Elbow Room

Theatre & Performance

Enlightenment 2021 Perth Tour

Enlightenment is a collaboration between theatre company Elbow Room and renegade artist Joe Paradise Lui that re-imagines the legendary figures of the Buddha and the Monkey King as young women in contemporary Australia.

Days Left

The Enlightenment of the Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, and the Encounter with the Monkey King – Great Sage, Equal of Heaven, (also known as Enlightenment) draws on the grand tradition of contemporary adaptations of canonical texts, myths and legends of predominantly Western texts by reimagining the stories of the Buddha and the Monkey King as young women living in Australia.

Support for this project will tangibly contribute to a more inclusive Australian theatre sector and will support the financial sustainability of Australian artists at a time when many have not been able to tour or practice in person since March 2020. We are very grateful to have confirmed funding for the Melbourne season and are now asking for support to take this show to Joe Paradise Lui’s hometown, Perth.

The composition of the project team reflects the diverse experiences of the cultural themes it explores, and all actors will be paid award rates. We are asking for funds to cover the cost of flights and accommodation for the actors and a few key crew members.

To grow up in a Chinese Buddhist household is to be immersed in the stories of the Buddha, the Monkey King, and others of their ilk. As literature, as well as numerous TV and film adaptations in many East Asian cultures, these stories have long been a part of Joe’s understanding of the world. But to date, he has not seen them on an Australian stage, interrogated with the same exciting robustness regularly afforded to European myths.

Elbow Room and Joe Paradise Lui have assembled an artistic team that reflects the diversity and variety of relationships that exist to this material in contemporary Australia, and cultural consultant Jamie Lewis (Executive Director of Next Wave Festival) has led two script developments. Both the Perth and Melbourne Presentations will be accompanied by Mandarin surtitles.

The team includes Merlynn Tong, John Desengano, Conor Gallacher, Alice Qin, Badiucao, Emily Tomlins, Marcel Dorney, Cherish Marrington, Samad Shiraz, Hardik Mehta, Jamie Lewis, Sarah Cheng, Adelaide Fisher, Rosie Pidd, Finn Carter and Catherine O’Donoghue.

Please help us take Enlightenment to Perth!

By supporting this project, you enable Australian artists to embark on their first national tour since COVID-19 hit in January 2020. Touring work is a crucial part of the cultural ecology both financially and artistically. You enable Western Australian audiences to engage with an exciting new work that plays a key role in access and representation on Australian stages. You will allow diverse artists to present a work of tremendous personal significance to their home city. You will create award rate paid and supported professional touring opportunities for diverse actors who are altogether too infrequently highlighted on Australian stages.

You will inspire a new generation of theatre makers from diverse backgrounds to believe there is space for them on Australian stages; for their stories, their myths, their heroes. That they are seen and welcomed and wanted. To imagine a future for Australia with their voices as a key pillar of our cultural landscape.

We are working closely with the State Theatre Centre, Western Australia, our wonderful presenting partner in Perth regarding COVID updates and development and have the capacity to reschedule all elements of the tour to a date later in the year in the event that the July Season cannot go ahead.


Elbow Room




Theatre & Performance


Live Projects


Projects Funded


Projects Supported


Elbow Room are a contemporary performance ensemble based in Melbourne, Australia. The company was founded in 2008 by Emily Tomlins, Angus Grant and Marcel Dorney with the mission ‘to ask big questions in small spaces’. Since then, they have cultivated a practice which combines a radically optimistic faith in the curiosity of audiences, and our collective intelligence, with a rigorous approach to the crafts of performance.

Elbow Room’s purpose is to create theatre that tests and strengthens the relationship between the way that we communicate and the way we structure and participate in our society.

By pursuing principles of ensemble, Elbow Room create a space for their collaborators to deepen and challenge their practice, and to empowering audiences to ask important questions.

Over seven years, Elbow Room have created eleven original performance works which have garnered critical acclaim, sell-out seasons in several cities, and multiple re-presentation partnerships around Australia, including the Brisbane Festival, Adelaide Fringe Festival, Sydney Fringe Festival, Melbourne Fringe Festival, Metro Arts, and Junction Arts Festival. The company has received three Green Room Awards.


Kath Fyffe


Many and varied...