Found at The Blue Room Theatre in 2021. Currently, Asha works as a Teaching Artist for Barking Gecko Theatre Company and on the production team for The Dirty Mother by Michelle Hall (nominated Best Theatre, Melbourne Fringe 2020). She is also a member of Women of Music Production Perth (WOMPP) and is writing and producing her debut EP. Asha pursues the ‘untold stories’ around her and seeks to connect with audiences via authenticity, empathy, vulnerability and humour.

Azariah Felton Festival Lab 2021

Azariah Felton

Azariah Felton is a composer and sound artist, who creates both electronic and instrumental music in a range of genres. He is interested in sonic texture and timbre, and its equivalents in other media, particularly physicality in dance. He draws from wide-ranging influences: popular styles including metal, jazz, and ambient music, and ‘art’ styles such as postminimalism and electroacoustic music. His works have been performed at La Biennale di Venezia Danza (2018), the Montpellier Dance Festival (2018), the Kuala Lumpur International Composers’ Series (2017), and in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. He is a graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, and is currently studying a master’s degree at the California Institute of the Arts, supported by a Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship. He grew up all over Western Australia, from Denmark to the Kimberley, and remains a country kid at heart. Azariah lives and works in Boorloo (Perth), on Whadjuk Nyoongar Boodja.

Charlotte Otton Festival Lab 2021

Charlotte Otton

Charlotte is a multi-award-winning artist hailing from Sydney and based in Perth. A Performing Arts WAAPA graduate, Charlotte has also trained in improvisation at iO Chicago and Second City (NY).
Her first show Let me finish. garnered both Judges Choice and Members choice (The Blue Room Theatre Awards), sold out its three-week run and had an in-demand 2019 return FRINGE WORLD season. Her following solo work Feminah won five major Fringe awards, three of which took her to Melbourne, Sydney, and New Zealand Fringe Festivals. Feminah was nominated for Best Theatre (Melb) and Outstanding Solo Performance (NZ). In 2020 Charlotte won the PAWA award for Best Actor (Female) for her work in Feminah

Charlotte has been privileged enough to perform in productions and developments with The Last Great Hunt (Perpetual Wake), SPPT (Carnival of The Animals), Rorschach Beast (Hive Mind and French Over), Variegated Productions (Frankie’s), PICA and PVI Collective (Kiss Club), and Renegade Productions (Renegade Church). She is also an ensemble member of the improvised comedy troupe The Big Hoo Haa.
Charlotte’s latest collaborative work, 30 Day Free Trial took home the Blaz Award at FRINGE WORLD 2020. Charlotte feels extremely lucky to be part of the 2021 Perth Festival Lab! 


Courtney Cavallaro Headshot Festival lab 2021

Courtney Cavallaro

Courtney is a performance-maker and storyteller who recently completed WAAPA’s Bachelor of Performing Arts (Performance Making major). Since making the move to study in Boorloo on Whadjuk Noongar boodja, she has been seen kicking goals across WA stages in Sara DeLappe’s The Wolves (The Blue Room Theatre’s Best Production award winner, PAWA award winner), performing in the Martin Sims Award nominated work BITE ME (Fringe World Weekly Award winner) and hosting pvi collective’s Disobedience Rules: The Beer O’Clock Edition. During her time at WAAPA, she performed her solo Good Morning at PICA and was a devisor and performer for the site-specific work And the first time I was very much afraid at East Perth Girls School. She also completed the 2020 season of TILT, a culmination of her WAAPA studies, where she played the central role inHell on Earth and debuted as a director and dramaturg in Dishonourable Women. When she’s not practising her chav accent for her role in What Of It as part of Fringe 2021, you can catch her roller skating (read: falling) in preparation for her role in Ugly Virgins, debuting at The Blue Room Theatre in 2021.

Elham Eshraghian-Haakansson Festival Lab 2021

Elham Eshraghian-Haakansson

Elham Eshraghian-Haakansson (Perth, 1996) is a Bahá’í Video Artist, exploring the Iranian diaspora within the Australian community. She examines the inter-generational dialogue between the first generation (those who were displaced as a result of the 1979 Iranian Revolution) and second generation (children of those displaced) in an attempt to understand her familial history and duality. Eshraghian-Haakansson’s art expresses this through the affective poetic space of installation art and aesthetic devices of choreographed performance and archival documentation, she acknowledges and uncovers the emotional impact felt by first generation refugees. Eshraghian-Haakansson is co-founder of the Second Generation Collective alongside co-founder Performance Artist & Musician Asha Kiani. Eshraghian-Haakansson is currently continuing her research at the university, whilst involved in major projects set to exhibit in the coming year including the Community Arts Network Lotterywest, Avareh & found by the Second Generation Collective, supported by Propel Youth Arts WA & Centre for Stories. She is co-producing the live performance created by Asha Kiani, for the 900s Summer Nights Program at the Blue Room Theatre. Eshraghian-Haakansson's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, receiving multiple awards for her art. She was a recipient of one of Western Australia’s most prestigious art prizes, the Invitation Art Prize for her work ‘face to face’ (2020). She is currently engaging with community art-based practices, uncovering connections based on trust, custodianship and shared artistic language, advocating for communal and self-care.

Headshot Shenali Perera Festival Lab 2021

Shenali Perera

Shenali Perera is a writer, storyteller, visual scribe and social-design facilitator. Born in Sri Lanka, she moved to Wadjuk Nyungar country with her family at the age of thirteen. She remains connected to her home-country and briefly returned to Sri Lanka to work as a teacher and journalist. She is also a contributing author to Write to Reconcile III: an anthology by young writers of Sri Lankan heritage exploring post-war Sri Lanka, and has performed as a storyteller at various events hosted by local organisations in Perth, such as the Centre for Stories, Perth Festival and Youth Affairs Council of Western Australia. Currently, she works for the Young Boxing Woman Project and supports Danjoo Koorliny Walking Together, an Aboriginal Elder-led long term social impact project, through the Centre for Social Impact UWA. She is passionate about imbuing creativity and connection at the heart of her work and loves food, art, language and dancing.


Rachael Woodward festival lab 2021

Rachael Woodward

Rachael is a theatre maker, performer, puppeteer and teaching artist who describes herself as neuro-diverse. Her work is often visually based, working with images to explore a story. She developed her own show Valentine which was presented at AWESOME Arts Festival 2018 and 2020. As well as creating her own work for ASSITEJ Next Generation Asia, Melbourne’s Festival of Puppetry, and ATYP’s Fresh Ink Program, Rachael has worked with companies such as The Last Great Hunt, Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, and Sensorium Theatre. She has a Bachelor in Performance Making from WAAPA and has trained at Bont’s International Clown School. Rachael is passionate about making work with and for young people, engaging communities through art, and making accessible art. As a teaching artist she has worked with young people in regional schools through AWESOME’s Creative Challenge Program, and taught through DADAA and Barking Gecko Theatre. Rachael aims to ignite an audience’s creativity, and imagination by empowering youthful curiosity and playfulness.


Rebecca Jensen Festival Lab 2021

Rebecca Jensen

Born in Canada in 1993, Rebecca Jensen migrated to Australia in the late 90’s. Coming from several generations of migrants, Jensen adopted an affinity with language, heritage and their respective roles within immigration politics; this interest is now a central concern of her emerging practice. Rebecca graduated with a Bachelor of Contemporary Arts from Edith Cowan University in 2016. In 2017 she was awarded an Australian Government New Colombo Grant to participate in overseas study and concluded an eight-month research project on Shanghai's Blind Date Corner culminating in her second solo exhibition Heaven Won't Throw You a Meat Pie 天上不会掉馅饼. Jensen’s practice is multidisciplinary and often employs text. At its most whimsical her work uses language to explore the everyday through humorous & often cynical haikus. In its more serious iterations her work investigates social phenomenon in both the Australian and Chinese context. Since 2018, Jensen has undertaken residencies locally and abroad, continued her Chinese language study and has most recently begun cultivating an emerging curatorial practice.


Nathan Gardiner Festival Lab 2021

Nathan Gardiner

"His installations and styling work have appeared at GTM Bunbury, Tree St Art Safari, WA Day, Captivate Capel and Blooming Arts. Nathan’s work invokes the pure joy and happiness found in bright colours and over the top styling. It’s hard to leave Nathan’s work without a smile on your face.’’ Dee Mosca 

In 2019 Nathan was in PVI’s Bunbury tour of Deviator, a cardboard clad performing artist for Everyday Superhero by Tanya Lee & Alex Desbrock with Maybe Together and Barking Gecko Theatre and since then Facilitating ‘Young Voices’ for Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre where Nathan has been named In House Artist 2021. After Perth Festival Lab, he'll be appearing as an artist for Vahri McKenzie’s Colour Me Beautiful at Bunbury Regional Arts Gallery 


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