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Contemporary Asian Australian Performance

In between two

Written By Joel Ma and James Mangohig
Directed By Suzanne Chaundy

Two hip hop artists take to the stage to explore what it means to grow up Asian in Australia. A hit of Sydney Festival 2016, In Between Two is an autobiographical ‘slide night like no other’ based on the fascinating family histories of hip hop artists Joel Ma (Joelistics) and James Mangohig. Consummate storytellers and charismatic performers, this is a joyful and captivating show to celebrate our diversity and start conversations.

Image by William Yang

Music, photos and storytelling. It’s personal and universal like any good story should be. And besides, what are we all if not a collection of stories.

Joel Ma (aka Joelistics)

Growing up on a steady diet of rap music and rebellion, hip hop artists Joelistics' Joel Ma and ARIA-nominated producer James Mangohig are the first sons of mixed race marriages with Asian fathers. In this unique show they share the soundtrack of their mixed heritage - the Asian Australian stories that have shaped their musical careers and themselves.

Enhanced by rare home movie footage and archival photographs, In Between two traces the threads of history and family. So, where do we begin? For Joel, it’s his Chinese grandmother who at the age of 17 moved from Hong Kong to Sydney and went from selling fruit and veg in Haymarket to co-founding Sydney’s most infamous and glamorous night club. James begins with his Filipino father who wooed his mother across continents with letters and tapes, emigrating to Australia to work as a butcher before becoming a preacher.

In Between Two is about the stories they uncovered - Chinese gangsters, mad Aunts, Filipino boxer preachers, socialite murderers - and interwoven throughout, love and bravery and unbelievable fortitude.

Embraced by the Australian hip hop community, both Joelistics and ARIA-nominated producer James Mangohig are renowned for powerful performances and a soulful connection with their audiences.

In Between Two is a production of Contemporary Asian Australian Performance (CAAP) - previously known as Performance 4A. In Between Two premiered at Sydney Festival 2016 to critical and audience acclaim and later in 2017 will tour to Alice Springs, Darwin, Tennant Creek and Katherine with Artback NT and be presented at the 2017 OzAsia Festival (Oct 5 & 6) and the 2017 Melbourne Festival (Oct 11-15).


What has struck me most in the discussion around the development of this work is that this is an Australian story so far away from any other Australian story I’ve seen on our stages and is a true reflection of the multitude of diverse histories that make up our country in the 21st century.
Suzanne Chaundy


A thrilling hour of theatre and the best kind of example why a diverse cultural landscape … is essential.
The Music ★★★★½

To achieve a sense of cultural heritage but also to reconcile and be able to turn life into art with music and wit. The sooner In Between Two is restaged and widely so, the better.
Keith Gallasch, RealTime Arts full review

Real stories told by real people are always more profound and more powerful than fiction or metaphor…an enjoyable and significant work.
Julian Ramundi, AU Review full review

These stories serve to remind of the massive diversity amongst Asian-Australian communities and the way we’re all shaped by the family histories we carry around on our backs. But they’re also just fascinating stories, very well told.
Ben Neutze, Daily Review full review

A large part of the appeal is our fascination with other people’s family histories…
The Australian full review


Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, Mandurah 26 Feb - 27 Feb
Red Earth Arts Precinct, Karratha 2 Mar
Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre, Bunbury 7 Mar
Arts Margaret River, Margaret River 9 Mar
Albany Entertainment Centre, Albany 13 Mar
Frankston Arts Centre, Frankston 16 Mar
Geelong Performing Arts Centre, 20 Mar
The Art House, Wyong 26-27 Mar
Riverside Theatres, Parramatta 28 - 30 Mar
SUNPAC, Sunnybank 2 APR
ARC Darling Quarter Theatre, Sydney 4 - 5 Apr
Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre, Bathurst 9 Apr

Previous Tour

February to April 2019


Written, composed and performed by Joel Ma and James Mangohig
Directed by Suzanne Chaundy
Set Design by Eugyeene Teh

Lighting Design by Lucy Birkinshaw
Visual Design Jean Poole
Dramaturges Willian Yang and Annette Shun Wah
Producer Annette Shun Wah

If you are interested in touring get in contact!

Arts on Tour
02 8038 1880