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The Wheeler Centre Gala 2017: Stories for the Dead


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‘Death exists, not as the opposite, but as a part of life,’ Haruki Murakami wrote in Norwegian Wood. What stories do we tell ourselves about death and the dead? How do our ideas around death vary across cultures?

For our seventh annual gala night of storytelling, we’re partnering with Arts Centre Melbourne for Asia TOPA to bring together talented writers and artists from across the region. Each will respond to our provocative (and slightly spooky) theme: Stories for the Dead.

Guests include writer Clementine Ford, soprano Deborah Cheetham, Indonesian dancer Eko Supriyanto, performer Candy Bowers, Thai Classical dancer Pichet Klunchun, musician Kakushin Nishihara with translator Nobuko Aiso, US musician and author Amanda Palmer, broadcaster and writer Myf Warhurst, wordsmith David Astle, cellist and broadcaster Eddie Ayres and author Ramona Koval.

Prepare for very different reflections on the theme – from funny to ghoulish to political to poignant. Do the dead walk among us? Join us for stories of ghosts and spirits; ritual and revival; life, loss, love and death.

#StoriesForTheDead #AsiaTOPA

Presented by the Wheeler Centre and Arts Centre Melbourne for Asia TOPA.

Asia TOPA is a joint initiative of the Sidney Myer Fund and Arts Centre Melbourne and is supported by the Australian and Victorian Governments.

This event will be Auslan interpreted.

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Eko Supriyanto

Founder and artistic director for EkosDance Company and Solo Dance Studio in Surakarta Indonesia, Eko Supriyanto’s performance career spans major works and tours throughout Indonesia, Europe, America and the Asia Pacific. Trained in Javanese court dances and the Indonesian martial arts of Pencak S... Read more

Candy Bowers

Candy Bowers is an award-winning writer, actor, social-activist, comedian and producer. The co-artistic director of Black Honey Company, Candy has pioneered a fierce sub-genre of hip hop theatre that delves into the heart of radical feminist dreaming.   Born of multi-racial South African parents an... Read more

Deborah Cheetham

Deborah Cheetham, Yorta Yorta woman, soprano, composer and artistic director, has been a leader and pioneer in the Australian arts landscape for more than 25 years. In the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, Cheetham was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO). Deborah Cheetham’s ... Read more

Eddie Ayres

Eddie Ayres is a writer, music teacher and broadcaster. He was born on the White Cliffs of Dover and began playing violin when he was eight years old. He studied music in Manchester, Berlin and London, played viola professionally in the UK and Hong Kong and moved to Australia in 2003. Eddie is the p... Read more

Nobuko Aiso

Nobuko Aiso is a translator, interpretator, writer, project manager and international correspondent. In 2015, she co-founded Art Translators Collective, an independent organisation that explores the value and possibilities of translation in the field of art. Born in Japan, Aiso spent her formative y... Read more

Myf Warhurst

Myf Warhurst grew up in regional Victoria and studied music and fine arts at Melbourne University. After writing arts and music stories for The Age and street magazine Inpress, she became Managing Editor of Inpress in 1999. After her first radio gig as showbiz reporter on Merrick and Rosso̵... Read more

Kakushin Nishihara

Born in Tokyo, Japan, Kakushin Nishihara is a Tsuruta-style Satsuma biwa player and a collage artist. (The Satsuma biwa is a traditional Japanese lute.) She trained under the tutelage of biwa master Kinshi Tsuruta until her teacher’s death. Kakushin is active not only within Japan, but also in Eur... Read more

Pichet Klunchun

Pichet Klunchun bridges Thai Classical Dance language with contemporary sensibilities – while keeping the heart and wisdom of the tradition. He has earned domestic notoriety for his efforts in contemporising Khon. Pichet has received many honorary awards, including the 2008 ‘Routes’ ECF Prince... Read more

David Astle

Alias DA on Friday’s puzzle page in the Age, David Astle is a lifelong wordsmith, writer, columnist and ABC broadcaster. His latest book – Rewording The Brain – explores the neural benefits of crosswords. You can catch him on Evenings most weeknights, or flapping a dictionary on SB... Read more

Ramona Koval

Ramona Koval is a writer who has worked as a journalist and broadcaster. Her most recent books are A Letter to Layla: Travels to our Deep Past and Near Future, Bloodhound: Searching For My Father, and By the Book: A Reader’s Guide to Life (all published by Text). She was the editor of two volumes ... Read more

Clementine Ford

Clementine Ford is a Melbourne-based writer, speaker and feminist thinker. She is a columnist for Fairfax’s Daily Life and is a regular contributor to the Age and Sydney Morning Herald. Through her twice-weekly columns for Daily Life, Clementine explores issues of gen... Read more

Amanda Palmer

Amanda Palmer is a performer, director, composer, musician and author who came to prominence as frontwoman and keyboardist for the punk cabaret band The Dresden Dolls. In 2008, Amanda released Who Killed Amanda Palmer, her debut solo album. It was produced by Ben Folds and accompanied with the relea... Read more


Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne

100 St Kilda Road Melbourne VIC 3004

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