Faiza Mardzoeki is aplaywright, theatre director, producer, and activist.
Since 2003 she has divided her residence between Indonesia and Australia. Since 2002 till the present day, Faiza has initiated and produced nine theatre productions, some of which she wrote by herself.
Faiza has apassionate love for the performing arts, especially theatre.When traveling, catching a performing arts production is on the top of her list. She has watched several Broadway and Off Broadway productions in NewYork, and observed a Norwegian theatre company prepare and stage a production. Other places where she has watched a performance includes Amsterdam, Berlin, Denmark, Singapore, and Australia. She is especially fond of international performing arts festivals with participants hailing from different parts of the world.
Faiza’s love for the art of theatre started in 1992 when she joined theatre rehearsals with Wiji Tukul (a missing poet who was kidnapped by the Orde Baru government) and factory workers. Several years later she rehearsed with Ratna Sarumpaet of Satu Merah Panggung in the 1996 production of Pesta Terakhir. Faiza is convinved that theatre is a creative labor process that is capable of enlightening the actor and the audience with a new understanding of social issues and other problems of humanity.
Most of Faiza’s performing arts activities are motivated by her desire to speak up about women issues in Indonesia and raisesociety’s awareness and concern for them. In every opportunity, Faiza is prepared to collaborate with men and women, establishing better bargaining power for women, including in the world of art it self.
In addition to theatre, Faiza is also active in women movements. Between 1997 and 2002 she worked for Solidaritas Perempuan- Women’s Solidarity for Human Rights. In 2002 she and several friends co-promoting gender rights and equality through culture and arts. Through Institut Ungu Faiza has initiated the Festival April, a women’s cultural art festival held in April, in conjunction with discussion activities.
Faiza has experienced many international forums of art and women, among others The Women Play wrights International Conference in Stockholm (2012), International ibsen Festival, in Norwegia (2013), Study tour on Ibsen and visited Centre for Ibsen Studies, Oslo University (2011), Producer and writer for Nyai Ontosorh theater production in Amsterdam, Den Haag (Holland) and in Anwerpen, Belgium, commisioned by Thropen Theater Amsterdam (2010), one of speaker at The Brecht Forum of New York (2008), Women Playwrights International Conference in Jakarta (2006) and WCAR in Durban, South Africa (2000), Action Research Classin Chiang Mai, Thailand (2002), a two-women’s organization (2000), and CARAM Asia in Malasyia (2000).
In Australia Faiza participated in various seminars, including are search presentation of The Condition of Indonesian Migrant Workers Abroad by the Amnesty Internasional forum in Perth (2003), and initiated various cultural activities such as the Festival Film – Indonesian Films Corner – with Curtin University in Perth (2003).
She has subsequently conducted a study tour in Norway to study Henrik Ibsen and his works, courtesy of the Norwegian Embassy in Jakarta.
Faiza Mardzoeki’s Portfolio :
2014 – 2015
- In 2013, she was elected a member of the Jakarta Arts Council – int the Theatre Committee 2013 – 2015 period.
- October 2014 her Indonesian adaptation and production of Henrik Ibsen’s “Enemy of the People’ with the title Subversif!, was performed in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan. It was staged again at the Taman Ismail Marzuki main theatre in Jakarta in March,2015. Supported/Funded by Norwegian Embassy.
- In early 2013, she wrote, produced and directed the play “Silent Song of the Genjer Flowers”,(Nanyi Sunyi Kembang Genjer) researched in 2011-2013 in Jakarta, Solo, Yogyakarta, Sragen, Klaten, Semarang and the Plantungan women’s site as well as in libraries in the Netherlands. This text is set against the experiences and thoughts of several women who have been arrested, imprisoned and tortured and sexually abused as a result of political events ’65’ in Indonesia. This drama was staged to full houses in March 2014 and got avery good response from audience and media.
- “The Silent Song of Kembang Genjer” tells the story of five women, all now in their 7s or 80s. They were all victims of the political violence that was unleashed in Indonesia in 1965, The Army carried out imprisonment without trial, torture and rape as a part of a brutal terror against all the women of GERWANI, a mass women’s organisation accused of being radical, Apart from the sexual violence in the prisons, the Army also launched a systematic black propaganda campaign that lasted 33 years of Suharto’s rule. This propaganda depicted the GERWANI women as the lowest of the low, “sluts”, knowing no morality. Finally after more than a decade, on their release they were stigmatized with I.D. cards that showed they were former prisoners and that robbed them of many of their civil rights. Even their descendants and family were demonized as people “from an unclean environment”, and so it was hard for them to find a livelihood.
- Gave a presentation at Women Playwrights International conference, Stockholm, Swedia about “The Silent Song of Kembang Genjer”, 15-22 August 2012.
- Gave a panel discussion at Ubud International Writer Festival about adaptation of a play Nyai Ontosoroh that I wrote base on Pramoedya’s great novel “This Earth of Mankind”, October 2012.
- Producer of her adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House Rumah Boneka at Taman Budaya Bandung (Bandung Play House), April 2012.
- Produced, translated and adapted” A Doll’s House”, a play by Henrik Ibsen into Indonesian language, as Rumah Boneka.
2009 – 2010
- During 2009, I worked on the preparation of three projects which were realized in early, 2010.
(1) They Call me Nyai Ontosoroh ( theater project -‐ Playwright and Producer)
I wrote and produced a new, shorter, version of my earlier Nyai Ontosoroh (2007).
This project followed on negotiations I conducted with the Tropen Theatre in Amsterdam and the Tong Tong Festival in The Hague during a visit to The Netherlands in 2008. There was agreement for performances of Nyai Ontosoroh in The Netherlands, however a new version would be required as the original staging had a long duration (3 hours 20 minutes) and involved a large cast. I wrote a new version that could be performed with four actors and went for 1.5 hours.
As producer, I negotiated the contract for the performances in the Tropen Theatre for May, 2010 and at the annual Tong Tong Festival in The Hague, also May, 2010. The new version was also performed at an arts centre in the major city of Bandung in Indonesia and at Erasmus Huis, Jakarta, before departing for The Netherlands. The new version was called They Call me Nyai Ontosoroh. I worked with the same director and with some of the same 2007 task, by leading roles were taken by new actors in 2008. I took a team of ten to The Netherlands, including the director, four actors as well as musical and video art designers.The performances in The Netherlands, and also in Belgium, were successful, usually with packed houses. In the Amsterdam and Belgium performances, the performances received standing ovations. They were performed in Indonesian, with English sub-‐titles.
(2) Festival April, 2010 – a feminist art and cultural festival (founder, director festival)
In 2009, Institut Ungu, of which I am director, began work planning a 2010 Festival April, building on what we had done in 2003. This was successfully implemented in April 2010. The Festival comprised:
- an exhibition of photography by women on the theme of “Desiring the Body”
- traditional dance, including traditional dance forms recently banned in some areas as being too erotic
- theatrical and musical performances by women playwrights or directors
- public lectures on the state of the women’s movement
- screening of documentaries about current conditions faced by women
- screening in factory worker communities of feature films which had themes relevant to the plight of women
The festival was attended by approximately 2,000 people and received good media coverage.
(3) ‘Nora Sister’s: The Future of Acehnese Women: Toward a Community of Solidarity and A Doll ‘House Play” (writer, producer and project director of seminar)
I also produced and adapted for performance excerpts from Henrik Ibsen’s “Doll’s House” as part of a seminar held in Aceh, Indonesia on women’s advancement. The seminar was sponsored and funded by the Norwegian government. I was also overall coordinator for the seminar event itself. It was attend by 200 people.
In 2010, I also produced a theatrical performance based on an adaptation of material from the letters of Kartini written at the turn of the twentieth century. Kartini was Indonesia’s earliest advocate of women’s rights. The performance was called: Surat-‐Surat Kartini (The Letters of Kartini).
During 2009, I have been a resource person and advisor for the “All Sumatra Women’s Theatre Stage”, commenting on gender and theatre, especially in regard to writing and directing. The
program is being coordinated by the well-‐known theatre group, Teater Satu, based in Lampung, Sumatra, Indonesia.
- Women Seize the Night (Drama Monologue Project-‐ Writer and Producer)
In 2008, I produced and co-‐wrote three short plays, each written to be performed by a single, woman actor, under the theme Women Seize the Night. These plays were performed together in three capital cities in Indonesia during: Jakarta, Banda Aceh and Bandung. The Jakarta production was performed in Jakarta’s main theatre venue. They received wide critical acclaim in the Indonesian media.
- Brecht Forum, New York: Nyai Ontosoroh presentation.
While visiting the United States in 2008, I was invited to make a presentation on my play Nyai Ontosoroh at the Brecht Forum in New York.
Nyai Ontosoroh (Theater Project-‐Plawright-‐Producer)
In 2007, I wrote an adaptation as theatre of what is considered the greatest Indonesian novel Bumi Manusia (“This Earth of Mankind”) by Pramoedya Ananta Toer. I was producer for a major performance of this play in April, 2007 under the title, Nyai Ontosoroh (The Concubine Ontosoroh). It was performed in the Graha Bhakti Theatre, the largest theatre in the Jakarta Arts Complex. It involved a total production team of 125 people, and 25 actors.
More than 1,000 people attended each performance. It was widely reported and discussed in the national media. The major national daily, Kompas, declared it at the end of 2007 as the iconic theatre work of 2007. As producer, I carried out all executive producer tasks, as well as raising all funds for the production, from local private donations and funding from international funders. The Jakarta production was under the banner of Institut Ungu.
In addition to writing and producing, the Jakarta production of Nyai Ontosoroh, I co-‐ordinated efforts to arrange the production of my adaptation in seven other provincial capital cities in the same year. Local theatre companies which were interested were brought to Jakarta to workshop the script. These local directors and actors then produced their own versions during the course of the year.
In November 2006, I had been invited to the “International Women Playwrights Conference” held in Jakarta, to make a presentation session on Nyai Ontosoroh.
Women Theatre Scenario Competition
I was also the coordinator of a jury judging play scripts that took up the issue of the situation of women in Indonesia. This was part of the Women Theatre Scenario Competition, Justice for The Poor, World Bank Project.
In 2004, I lived in Perth.
- Organizing and Programming Indonesia Film Corner co-‐operation with Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia.
- Gave a paper presentation at Amnesty International Conference on Domestic Violence I gave paper on “Indonesian Women Migrant Conditions Abroad’.
- Gave a paper in a forum “Activating Human Rights and Art”. Human Right Centre, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia.
Festival April -‐ Women’s arts and cultural festival, April, 2003
In 2003, together with a number of colleagues, I established the Institut Ungu, a collective for the production and encouragement of the use of the arts for raising feminist consciousness. As Institute Ungu Program Coordinator, in 2003 I had overall coordinating responsibility for organisation of the Festival April, a three week long cultural festival of events by and/or about women. The Festival was held in the main arts location in Jakarta, the Jakarta Arts Centre. It was called Festival April, choosing April as a regular time slot, to commemorate the birth of
Kartini, a woman who pioneered activities for the advancement of women and girls at the turn of the 20th century. Her posthumously published writings are considered the first feminist writings by an Indonesia woman. She was born on April 21.
The program included a Fine Arts Exhibition of 48 women artists from around Indonesia as well as 2 from Finland. It also included a Women’s Film Festival that exhibited 32 films from around Indonesia and the world. There was also a Women’s Literary Festival involving book exhibitions and a series of public forums, and writing classes. The Festival also included a day-‐long seminar on Art and Women’s Liberation as well as a closing evening event, involving a Cultural Oration by two leading literary figures and musical, dance and other performances.
Apart from coordinating the organisation of all aspects of this festival, I also had responsibility for coordinating raising the finds for this event. Sources of funds included cultural and women’s funding organisations, the Dutch and Finnish cultural assistance programmes and commercial sponsorships.
The festival was attended by more than 5,000 people and was well covered by the Indonesian media.
Peace concert -‐ July, 2003
Representing, the Institute Ungu, I co-‐ordinated the production team for a Peace Concert for Aceh scheduled for July 11. This involved liaison with popular music bands, other musicians, as well as well known literary figures and the preparation and coordination of the programme.
More than 1,000 people attended this 23 hour concert in Jakarta’s main theatre in the Jakarta Art Centre complex.
April, 2002 -‐ Woman at Point Zero (Perempuan di Titik Nol)-‐A theater Project
In my capacity as head of Division on Education and Organisation of the leading national women’s rights organisation, Solidaritas Perempuan, I initiated the project to produce a theatrical adaptation of the Indonesian version of Women at Point Zero, the novel by Egyptian writer, Nawal El Saadawi. I held the positions as Co-‐Producer as well as Executive Producer of the performance. I had responsibility for coordinating all fundraising and financing efforts, publicity and media relations as well as all aspects of production, including daily oversight of direction and rehearsals.
Women at Point Zero was performed in April 2002 to commemorate the birthday of Indonesian feminist pioneer, Kartini. More than 2,000 people purchased tickets to attend the performance over two nights at the Jakarta Arts Centre’s premier drama theatre. The performance was extensively reported by the national media and a vigorous debate on feminist issues was generated as a result of the pre-‐production and post-‐production publicity and discussion.
- Active in theatre arena at Taman Ismail Marzuki, including in the PAS theatre
- Member of the Satu Merah Panggung theatre group under leading director, Ratna Sarumpaet.
- “Polygamy is a form of violence against women”, published in The Jakarta Post, July 2003
- “INDONESIA: Fight broadens against anti-women laws “, with Max Lane, published in Green Left Weekly, 15 March 2006
- “Govt ignores Indonesian debt slaves’ plight “, Opinion, published in The Jakarta Post– August 24, 2002
- A film review ” Muladee” film published in Women Journal, and others reviews on website com (in Indonesia language)
- “Wajah TKI kita, budak yang tergadaikan, Sinar Harapan, 2002 (about Indonesian Migrant Workers in Indonesian language)”Govt ignores Indonesian debt slaves’ plight “, Opinion, published in The Jakarta Post– August 24, 2002
Other work and community experience
Employment: 1997 until November 2002
Perserikatan Solidaritas Perempuan (Women’s Solidarity for Human Rights)
I worked as Head of the Education and Base Organising Division of Perserikatan Solidaritas Perempuan (Women’s Solidarity for Human Rights), and organisation advocating women’s rights, migrant workers’ rights and otherwise working to advance the position of women in society.
My work included organising local community groups of migrant workers and their families in those villages where large numbers of people have become migrant workers outside Indonesia. This also including organising training programmes about how to organise as well as taking up advocacy of relevant issues at a national and international level.
I have represented the organisation in delegations to the relevant cabinet Minister, Parliamentary Committees and national and international conferences.
Community and other Activities
- Participated in a 2 week Shelter Exchange Programme in Malaysia
- Participated in a Post Trauma Counseling Syndrome training programme organised by the Australian Embassy in Jakarta
- Participated in training programmes on lobbying at the United Nations organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Indonesia
- Presented a paper at the Regional Conference on Action Research on AIDS and Mobility held in
- Participated in the Regional Steering Committee meeting on CARAM (Action Research on AIDS and Mobility) and a training programme on Action Research methods in Chengmai, Thailand
- Participated in a one month training and familiarisation programme with women’s organisations in the Philippines, including visiting villages where large numbers of people have left to work outside the
- Attended and presented a seminar paper at the Conference on Discrimination, Racism and Xenophobia (WCAR) in Durban, South The paper was on “Racism and Modern Day Slavery among Migrant Workers”.
- An active participant in many seminars, including as a speaker, on women’s issues, especially in relation to violence against women and also migrant Also active in many campaign networks on these issues.
- An active participant in 4 feminist training courses organised by Solidaritas
- Carried out short-term research on trafficking in women on the island of Batam, a transit location for migrant (1999)
- Carried out action research in Canjur, Kerawang Lumajang and Salatiga, four areas supplying migrant The focus of the research was the impact on the villages of the migrant worker phenomenon.
- Implemented training programs in villages sending large numbers of migrant workers out of the The training courses covered issues such as their basic rights, how to organise and issues relating women’s rights and situation.
- Carried out advocacy work in the media (press, radio, TV) and with government relating to the deportation of migrant workers from Malaysia to the Indonesian island of Nunukan, Carried out brief field work on Nunukan into migrant worker deportee (2002)
- Field organiser in the Yayasan Maju Bersama, a foundation promoting the rights of factory workers.
- Participated in training programmes in labour issues
- Attended an Asia Australia Worker Links conference in Melbourne in 1993