Maria Tran has always been a fighter. Growing up on a steady diet of eighties action movies and martial arts, Maria followed in the footsteps of her idols Jackie Chan, Donnie Yen, Michelle Yeoh and Cynthia Rothroc to become one of Asia’s leading action film stars. But, back in her home country of Australia, she faces a very different fight.

Filled with world-class stunts, weapon-wielding and explosive choreography, Maria’s jaw-dropping fighting skills leap from screen to the stage in this live action solo performance. Directed with nuance and wit by Karen Therese, Maria’s compelling story pulls back the layers of Western culture to battle ideas of gender stereotypes, identity, politics and racism in one woman’s journey to be recognised in a world of staggering opposition.

Prepare for combat in this blockbuster story of struggle, adversity and kung fu.

Performer/Co-Devisor Maria Tran
Co-Performer/Co-Devisor Therese Chen
Director and Script Development Karen Therese
Choreographer Larissa McGowan
Co-Choreographer Lisa Griffiths
Sound Design James Brown and Jack Prest
Video and Stage Design Zanny Begg
Lighting Design Karen Norris
Associate Artist Takashi Hara
Dramaturg Kate Armstrong-Smith
Project Assistant May Tran/Tammy Dang
Producer PYT Fairfield

Maria Tran – Performer/Co-Devisor
Maria Tran is an actor, filmmaker and martial artist working across video, performance and action choreography. Her international film credits include Roger Corman’s Hollywood movie Fist of the Dragon, Chinese mixed martial arts movie Death Mist and Vietnamese blockbuster Tracer. Maria won the 2013 Breakout Female Performer at the International Action on Film Festival & 2016 Female Action Performer of the Year, MartialCon for her role as director/producer on female-led action comedy Hit Girls. In Australia, she appeared on ABC’s My Place, Maximum Choppage, Channel 10’s Street Smart as well working as a stunt attachment on Jackie Chan’s movie Bleeding Steel.

Kaz Therese – Director and Script Development
Kaz Therese is a queer interdisciplinary artist and cultural leader with a practice grounded in performance, political activism, and community building. Kaz grew up on Darug land in Mt Druitt, Western Sydney, and was previously the Artistic Director of PYT Fairfield, establishing a dynamic new arts program for the Western Sydney region. Kaz directed the Helpmann nominated Playlist (premiered 2018), UnWrapped, Sydney Opera House (2019). Other works for PYT include Tribunal presented at PYT Fairfield, Griffin Theatre, Museum of Contemporary Art, ArtsHouse Melbourne, Sydney Opera House and CarriageWorks (2018 Sydney Festival); Women of Fairfield in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art, which won the Sydney Myer Arts & Cultural Award (FBiSMAC) for Best Arts Program (2016) and Funpark (Sydney Festival 2014). They are a recent graduate of the 2019 Australia Council Cultural Leadership program.

Larissa McGowan – Choreographer
Larissa McGowan began her dance training at the Queensland Dance School of Excellence (QDSE), where she won the Queensland Ballet Scholarship to the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA). In 2008 she was named Associate Choreographer by Garry Stewart, and also Co-choreographer of Habitus (Adelaide Festival 2016). In 2003 she won the Green Room Award for Best Female Dancer, and in 2004 she won the Helpmann’s Best Female Dancer in a Ballet or Dance Work and the Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Dancer. Choreographic credits include Zero-sum (WOMADelaide 2009), Slack (Sydney Dance Company’s New Breed season, Sydney Opera House and remounted for Link Dance Company 2012), Transducer (Tasdance’s double bill ‘Voltage’ and remounted as part of Co:3’s premier launch), Australian Dance Award nominated Skeleton (2013 Adelaide Festival, Dance Massive, Dublin Dance Festival), Fanatic (on Sydney Dance Company, for Spring Dance, Contemporary Woman and toured nationally as part of SDC’s triple bill season De Novo) and Mortal Condition (Adelaide Festival Centre 2016, Adelaide Fringe Festival 2017).

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

Image credit: Anna Kucera