Kampung Bali is a small community nestled under Bukit Batu, 'Stone Mountain', in Central Borneo (Kalimantan Tengah).
This lovely community of Balinese people and their neighbors strives to preserve their own traditions and skills of both the indigenous people, as well as later settlers. The wider area includes Dayak, Balinese, Javanese, and other ethnic groups.
To this end, the Balinese Hindu Association has built a rudimentary performance space. Our idea is to work with them to upgrade this into a small theatre to allow a variety of presentations and greater sharing among locals, as well as a venue to offer performances for the growing eco-tourism market. The little theatre is to be called Theatre Maya.
Theatre Maya is named after Maya, a British woman who lived in Central Kalimantan for a number of years and who, shortly before passing away last June, asked to have her ashes buried in Kampung Bali. This was done in July 2019, on land owned by her twin sister close to the theatre. In her youth, Maya worked with all the major bands in the music industry, as tour manager, promoter, and producer. Later she was involved in any number of cultural projects and endeavours, give her support and enthusiasm where she was. Many have loved the idea of a little theatre bearing her name, in the rural forests of the Kalimantan she loved.
The marvelous synchronicity of this - 'Maya' is a Sanskrit word, Hindu doctrine, meaning illusion, but in the way it is used in every religion, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism: the false 'reality'. But Khrisna added that this Maya, this illusoriness of the world can lead us back to recognizing the truth, the permanence of the soul and our connection with the Creator and with each other. Our theatre is wishing to use illusion in this way.
Several of us who live near and in this community have undertaken to raise funds for this project, which could be game-changing for the local community, allowing the expression of local talent, the preservation of myths and legends of the area, and the creation of professional productions for tourists visiting the orangutans and other natural sites in the area.
Funds will be used to provide a basic theatre lighting system, a sound system, an extension of the existing stage, alterations to the seating area, comfortable seating and the construction of large draw-down, sound and light buffering blinds for the side walls. These additions will create a simple and inviting theatre environment allowing an audience of up to 60 persons to enjoy performances in comfort.
The Balinese Hindu Association who built and owns the hall is very open-hearted to the surrounding community and wishes to see the hall used by other parties to expand mutual understanding and strengthen community bonds. The area is host to hundreds of poor transmigrant families seeking a better life, and social problems are on the rise. It is felt that the 'Theatre Maya' concept will give new and wider opportunities to otherwise disenfranchised youth in the area.
The Palangkaraya-based theatre group, ITBT, will also bring their expertise and performances into the mix, allowing youth from a variety of backgrounds to create workshops and learn from one another.
Opening performances could be scheduled as early as February of 2020. For this reason, it is hoped that funding can be in place by early January to undertake the upgrade.
my role. I have a post-graduate degree in Community Theatre. I have worked with community theatre in Adelaide and during the Festival Fringe in which I have had two productions. years ago I worked with the team managing La Mama Theatre, Adelaide. Here in Borneo I have lived for many years in Kampung Bali my and have supportive contacts within nearby NGOs and community development groups in the area. I see this as an astounding opportunity to create something truly special and will be making every effort to see this into fruition.
It should be noted that this area was once swept into the absolute horrors of the ethnic war of 2001. Thousands were literally beheaded in the surrounding areas, 15,000 homes were burned down, over 200,000 people were forced to flee the province, becoming refugees in their own country.
The return to peace has meant a re-evaluation of what it means to be human, what real brotherhood means, what human love and forgiveness can accomplish in healing a society.
Theatre Maya wishes to be a temple for this brotherhood, bringing forth opportunities for new magic and peace and acceptance and mutual love between diverse people.
- Mansur Geiger
- Samuel Hull
- Doug McCallum
- Sheldon Ditmar-Jansse
- Subud Melbourne
Fundraising team: Team Maya (3)
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