What is cultural performance?

What is cultural performance and why is it important? 

We are thankful that our Inspire performers are assisted and supported by ExitLeft Performance Academy. Our performers offer a wide and varied range of performance types and each artist’s performance is influenced by their own culture and background. So across our performers you can witness a wide range of spectacular diversity. We spoke to Ian Williams, the Managing and Artistic Director at ExitLeft Performance Academy, the performance company that trains our Inspire performers and helps them to become ‘stage ready’.

Interview with Ian Williams of Exit Left Performance Academy

  1. What is cultural performance?“For me cultural performance is about sharing ideas and breaking down barriers. Through sharing cultural performance, the overarching concepts of community and respect bring people together.”
  1. How would you define cultural performance?“I’d define cultural performance as a ‘celebration of diversity and tradition’.”
  2. Why is it important to you that more Tasmanians get to see and experience cultural performance first hand?“For me the more that we can share and understand each other’s culture – it just will lead to a happier and more harmonious society where all of us have the opportunity to be respected but also for the opportunity for us to be understood. I feel that cultural performance is one of the best ways for us to share and appreciate that diversity and not be afraid of it.”
  3. What is the most memorable cultural performance you have ever seen?“The most exciting cultural performance I’ve witnessed was when I was producing Hobart’s Carols by Candlelight. I was fortunate enough to have the Stoic Buddhists with us performing their lion dance. We had 200 children holding candles while the choir sang a Buddhist chant in Chinese. They then shared the lion dance in the dark to 10,000 people at Christmas, it’s possibly the most moving things I’ve seen. That sense of sharing and connection was almost tangible.It didn’t matter what your background was – we were all able to celebrate that together and it was incredibly moving. I wasn’t expecting to be so moved by it so it was a great surprise – an incredibly uplifting experience. It was the reaction of Hobart to that performance that really stays with me. At the start when the chant started the whole crowd which was boisterous and unruly to start with was suddenly calm and fully engaged. This moment of calm came over everyone and then that huge lion dance rocketed out of the calm and brought the crowd into a frenzy. The crowd erupted and went wild with applause and gratitude afterwards. It was truly overwhelming. I love my job because I get to experience moments like that one.”

Thank you Ian for your time and insight from the Inspire team and the Migrant Resource Centre Tasmania. Photo taken from The Tasmanian Chinese Buddhist Academy of Australia – https://www.tascbaa.org/single-post/2016/12/19/2016-Carols-by-Candlelight.

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