Fresh Angles Series: Talya Chalef and Space(s) of Theatre

Talya Chalef is an independent theatre-maker working in multidisciplinary visual performance work and is currently based in New York City where she is pursuing her MFA in playwriting within Columbia University's School of the Arts. She grew up in Cape Town but was based in Melbourne for the past seven years where she completed the Graduate Animateuring (theatre-making) program at the Victorian College of the Arts (2004) and devised new performance works Site (2006, nominated in the Victorian Green Room awards), In Other Words (2007- Melbourne and 2009, also nominated in the Victorian Green Room awards) and Eyton Rd. (2009, Melbourne and Cape Town). 

In 2007, the University of Minnesota invited Talya to speak about her performance project site on an international heritage sites panel. That year Taya co-coordinated the South Project's art gathering in Soweto, South Africa. In 2008 she was awarded an Ian Potter travel scholarship along with the inaugural Gwandalan award through La Mama theatre, to research site-specific arts practice within Europe whilst developing performance project Eyton Rd. Eyton Rd. premiered in Melbourne in February 2009 and subsequently toured to Cape Town's Infecting the City Festival.

In October 2010, Talya was invited as a visiting artist to take part in the  Spectral Traces Symposium hosted by Virginia Tech. Current projects include: Terror Town, an adaptation of Our Town in Minneapolis with company Skewed Visions (June 2011), development of Port Cities - a new international performance project (May 2011) and dramaturgy for the Tinner Hill Audio Walks project. 

Talya is a recipient of the Besen Family Foundation arts award, the Australia Business Arts Foundation Cultural Trust award, the Dame Joan Sutherland Award, the Albert Nerkin Scholarship and is a Columbia University Dean's fellow.

Further Resources

Talya's Website

Talya's Creative Works on Red Bubble

Interview Date: January 17, 2011

Written and Produced by: JK Fowler (

Music By: David Last (Album: The Push Pull)

J. K. Fowler is an adjunct professor in the sociology and anthropology department at Rutgers University Newark, the founding and managing editor of the nomadic sojourns creative collective based in Oakland, CA and Brooklyn, NY, a full-time editor, and a doctoral candidate at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.