Between 8 and 9

An immersive live performance installation

Between 8 and 9

(Chengdu Teahouse Project)

A Chamber Made work in partnership with artists from the Sichuan Conservatory of Music

Co-presented by Castlemaine State Festival and Melbourne Recital Centre for Asia TOPA

This work was created by all artists involved in a collaborative process led by Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey.

Between 8 and 9 (Chengdu Teahouse Project) 八和九之間 (成都茶館項目) is a 60 minute sound installation created by Australian and Chinese artists featuring traditional instrumentation, new composition, electronics, sculptural design and vocal performance.

Intertwining ancient Chinese musical theory with ancient European spatial thinking, Between 8 and 9 is between Chengdu and Melbourne; between audience and artists; between a meeting room and a restaurant; and between music, sonic design, live art and performance.

As the audience you are seated at one of eight round tables with ‘Lazy Susans’ (餐桌轉盤 – cānzhuō zhuànpán). A voice calls from across the room. The table in front of you hums. A searing sound fills the room. A murmur of syllables flickers across the space. You turn to the sound. The sound turns to you. A sculptural musical score forms and re-forms at eight round tables, right before your ears and eyes. You are invited into a situation of choice, an oscillation, a rotation. What is the state of between 8 and 9?

The creation of Between 8 and 9 has evolved from a thematic exploration of teahouse culture into a reflexive meditation on the meeting of cultures, generations, languages and artistic practices.

“Never have I experienced an event like Between 8 and 9 … the impact of the event from the handing out of the first sealed envelope to the moment we left our seats was truly unique and brilliant.”

“Instead of nostalgic Orientalism, ‘Between 8 and 9’ envisions possible futures for Chinese music and opera. … ‘Between 8 and 9’ achieves artistic and philosophical excellence by engaging in subversion as a tool to imagine new ways of being.”

“… Chamber Made Opera and the Sichuan Conservatory of Music have triumphed in building this interactive stage for the communal contemplation of forms.”

“… the artistry speaks to us in both a personal and collective sense through cultural differences. It makes for a priceless experience.”

Read a long-form essay written by Andrew Fuhrmann in response to Between 8 and 9 here.

View the full program here.

View production photos here.


Green Room Association Awards
  • Winner Best Sound Performance in the Contemporary and Experimental Category
  • Nominee Best Production
APRA AMCOS Art Music Awards
  • Winner Excellence in Experimental Music
  • Nominee Choral Work of the Year

Background to the Chengdu Teahouse Project

In July 2015, sound artists Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey, vocalist Carolyn Connors, master Sheng player Wang Zheng-Ting and performance maker Felix Ching Ching Ho joined Chamber Made’s Creative Director, Tim Stitz, and Artistic Associate Christie Stott on a residency at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music. There, they joined forces with four local Chinese artists – all current students or recent graduates from the Conservatory – towards developing a collaborative method of composing a new work. After two weeks of intensive artistic sharing and musical exploration, the residency concluded with an impromptu performance in a teahouse on Chengdu’s Narrow Alley as well as an open workshop/rehearsal in the beautiful bamboo-rich Wangjianglou Park.

In 2016 the team continued its collaboration with the Sichuan Conservatory further developing the work via intensive workshop periods with Australian artists and a short rehearsal and development period in Chengdu. The specifics of the work began to take shape and Between 8 and 9 is the piece that has emerged from this extensive research and development.

Artists from Between 8 and 9 were invited to perform at the Sichuan Victoria Sister State Banquet in Chengdu in September 2016. Creative Director Tim Stitz attended this dinner along with five of the performers.

Between 8 and 9 is the result created from a multi-year international and intergenerational dialogue where multiple languages and idioms have been spoken, shared, played, crafted and performed. We were thrilled to host our Chinese collaborators in Melbourne and Castlemaine for the premiere seasons as part of the inaugural Asia TOPA, and then having the opportunity to perform with them in their home city of Chengdu.

This project has been made possible with support from the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body, the Ministry for the Arts’ Catalyst—Australian Arts and Culture Fund, the Australia China-Council of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Cultural Diplomacy Grants Program. The project is supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria. The creative development of this project was supported by a Playking Foundation Travel Grant and Darebin Arts, City of Darebin. Significant development support has been provided by Sichuan Conservatory of Music.

This project is supported by the Sidney Myer Fund and by Arts Centre Melbourne through Creative Victoria for Asia TOPA (Asia Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts).

Between 8 and 9 is the recipient of the Castlemaine State Festival George Fairfax New Theatre Award, supported by the Besen Family Foundation.

Asia TOPA is a joint initiative of the Sidney Myer Fund and Arts Centre Melbourne and is supported by the Australian and Victorian Governments

Between 8 and 9 has also been supported by the Australian Research Council and SIAL Sound Studios through the Agile Opera Project.