CASE STUDY: HANAKO - Desire and other secret weapons

HANAKO was initially a work in development when Belloo Creative’s playwright Katherine Lyall-Watson attended APAM as a delegate in 2016.

While at APAM, Katherine struck up a pivotal relationship with an attending international delegate from Shizuoka Performing Arts Centre (Japan). Katherine introduced him to Belloo Creative's Caroline Dunphy who has an extensive history of training and practice in Japan. After this meeting, Shizuoka Performing Arts Centre was able to provide critical letters of support for grant applications and negotiations that led to the Brisbane Festival including HANAKO in their 2016 Program. As a result, HANAKO went from being a small indie work to presenting at a major Festival.

From the small seeds of the first APAM 2016 meeting, HANAKO garnered further success - with five Matilda nominations, and the inclusion of Belloo to be part of the Tokyo Performing Arts Market (TPAM 2017) Australia Council delegation.

Attending TPAM led to the development of two new international artistic collaborations with Japanese companies Idiot Savant Theatre Company and Setagaya Silk, alongside a connection to the Australian Embassy in Tokyo.

Belloo is now positioned with two bilingual Japanese Australian works for touring - in the lead up to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Critical Stages has also taken on HANAKO and is pitching it for touring opportunities in 2018-19.

Since APAM 2016 Belloo has:

  • Developed critical Australian and international relationships that have strengthened grant applications and presenting opportunities 
  • Presented a HANAKO season at Brisbane Festival 2016
  • Attended TPAM 2017


HANAKO takes the audience on a journey from old world Japan (including poems, songs and food) to a thrilling contemporary space with a DJ, live rock songs and martial arts’ inspired movement. HANAKO is a Western take on classic Japanese repertory including Zeami’s romantic Noh work Lady Han and Yukio Mishima’s Hanjo, woven together with contemporary voices, electronic music, boxing and Japanese urban myths.

The Australian and Japanese cast move between Japanese language and English, and between the different worlds of the original plays as they collide and each character fights, literally to the death, for their version of the story.

This is a dizzying and electric stage world—a post-modern farce about dominance and desire and the search for identity. While the stories at its heart go back decades and even centuries, HANAKO is of the now, driven by a young girl’s desire to write her own future.

About Belloo Creative 

Belloo Creative is an all-female, award-winning independent theatre company that produces original works for stage and film. Founded in 2013, Belloo explores new ways of firing the imagination and connecting stories with the human body. The company’s four core members bring decades of experience in cross-cultural work, performance-making, advocacy, teaching and mentorship. They have a strong track record in delivering nationally significant, award-winning new performance work.

Belloo is four women with decades of experience in theatre, film, writing and audience development: Caroline Dunphy (Co-Artistic Director); Katherine Lyall-Watson (Co-Artistic Director); Kathryn Kelly (Dramaturg); and Danielle Shankey (Community Engagement & Producer).

Belloo is committed to developing partnerships to present works nationally and internationally.

The company has co-produced work with Brisbane Festival, Queensland Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse and Critical Stages and toured to Queensland, New South Wales and Canberra. Bello values cross-cultural collaboration, risk-taking and rigorous process. They seek out partnerships - growing them into powerful relationships.

For more information on Belloo Creative or touring opportunities for Hanako please contact:             

Danielle Shankey | Producer                                     

Mobile: +61 400 900 927 | Email:        


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