Artist Profile – Felix Ching Ching Ho2 July 2015
Felix is an independent theatre-maker and performer from Hong Kong. Now an Australian citizen, Felix is perfecting her craft by undertaking the Masters of Directing for Performance program at the Victorian College of the Arts.
She has been director, assistant director, and a performer for the Arts Centre Melbourne, Melbourne Fringe, Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC) and National Theatre of China, among many others. In 2013, she initiated ‘TRANS COLLECTIVE’, a series of two multilingual performances: one for The University of Melbourne’s Mudfest Arts Festival and another for the Hong Kong People’s Fringe Festival.
Her more recent work includes MC.#01, her first site-specific performance with composer Annie Hui-Hsin Hsieh as part of the 6th Melaka Art and Performance Festival last year, and M.#02, a collaboration with Melbourne-based composer Ashlee Clapp for Mapping Melbourne.
Selected as one of the directors in MTC’s Women Directors’ Program this year, Felix is currently working as a dramaturge on Do You Speak Chinese? with dancers Victoria Chiu and Kristina Chan. She is also currently developing a project called Cantonese Opera Trilogy: #01 Footscray as part of the Big West Festival taking place in November.
Felix has been living in Melbourne for the last ten years, and says she is “very fortunate to be able to call two places home”. She explores both places in her creative work. “I can never truly understand what’s happening in Australia without reflecting on similar issues in Hong Kong and China, and vice versa,” she says.
Felix first became involved with theatre when she signed up for a workshop in the initial few days of her undergraduate degree in 2006. “I started off as a sound designer in one of the student productions for the MU Chinese Theatre Group. That was a Mandarin adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap. Then in 2007, a few friends and I put on Wild Orchids, an original play about gender identity of Asian women under Midnight Productions as part of Mudfest. I tried to get as much hands-on experience from different theatre gigs in and out school as I could until I directed my first play,” she shares.
The Importance of Being Vulgar, a Cantonese play written by Hong Kong playwright and director Edward Lam, was the first play she directed for the MU Chinese Theatre Group in 2009. “This production won the best production of the year, which was pretty epic for an overseas students group. Tom Gutteridge, the artistic director of the Union House Theatre at the time, came to me to tell me that I could be a director! This made me really start thinking about theatre as a career.“
In her classes so far, Felix has been enthusiastic about being introduced to different directorial and research methodologies. “It’s really helpful to get a wider scope of the craft without being discouraged to investigate our own interests. I also find classes which require us to think and work collaboratively with students from Masters of Writing, Dramaturgy, Design and Choreography are valuable,” she says.
“Juggling between a full-time course and work is a big challenge for me. Sometimes I have to say no to gigs that I really want. I am still working on finding a way to balance the two. I guess getting on a bike and doing yoga might help?”