Promised Land – About the Project

We are saksi bisou (Bahasa: silent witness) – As an artistic collective, we are curious in exploring the universal experience of journey and exile. We are influenced by lived experiences as migrant people of colour, our work often investigates memory, isolation, oppression, exile and what it means to preserve our humanity.

This project is only possible because of the incredible migrant-led creative team with roots spreading across 8 countries and 4 continents and speaking 9 languages (thanks to colonization, we conveniently speak English in common).

Elisabeth Gunawan 吳金栵 (Writer/Co-Creator/Performer) is a Chinese-Indonesian artist who works in the mode of stories, poetry and performance. She is a critically-acclaimed and award-winning theatremaker and actor. With Created a Monster, she wrote and performed Unforgettable Girl, which won the OFFFest award at VOILA! Festival. For her performance, she also won Best Performer in a Play in The Stage Debut Awards 2022. She has worked as an actor, performer and deviser with Ad Infinitum, Flabbergast Theatre, and the David Glass Ensemble. On film, she has been featured in Eelyn Lee’s films Casting Fu Manchu (2020) and San Xing (2021). In 2021, she was a recipient of Arts Council England’s Developing Your Creative Practice fund to begin her ‘Myths, Stories and Worlds’ research (née ‘Mythical Storytelling’), which continues to be the backbone of her practice today. For the period of 2021-2022, she is a resident artist at the Grotowski Institute, where she continued this exploration. She has facilitated and taught at LASALLE College of the Arts, TheatreDeli, Italia Conti and the Grotowski Institute.

Matej Matejka (Co-Creator/Director) is a multi award-winning Slovak theatre researcher, actor, director, and teacher of movement. Matej was an actor with Teatr ZAR, co-creating and performing in Anhelli: The Calling and Caesarean Section: Essays on Suicide, the latter awarded with the Herald Angel and Total Theatre awards in Edinburgh, UK (2012). Matej Matejka is the founder and leader of Studio Matejka, a company working under auspices of the Grotowski Institute since 2010. Matej directed the performances Echoes of the Walls Underground Are Louder than the Footsteps above Me (co-directed with Yuri Kordonski), The Woman Decomposed, Charmolypi, and Awkward Happiness or Everything I Don’t Remember About Meeting You (special mention at BE Festival, Birmingham, 2014). In 2001–2006, he was an actor with Farm in the Cave Theatre Studio, Prague, and co-creator of its performances, including the multi-awarded SCLAVI/The Song of an Emigrant (Fringe First, Total Theatre Award, Herald Angel, Alfred Radok’s Award, Grand Prix Golden Laurel Wreath). He directed and produced a site-specific project called Harmony of Contradictions: Poland at Browar Mieszczański (Burgers’ Brewery) in Wrocław, Poland (2016); and Palimpsests of the Space at castle in Gorzanów, Lower Silesia, Poland (2017). He has recently accomplished a one and a half year long interactive performance project titled Angry Man: Variations in Defense of Anger at the Grotowski Institute, Wrocław, Poland (2018), with an international team of 9 actors and dancers. The performance is nominated for The Best OFF 2018/2019, Poland. In 2012 and 2014, he directed seven short films: Pearadise, Life While You Wait, Twenty Second Street, Juste comme ça, The Desire, The Mess and Conflicts of Apathy (first prize at NU Video Dance 2014, Bratislava). Pearadise won Best Foreign Film at the Los Angeles International Underground Film Festival in 2013.

Orest Sharak орест шарак (Music Composer/Arranger/Performer) is a Ukrainian multidiscplinary performer and maker. From 2007-2011, he worked in Les Kurbas Theatre, where he performed among others in Ovid’s Metamorphosis, Five Elements based on the parables of Zen, Bohdan by Klim, Symposium by Plato and King Lear. In 2009, he established the ethno-ambient ensemble Kurbasy, whose work focused on exploring drama in Ukrainian Songs. In that time, he also collaborated with Lalish Teaterlabor (Viena), Tomasz Bazan (Teatr Maat Project Lublin) and Mariana Sadovska (Cologne). In 2012, he became an actor in Teatr ZAR, performing in Caesarean Section: Essays on Suicide, Armine Sister, Medeas: On Getting Across and Anhelli: The Howl. In 2012, after an expedition to Sicily, he became a member of In Medias Res ensemble which works with liturgical songs from Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily. He collaborated with Matej Matejka in the project Harmony of Contraditions: Poland and was music supervisor for Awkward Happiness. 

Mona Camille (Scenographer) is a set designer with a background in architecture. Mona’s recent work includes designs for Theatre503, Studio Goodluck Film productions, and the Chinese Arts Now Festival London as well as working as an associate designer alongside Moi Tran for productions at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse and the Hampstead Theatre. Mona is also a multidisciplinary artist with recent artwork exhibited at the Seychelles Biennale of Contemporary Art 2022 and the Seychelles National Museum for the 2022 Festival Kreol, in her home country.

Jack Parris (Music Composer of Concept Album) is a performer, theatre-maker, writer and facilitator. Prior to his work with BPT, Jack worked as a teacher, musician and actor and experimental film-maker Egg (2016), The Hex (2017) and Words (2018). Jack retrained in Theatre Laboratory at RADA in 2019 and now his practice focuses on co-creating physical theatre through play using embodied approaches influenced through his time working with David Glass Ensemble, Theatre Re, Peta Lily, Gabrielle Moleta Company and Gecko. Jack currently works with the devising ensemble Kreants, Saksi Bisou and Bunkum, whose recent experimental film Dangling Man was in the official selection at the London International Film Festival and the Montreal Film Festival.

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