The Rhinoceros Opera concept was developed by
LIBRETTIST, CONCEPT and RESEARCH – Indija N Mahjoeddin
Indija Mahjoeddin is an Australian-Indonesian writer/performer/theatremaker whose performance practice has consciously engaged her Sumatran heritage with a particular focus on music theatre drawing on the epic poetics of randai, a Sumatran folk opera tradition she first studied at Padangpanjang, Indonesia. Since returning to Sumatra under the Asialink residency program (2007), Indija’s work has been supported by ANPC conference (2004), published in Three Plays by Asian Australians (Playlab/QUT 2000) and referenced in Australasian and International forums (NTQ 2004, ASEASUK 2005 and ADSA 2004). Her inaugural mainhouse randai was The Horned Matriarch: Story of Reno Nilam, (Brisbane 1996, revised for Sydney Carnivale&SOCOG Olympic Arts Festival 1998). Mr Stupid (Pak Pandir and his Waterbuffalo) for young people toured throughout Australian schools from 1998 – 2006. The Arthurian Randai Project (Wollombi, 2003) and The Ballad of Boldenblee (Newcastle 2004) both engaged regional communities in the randai making process. Indija also wrote the libretto of the choral work, The Hornets Nest (composer Mark Dunbar) for Canto Coro (2002) and in 2006 produced, directed and performed in the premiere season of her ‘chamber randai’ The Butterfly Seer at Carlton Courthouse. Since then she has taken time out to complete her Master of Creative Arts thesis “Randai as a Contemporary Dramaturgy: Obstacles and Insights from an Intercultural Transposition” (University of Newcastle) completed in 2011.
Grants, funding & professional scholarships awarded since 1989 have included study and travel grants, creative development and production, community cultural development, commissions, mentorships and a performing arts residency. These have been awarded by Australia Council’s Music, Theatre, PAB and CCD funds, State Ministries (SA, NSW, QLD),Brisbane City Council, Asialink, Chalwyn Bequest, Aust Indonesia Institute as well as grants devolved through other agencies.