Paulo Serantes (Assistant Director), Spain

pauloBorn in Galiza, Spain in 1977, Paulo Serantes is an actor, stage director, musician and trainer in physical theatre. Serantes specializes in Physical Theatre, Commedia dell’Arte and the use of masks in theatre. Serantes has been the artistic director of the Paso de Valverde Theatre School in his hometown of Galiza since 2009, and is also a contributing artist at Manifesto Poetico (International Laboratory of Theatre Research) as an actor and musician. He has been assisting Carlos Garcia Estévez’s directing, workshops and performances around Europe and United States since 2006, as he is doing for Nama Kamu Atas Perahu.

Ghafir Akbar, Malaysia

ghafirGhafir Akbar is a professional actor and experienced instructor with extensive performing credits in his homeland of Malaysia as well as the USA since 1999, and is the co-founder and Artistic Associate of Mad Dog Theatre Company in New York and The Ruckus Theatre in Chicago. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in acting from Florida State University/Asolo Conservertory for Actor Training and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Theatre Performance from Western Michigan University. His strong background in Asian art forms combined with his formal training in Stanislavski/Vakhtangov/Chekhov, Fitzmaurice and Alexander techniques gifts him with a unique perspective in his work and teaching of Viewpoints solo performance, devised and movement work. Ghafir has garnered rave reviews from various publications including the Wall Street Journal and was named the Best Comedic Performance 2010 – Best of the Sun Coast by Creative Loafing, a publication in Florida. He currently lectures in University Malaya.

Hannah Heller, America

hannahAmerican-born Hannah Heller holds a bachelor of fine arts in drama from the Tisch School of The Arts in New York University and has trained for two years with Philippe Gaulier in Paris. Since her training, Heller has made her mark as a theatre actress and contemporary tap dancer in stage productions in New York, Seattle, and Paris. She is also the recipient of the Bevya Rosten Award for Outstanding Student in Theatre Studies and has participated in the International Theater Workshop in Amsterdam. Heller’s extraordinary skill set also extends to film, voice-overs, and dance – the latter coming with the distinction of having been an original member of Savion Glover’s tap dance ensemble Ti Dii. Heller is fluent in French and Spanish and counts the violin and guitar among her musical talents.

Jo Kukathas, Malaysia

joNo stranger to the spotlight, Jo Kukathas is indubitably one of Malaysia’s most prolific performing artists. She is one of the co-founders and the Artistic Director of The Instant Café Theatre Company, and since 1989 has written, directed, and performed in works ranging from politically poignant comedy revues to contemporary interpretations of Shakespeare’s works. Having spent her youth in Malaysia, Australia, Hong Kong, India and the UK, she has also worked in Japan, Singapore, Germany, South Korea, China, Philippines, and Indonesia where she has been instrumental in founding, directing and facilitating various festivals and arts exchanges, and international collaborations. She has won awards for her acting as well as her writing and was awarded the Nippon Foundation Asian Public Intellectual (API) Fellowship for her research on traditional and contemporary theatre. She is currently the artistic director of ICT and CHAI – Instant Café’s House of Art and Ideas.

Manuel Schunter, Germany

manuelManuel Schunter holds a bachelor’s degree in performing arts from Scuola Teatro Dimitri in Switzerland and studied with Phillipe Gaulier in France. Schunter works with different theatre companies such as Das Letzte Kleinod, Compagnia Masha Dimitri and Madame Bissegger and performs a one-man show titled Hikikomori. Last season he toured as a Clown with Circus Monti and Circus Sarrasani through Germany and Switzerland.

Mohammad Hariyanto, Indonesia

mohA life-long student and practitioner of dance, Moh. Hariyanto hails from Surabaya and is making his mark as a dancer and choreographer in the traditional and contemporary dance circuits in Indonesia. Since 2006, Hariyanto has participated in and performed in numerous festivals, collaborations and productions, winning praises for his choreography work in Hibah Seni Kelola and the Karya Tari se Jawa Timur festival. He has also participated in cultural exchanges including as a performing ambassador to Kunming, China, for the traditional topeng gethak and topeng bapang dances in 2009. Hariyanto is currently majoring in dance for his post-graduate studies at the Indonesian Institute of the Arts (ISI), Surakarta.

Jimmy Ch’ng Lip Hann, Malaysia

jimmyMalaysian Jimmy Ch’ng Lip Hann has been the principal drummer and assistant artistic director for Hands Percussion (Hands) for 15 years, but his passion for percussion began in his youth. Ch’ng honed his early career by studying traditional Chinese percussion in Beijing with Wang Jian Hua of the 8 Mallets, well-known Malaysian Latin based percussionist Steve Thornton, and Taiwan’s Ju-Percussion Group. As a senior and founding member, Ch’ng has choreographed many pieces in Hands including Armour and Skin, which was nominated as Best Original Composition at the 2004 BOH Cameronian Art Awards. In 2012 and 2013, Jimmy was received the Best Solo Performer and Best Original Composition accolades in the BOH Cameronian Art Awards. His international collaborations with Rhythm in Bronze, Rivergrass Dance Studio, Steve Thornton, Lewis Pragasam and Billy Cobham, among many others, have dynamically shaped his work in traditional Chinese percussion by inspiring him to infuse international and Malaysian cultural elements into profoundly moving performances.

Deden Tresnawan, Indonesia

dedenA stalwart behind the scenes, Bandung native Deden Tresnawan has lent his skills in lighting and music administration to various festivals and local performances in Indonesia since 2002. He has taught in the dance department of the Indonesian Institute of the Arts (STSI) Bandung and is also an accomplished musician, artistic director, and composer. Recently, Deden has been a key figure in productions of the Wayang Internasional Festival, Pentas Wayang Motekar, Pentas 3 Dalang, and as music arranger for Inbeat Wice by Gatot Gunawan Judul for the Word Dance Day Festival held in Surakarta.

Jack Wan, Malaysia

jackwanJack Wan Wai Keat is a seasoned percussionist from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and a member of Hands Percussion since he was 15 years old. As an expert in shigu and gamelan, Wan also plays the drum kit, timpani (having trained under Paul Philbert, ex-principal timpanist in the Malaysia Philharmonic Orchestra), and the gendang (as a student of Kamrul Hussin, renowned professional gendang performer in Malaysia). Wan heads the Hands Gamelan Group and his first gamelan piece, MING, was played in Ri Yue Chu Yin accompanied by The Eight Mallets, a world-class percussion group from Beijing. In 2012, he was nominated for Best Instrumental Solo Performance and won his first Cammy (Best Original Composition) in the 10th BOH Cameronian Arts Awards organised by Kakiseni. Wan has been coaching traditional Chinese drumming since 2008 in various schools that Hands works with.

Leong Kah Miu, Malaysia

leongLeong Kah Miu hails from Kajang, Malaysia, and is a member of Hands Percussion since 2012. His passion for Chinese drumming and percussion began in school when he first joined the school’s 24 Festive Drums troupe when he was 14, thus embarking on a journey of rhythm through diverse percussive instruments. Leong has performed in most of Hands’ concerts including Lafaz Gema, The Next, and Souls in Love, and has been part of Hands’ international performances in France (Festival of Martigue), Taiwan (Xinzhuang Drum Festival), China (Nanning International Festival), Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Hawaii, USA.

Hamidreza Fallahi, Iran

hamidrezaBorn in 1971 in his hometown of Ghom, Iran, Hamidreza Fallahi is a multitalented actor, music composer, and director and no stranger to the performing arts – both culturally and commercially. Fallahi has been acting ever since the tender age of 12 by first appearing in The Horse, a theatrical play performed during the Fajr Festival 1987. Having undertook various dramatic literature, acting, and directing courses throughout his formal education, Fallahi has been pivotal in the success of countless stage productions in various festivals and cultural events throughout Iran. He has won awards in music composition for Abouzar, Yeki Bood Yeki Nabood, and Panjeyri Bar Bad – three theatre productions performed at the Festival of Sooreh and Festival of Ladies between 1995 and 1997. Fallahi is also known for his acting roles in various movies, TV series, and tele-theatre shows.

Maryam Moiny, Iran

maryamMaryam Moiny is an accomplished Iranian puppeteer, director, actor, and costume, scene and light designer from Iran. She holds a bachelor’s degree of Performing Art major in puppetry from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Tehran University. Since 1993, Moiny has wowed audiences with her performing prowess in Puppet Theatre Festival and has acted in more than 30 theatrical productions, winning recognition from the Iranian Acting Association, Theatre Critics Association of Iran, and the International Puppet Show Festival. She has travelled to France, Poland, Serbia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Pakistan, and Dubai as actress and puppeteer for long-time Iranian productions Wooden Horse, I Dreamt of Moon Pieces Raining Down like Feathers, Nameless Maria and Rolling Pumpkin.

Cheung Ming Yiu, Hong Kong

cheungHong Kong-born Cheung Ming Yiu is a prominent young theatre practitioner as well as the artistic director and co-founder of The Radiant Theatre. Which is a venue partner of the Shatin Town Hall from 2012to 2015. He holds a bachelor’s degree with honours in fine arts from the Hong Kong Academy’s School of Drama for Performing Arts and has received many scholarships and awards while at HKAPA. He has served as director, actor and drama tutor for many different professional theatre companies, education institutes, including Chung Ying Theatre, PIP Cultural Industries Ltd. and Hong Kong Repertory Theatre. As a full time actor for PIP Cultural Industries from 2007 – 2010, Cheung has actively taken part in the development of PIP School’s art education and development for adults, teenagers and young children. Cheung has produced, directed and performed Theatre productions including Trinity Theatre’s Table For Two, Titus 2.0 from Siu Wing Theatre Production and performed in Norway, Poland, Beijing and Globe Theatre in London in 2012 and Radiant Theatre’s Going, Going, Gone and One & The Only Night and Children Musical Theatre`Ballawman’ .

Ling Goh, Malaysia

lingNamed by the Penang Heritage Trust as an icon in “intangible cultural heritage”, Ling Goh comes from a long heritage of traditional Chinese performers which include her grandmother, Teo Chew opera luminary Yang Ching Yin who wowed Malaysian audiences in the 1950s. Ling grew up surrounded by puppets and soon developed a solid grasp of the nuances of puppetry, singing and traditional Chinese instruments, performing in a number of notable Teo Chew opera pieces by the age of eight. She has received accolades for her performance at the 3rd International Teo Chew Opera Festival in Shantou, China, and is the founder of the KIM GIAK LOW CHOON (金玉樓春)Teo Chew Opera Troupe.

Zamzuriah binti Zahari, Malaysia

zamzuriahZamzuriah Zahari hails from the state of Kelantan in Malaysia and is considered one of the foremost young experts in traditional Malay dance and theatre, especially in the styles of Tarian Tari Inai (a heritage and highly ritualistic Malaysian palace dance), mak yong (a traditional form of dance-drama from northern Malaysia), and mek mulung (traditional Malay theatre unique to the state of Kedah in Malaysia). Her experience in dancing, acting, singing, poetry, song writing and choreography has been further demonstrated through her involvement in productions from traditional Malay dance through to contemporary theatre and television.  Zamzuriah has been awarded the top honours in the Young Talent (Dance) category in the 2006 Anugerah Seni Negara (National Arts Awards) and also the Best Actress and Best Script awards in the Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka’s Festival of Monodrama 2011. She is currently a lecturer for ASWARA (Akademi Seni Budaya dan Warisan Kebangsaan – Academy of Arts, Culture and National Heritage).

Mónica Varela Couto, Spain

monicaA native of Spain, Monica Varela Couto has been dedicated to the three disciplines of theatre, dance, and puppetry with a performing arts career that started in 1998. She received artistic training in Spain, Belgium, France, the UK and Italy at such institutions as the International School of Theatre Lassaad (Lecoq style)  and International School of Dramatic Corporeal Mime “L’ ange fou” (Decroux style). While studying at Theatre aux Main Nues in Paris, Monica created her own puppet theater company, premiering their first show at the International Festival of Charleville in Mezieres in 2009. Furthermore, Monica underwent mask studies with Floz Familie Flotz, clowning with Eric de Bont, Commedia dell’Arte with Antonio Fava , dance with Ultima Vez, and puppetry with Philippe Genty and Stephem Mottram, among others.  She currently resides in Brussels, where she works as an actress, puppeteer, and coach for the handling and movement of puppets for various companies.

Jeong Ju Kim, Korea

jeongSeoul-born Jeong Ju Kim is a director, actor, and pedagogy teacher with an extensive portfolio in theatre, film, and music since 2000. Kim holds diplomas from Seoul University and Université Lumière Lyon 2, after which she completed two years of professional theatre training and a year of Laboratory of Movement (L.E.M.) studies at the Jacques Lecoq International Theatre School in Paris. Fluent in French and Korean, Kim straddles European and South Korean theatre with performances that transcend cultural borders. Between 2011 and 2012, she has brought her own masterpiece – Dream of Butterfly – to Festival d’Avignon, Printemps des Arts 2011, Festival en Compagnie d’ Été 2011, Suwon Hwaseong Fortress Theatre, and Chuncheon International Theatre Festival. She has received accolades for her performance in Molière’s The Miser at the Geochang International Festival in 2004, and had an acting role in Peter Brook’s documentary The Tightrope (Sur un Fil). She currently teaches pedagogy in the style of Jacques Lecoq in South Korea, Canada, and France and also teaching and directing for National Theatre Korea Company from year 2012.