Living Now

In 2018 Malthouse Theatre and Footscray Community Arts Centre continue their partnership through the LIVING NOW program. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body, and the Malcolm Robertson Foundation. This program supports visionary storytellers to bring culturally contemporary stories to the stage. Now in its second year, the program provides a residency and development opportunity for two writers from diverse backgrounds with an interest in theatre.

Malthouse Theatre and Footscray Community Arts Centre are thrilled to announce the latest two recipients of the Living Now residency. Congratulations Vidya Rajan and Ra Chapman!



Vidya Rajan is an emerging writer, comic, and performance-maker working across devised/written performance, comedy, the screen, and the page. Recent works include The Fallout (Lonely Company), Genesis (Red Stich), Last Night (WAYTCO), DeAr BeLoVed, A completely unified theory of you+me (TiNA), Aaaaunty(ASIATOPA), The Shubaratnams (VCA), Asian Ghost-ery Store (Griffin Batch Theatre Fest 2018, Melbourne Fringe Award 2015) and Friendquest. Vidya was the 2016 Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow and has a Masters in Writing for Performance (VCA). She has trained and performed extensively in improvisation and sketch in Australia and the States.

In 2017 Vidya was selected for a Room of One's Own Residency with the Women's Circus, Melbourne Festival's Director's Lab Program and Westerly's Emerging Writer mentorship program. She has recently worked with ABC Comedy, Theatreworks (associate artist program) and is a 2018 recipient of Screen Australia's Developing the Developer initiative. Outside of the arts, she has worked primarily in community law and welfare advocacy.

Ra Chapman

Ra Chapman is an actor, theatre maker and writer. Awarded the 2018 Wheeler Centre Playwright Hot Desk fellow and selected for the 2018 Cinespace/Film Victoria Story Lab Program. Ra is an alumni of the 2017 Besen Writers Group at Malthouse Theatre, a dramaturgical intern for Cybec Electric at MTC and attended the CAAP/STC Directing Workshop in 2016. Most recently Ra has been selected to participate in the two-year CAAP/MTC Director’s Initiative.

Ra is a Korean Adoptee with strong ties to the adoption community in Australia and Korea and works closely with local inter-country adoptees on various advocacy projects. She is the Victorian Equity Diversity Committee Representative and is committed to changing the landscape of our industry.

2017 Living Now Resident Writers

Tania Cañas

Tania is Melbourne-based theatre maker and researcher.

Her one-scene monologue script Untouchable was published through Currency Press Australia in 2013. She performed this script at ACMI as part of the RISE REFUGEE festival later toured this in the USA as part of the Mixed Roots Conference in Chicago, DePaul University and Performing the World Conference in NYC.  She has workshopped further scenes with PWA and FCAC since.

Her scene Three Angry Australians was produced as part of Apocalypse Theatre Company’s ASYLUM season in Sydney. Most recently she was commissioned as part of Vessel Theatre and the Arts Centre to write a 600 word script for the Play for Australia program, presented as part of the Fringe Festival 2016.

For the last three years Tania has been working with RISE and NMIT to develop a series of theatre workshops with students who are recent migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Tania was a participant in Melbourne Theatre’s Company’s Women in Theatre program and an MTC Connect Ambassador. She is also an alumni of Malthouse Theatre’s Besen writers program.

Rajith Savanadasa

Rajith was born in Sri Lanka and now lives in Melbourne. His first novel Ruins was published in 2016. Ruins was shortlisted for the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction in 2016 and longlisted for the ALS Gold Medal and the Indie Book Awards in 2017. Rajith also runs Open City Stories, an oral history project documenting the lives of a group of asylum seekers in Melbourne.

​He’s currently working on his sophomore novel, Another Name for Gold, slated for publication with Hachette Australia in 2018, and the next phase of Open City Stories.

Living Now was made possible through the support of the Malcolm Robertson Foundation and the Australia Council for the Arts.