The artists of WHY IS IT ART? have just completed their two week choreographic residency where they explored how their own practice relates to other modes of movement practice and a broader context of ‘contemporary art’.

We asked Maria Tran, Larissa McGowan and Eliam Royalness what the residency has taught them about their own arts practice. Their responses are shared in these videos.

WHY IS IT ART? is a three-year partnership with Critical Path that explores contemporary dance practice in Western Sydney and aims to make space for different movement practices in our culture to share and work together. To find out more about the project, click here.

Maria Tran – 

Maria Tran is an Australian-born Vietnamese actress, martial artist, producer, writer and director. She is known for developing the martial arts action film genre in Australia via the Asian diaspora communities of Western Sydney.


Larissa McGowan –

Larissa is a highly acclaimed dancer and choreographer based in Adelaide, South Australia. Larissa began working with PYT in 2018 when she choreographed PLAYLIST, directed by Karen Therese, which has since been presented by Sydney Opera House’s Festival UnWrapped program. In 2019, she is working with PYT again to develop ACTION STAR.


Eliam Royalness –

Eliam Royalness is a choreographer & performer from Sydney’s south-west and has been creating and performing dance works since his early teenage years. He is the creator and director of New South Wales’ number 1 mega hip-hop company, The Pioneers MC, who have represented Australia at Hip-Hop International in 2014 and 2015, in the U.S.


WHY IS IT ART? is a partnership project between PYT I Fairfield and Critical Path

PYT is proudly supported by the Australian Council for the Arts and the NSW Government through Create NSW.

Image Credit: Daisy Montalvo

Films by: Daisy Montalvo

PYT l Fairfield is looking for three young artists, 16yrs + from Mid Western NSW to perform in a site-specific theatre performance. This is a paid opportunity and a chance to work with a professional theatre company.

SWIMMING POOL is a performance set in Kandos local swimming pool for audiences of the Cementa19 Art Festival. It will involve youth from Western Sydney and Mid Western NSW sharing their experiences of growing up Australian in a space that is universal to anyone who has grown up in Australia: the public swimming pool. Performers will encourage the audience to dive in to participate in a collective experience, to embrace the present moment, away from the constraints of their usual busy lives.

To audition you must be available for the following dates:
4 – 8 November – Rehearsals in Fairfield (accommodation and living away from home allowance covered)
11 – 20 November – Rehearsals in Kandos (we will accommodate school schedule)
21 – 23 November – Performances at Cementa Festival

We will be hosting a workshop and relaxed audition on Monday 9 September, 3:30PM-5:30PM at WAYOUT Hall, 71 Angus Ave, Kandos

Please register here by Wednesday 4 September:

For more information please email

Throughout July 2019, Najee Tannous was supported to develop his new theatre work CARPET STORIES through our PYT Residency program.

CARPET STORIES shares Middle Eastern LGBTQI narratives of bravery and courage through personal storytelling and video. CARPET STORIES empowers the authentic experiences of Middle Eastern Australian and refugees seeking liberation.

Najee commenced the project with a workshop, supported by ACON, for Middle Eastern LGBTQI individuals to meet others, and share their stories and experiences in a safe space. Najee met Mustafa Al-Mahdi through this workshop, who became the performer/co-devisor of the work, and together with their project mentor Karen Therese, the team began to explore such a significant topic.

Najee said that during the first development of CARPET STORIES, “my knowledge of Middle Eastern queerness broadened as the complexities of marrying the two quickly unveiled the harsh realities and courageous journeys individuals had experienced in the quest to seek equilibrium in their lives.”

His hopes for the future work is to “continue facilitating these workshops and work alongside Middle Eastern communities and queer organisations.” Najee envisions that the show will be accompanied by a book with anonymous stories that come from the experiences of those participating in his workshops. He will also look at other ways to facilitate “conversation starters surrounding the intersection of Queerness and Middle Eastern Cultures/identities… to unpack different perspectives and ideologies.”

PYT Residency program supported the development of three new works by emerging Western Sydney theatre makers.

PYT Residencies is supported by SBW Foundation and Crack Festival.

Image Credit: Katy Green Loughrey

 The Parramatta Female Factory Precinct (PFFP) and PYT Fairfield are forging a pioneering new partnership to explore the Australian experience of institutions for women and young people through the program ‘Women of Parramatta.’   

The program opened with it’s first event on Tuesday 25th June, a LONG TABLE hosted by Bonny Djuric, Brianna Munting and Karen Therese. The event was an invitation only to the partners of Women of Parramatta on the site of the former Parramatta Girls Home.

The PFFP sets out to bring public engagement, critical awareness and cultural activity to the Parramatta Female Factory site. PYT Fairfield continues its practice in making brave and transformative artistic work. Together, we will employ collaborative artistic practice as a major way for the Stolen Generation and Forgotten Australians to connect with each other. The Parramatta site will ultimately be transformed into a space dedicated to women’s cultural practice.

Partners and attendees included Erin Wilkins and Leanne Watson Darug Custodian Aboriginal Corporation, Jiva Parthipan STARTTS, Rev. Keith Hamilton Parramatta Mission, artists Zanny Begg and Donna Abela who gave a talk on recovering freedom and her recent experiences in Chile.

An excerpt from Donna Abela’s Long table presentation.

“Why write? Why make art? Why follow this urge? … Because art can recover freedom … reclaim and revive debased places and bodies … assert ethical memory … serve as an ethical reference point … draw a line in the sand … Because art can pull the plug on despicable myths … activate new propositions and stories … celebrate life … acknowledge loss … Because – to borrow a phrase from Chilean feminists – it can contribute to the task of preserving the species … Because what is typed – or sung or made or performed or played or painted – can outlive the dictator, the censor, the copper, abductor, the bureaucrat, the Reverend Mother, the legislator who tomorrow might outlaw your need, your poverty, your race, your language, your union, your love for your wife.” 

The event raised issues on how we heal site of conscience, what is the role of communities, of art and what are our responsibilities as custodians of place, history and of each other? As the conversations progressed the importance women’s agency and healing for women in the past, for women in the future became apparent. Together we are finding new ways that will support models of artistic development, creating spaces and mechanisms for intimate engagement and collective action.

Stay tuned for our next planned events.

Image credit: Cass Hannagan