2017 will see Melbourne Theatre Company’s playwriting initiative, Cybec Electric, partner with Asia TOPA, the Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts, to celebrate our finest Asian-Australian playwrights from Thursday 23 February – Saturday 25 February at Southbank Theatre, The Lawler.
Building on the success of last year’s lineup of five incredible female playwrights, MTC is thrilled to announce that Cybec Electric 2017 has expanded to include the work of nine of Australia’s most promising playwrights: Kim Ho, Hiroki Kobayashi, Alan Nguyen, Jeremy Nguyen, Hoa Pham, Natesha Somasundaram, Arun Subramaniam, Jean Tong and Chi Vu.
And, for the first time ever, MTC will be joined by international directors Jo Kukathas from Malaysia and David Jiang from China, who will work collaboratively with the playwrights and MTC Literary Director Chris Mead to bring each of these new exciting works to the stage.
The works featured in Cybec Electric 2017 include two full plays and two sets of excerpts of works-in-development (Cybec Scenes 1 and Cybec Scenes 2). Each work will have public, semi-staged readings by professional actors.
The play reading series will give each playwright the opportunity to showcase their work to the critical ingredient of live theatre: an audience.
From political assassination to crowded trains, from a small Mallee town to angry mermaids, MTC’s Cybec Electric 2017 returns with originality, wit and great insights.
The series opens with Cybec Scenes 1 on Thursday 23 February. Mirror’s Edge by Kim Ho sees Chinese tourists revive a dying Mallee town; Mermaid Terrorist by Chi Vu follows an angry little mermaid in an ocean of trouble; Alan Nguyen and Jeremy Nguyen join forces for The Moon was a Telephone into which I was Screaming about a lost father returning from the grave he was never in.
Also on Thursday 23 February will be the play reading of Hero by Arun Subramaniam – a charming, bitter and funny story of high politics and low motives where nothing is middle of the road.
On Friday 24 February audiences will be treated to Cybec Scenes 2, which will see Hiroki Kobayashi tackle the reality of what it means to honour your grandfather in Assisted Living; Hoa Pham articulates the reality of mania in Vivid; and Entomology by Natesha Somasundaram sees things get nasty one night on a crowded Melbourne train.
Following Cybec Scenes 2, Hungry Ghosts by Jean Tong will also be staged on Friday 24 February – a play for those who left home and never found their way back.
Finally, Saturday 25 February will see a second staging of Hero and Hungry Ghosts.
MTC Literary Director and Cybec Electric curator Chris Mead said, ‘Cybec Electric 2017 is a year of firsts: nine playwrights, a major Festival Partner and two overseas directors. It is also another year that attests to the plasticity, relevance and ferocity of new writing for the stage.
‘Take the explosive charge of lightning, the perplexing mystery of the magnetic field and the ingenuity of the silicon-chip, and you have a hint of the brilliance and smarts you will see on stage next year. Cybec Electric 2017: welcome to the future.’
Cybec Electric is an integral part of MTC’s commitment to developing and presenting new Australian plays.
Cybec Electric is only possible due to the support of Roger Riordan AM and The Cybec Foundation.
Tickets for the play reading series are available on MTC’s website now.
Southbank Theatre, The Lawler
23 February to 25 February 2017
($30 for a 4-play pass),
Under 30s $5 each
($15 for a 4-play pass)
Southbank Theatre Box Office
on 03 8688 0800
For more information about Cybec Electric visit