Press Releases

Hungry Ghosts

16 Apr 2018

Hungry Ghosts is a new Australian work by Jean Tong starring Emina Ashman, Jing-Xuan Chan and Bernard Sam that offers an unconventional take on contemporary life as it crisscrosses between the fate of flight MH370, Malaysia’s billion-dollar 1MDB scandal, and explorations of identity.

Filled with humour, vivid imagery and rebellious energy, Hungry Ghosts promises to be a haunting theatrical experience when it premieres at Southbank Theatre, The Lawler on Saturday 5 May under the direction of Petra Kalive (Melbourne Talam).

Petra Kalive said, ‘Hungry Ghosts is a new and ambitious Australian play about finding your place in the world, and what enables or disables your ability to speak. It gives voice to those who understand what it is to ‘not quite fit’ somewhere, to be ‘ghosts’, neither belonging to their country of origin nor their new home.’

The MH370 disaster. Malaysia’s billion-dollar 1MDB scandal. These two events had international ramifications, but for our unnamed protagonist, they were earth-shattering. When you’re a young, queer Chinese-Malaysian Australian, how do work out where you belong in the world?

Hungry Ghosts forms part of MTC’s 2018 Education season. Following its world premiere in Melbourne, Hungry Ghosts will tour around Victoria and Tasmania as part of MTC’s annual regional tour.

Jean Tong is a Melbourne-based writer and director known for her politically irreverent works about cultural identification, societal inequality and otherness. Jean’s previous work includes macdeath: a coda, TERRORISM, and Romeo is Not the Only Fruit. She has also presented at the Emerging Writers’ Festival and published in Peril Magazine. She is currently completing a Master of Writing for Performance at the Victorian College of the Arts.

Petra Kalive is Artistic Director of Union House Theatre at the University of Melbourne Student Union. Previously for MTC Education, Petra directed Melbourne Talam and Beached, as well as In the Kingdom of Cha for Cybec Electric and was Assistant Director on Constellations. Petra has also directed plays for fortyfivedownstairs (Taxhiti), La Mama, Arena Theatre Company, Complete Works, St Martins Youth Arts Centre and Monash and Latrobe University’s Performing Arts Program, and was Assistant Director on STC’s 2014 production of Macbeth. She was Co-Artistic Director of Melbourne Playback Theatre Company from 2011-2014, Dramaturg at Red Stitch in 2009-2012 and was Assistant Dramaturg at the Malthouse in 2010.

Cast Emina Ashman, Jing-Xuan Chan, Bernard Sam
Director Petra Kalive
Set Designer Eugyeene Teh
Costume Designer Sophie Woodward
Lighting & AV Designer Emma Valente
Composer & Sound Designer Darius Kedros

Season Dates
3 – 19 May

Opening Night
Saturday 5 May

Southbank Theatre, The Lawler

03 8688 0800

‘Emina Ashman is magnetic.’ The Age


Commissioned with the support of the Joan & Peter Clemenger Trust.
Developed through MTC’s Cybec Electric Playreading Series as part of the 2017 AsiaTOPA Festival.

Published on 16 April 2018