The first Asian Playwrights Meeting was held in 2009 in Tokyo, and the second one in 2011 in Melbourne. This Yogyakarta edition is the third edition in 2019, after an eight-year gap. The Asian Playwrights Meeting 2019 is initiated by the Indonesia Dramatic Reading Festival (IDRF) and the Umar Kayam Foundation. The goals of the meeting are to develop a network of Asian playwrights and theatre workers, and to develop a better understanding between artists in the region. The programme consists of public play readings and discussions. The Asian Playwrights Meeting 2019 is supported by The Japan Foundation Asia Center, Badan Ekonomi Kreatif (BEKRAF), Teater Gardanalla, Teater Garasi, Pascasarjana ISI Yogyakarta and IFI-LIP Yogyakarta.
The Indonesia Dramatic Reading Festival is a platform organized since 2010 by Joned Suryatmoko, Gunawan Maryanto, and Lusia Neti Cahyani. IDRF presents new plays by Indonesian and foreign playwrights, read in Bahasa Indonesia by actors. This platform is intended to give an opportunity for playwrights to introduce their plays to public, in the form of dramatic readings. IDRF’s goal is to distribute new plays to the Indonesian public, and to introduce various forms of theatre touching on diverse themes. For the last nine years IDRF has featured around 30 plays, and some of them have been staged by theatre companies in Indonesia. The organizational structure of IDRF is collaborative and runs on volunteer manpower.
The Umar Kayam Foundation was founded in 2006, led by Kusen Alipah Hadi. The foundation started as the library collection of the late Umar Kayam, a prominent figure in Indonesian modern culture between the 1970’s up to the 2000’s. The Foundation’s goal is to continue Umar Kayam’s tradition as an intellectual who was actively involved in the arts community and who was a strong advocate for modern art development in Indonesia. The Umar Kayam Foundation is now a meeting place for people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds to develop a vision for Indonesian modern art and culture.