Asia TOPA: The Red Detachment of Women

Asia TOPA (Triennial of Performing Arts) is Melbourne’s newest festival and seeks to showcase Australia’s connection with contemporary Asia. The festival is set to run from February to April across dozens of Melbourne’s key cultural centres. Imagine a feast of the arts: ballet, circus, dance and music just to name a few genres. If you’re looking to explore the program, I’d highly recommend a gander at the curated experience which has been compiled by those in the know.

My first foray into Asia TOPA was through a ballet epic, The Red Detachment of Women. The performance centres on a period in the 1930s during China’s cultural revolution where a slave girl, Qionghua, escapes from her despotic landlord and joins the Red Army. The core aspect of the tale is to focus on the perseverance and spirit of the Red Army, in this case, the role of women during that period. As with any performance depicting the revolution, there is a degree of controversy.

The ballet itself is spectacular. My plus one and I marvelled at the amount of effort that goes into a production like this. The orchestra, costumes, set design and of course the incredible performers. Over two hours and six scenes the ballet will leave you dazzled in the cacophony of colour and choreography. For mine, scene two depicting the training of the all-female special company was incredible with the vibrant set and costumes leaving me in awe.


It’s a very limited season ending on 18 February so get in quick if you haven’t already snapped up tickets.

– Rukmal
Co-founder of The Plus Ones, Rukmal lives and breathes events. 

Asia TOPA runs January to March 2017. View the full program.

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of the Arts Centre
Image Credit: Arts Centre