Eight (八) is a most auspicious number in Chinese, so it seems appropriate for us to pull out eight must-see events as the final instalment of our China Changing Festival approaches.
The idea of the festival is to showcase some of the brilliantly innovative contemporary art and performance from China, as well as its creative connection with the UK. It features visual arts, music, dance and plenty of debate and conversation – including plenty of free events.
The acclaimed singer-songwriter presents a show combining performance and music, telling the story of her first visit to China. Although Emmy is half-Chinese, she was surprised every day by the country she discovered.
In this show she is joined by Dfu, a musician, sound artist and practising Buddhist from the city of Xiamen, where he runs Thank You Cafe. This event is a great chance to hear about contemporary China from a figure at the centre of music culture and someone trying to understand a culture she both is and is not a part of.
Cheng puts his unusual childhood growing up in Britain with Chinese parents at the heart of Best Dad Ever, which was a sell-out at the Edinburgh Fringe this year. He was studying maths at Cambridge University when he decided to pack it in for a career playing online poker, so Cheng is not short of real life material.
The finale of China Changing Festival is a spectacular performance, curated by Academy Award-winning costume designer Tim Yip (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon).
Through costumes created by up-and-coming fashion designers, music, film and narration, we explore themes of identity, migration and environment, from the point of view of London’s young citizens. And it’s all free! Don’t miss our Cloud Video Installation as well as free fashion workshops curated by Mei-Hui Liu.
Discover the story of Tou O, an abandoned child, a widow and finally a wreaker of vengeance. In this famous play, dating back to the 13th century, corrupt officials wrongly convict Tou O of murder and as she faces execution she puts three curses on the town where she will die.
This influential work is brought to life with film, live music and a cast of 10 performers including award-winning Ding Yiteng, who also wrote and directs the show. Born in 1991, he has twice been nominated for the Most Promising Young Chinese Theatre Artist of the Year (2015 and 2016).
Contemporary dance infused with hip-hop moves become an embodiment of Chinese calligraphy in this politically inspired piece. It is set in a place where writers can find themselves banned, their reputations hanging on the testimony of friends – or enemies. And yet the word retains its explosive power.
Red Detachment of Women, a ballet from the Chinese Cultural Revolution, is choreographer Wen Hui’s starting point as she builds up a critical panorama of the tumultuous period in this mixed-media performance. RED acts as a live documentary, with the physical bodies on stage telling the story through dance and movement, accompanying videos and archival footage. Featuring people who were directly involved or affected by the original piece, this autopsy of a 20th century ballet becomes a living and lived archive.
Eavesdrop on a British-Chinese family as they talk to each other in this innovative theatre piece written by Ming Ho, where the audience enjoy refreshments at a pop-up cafe, sitting adjacent to the actors and listening in on the action through headphones.
At its heart is a mother Linda Lo, and her conversation with her son, Jun Chi, and her daughter, Jane. Through their words, we get an insight into generational differences and cultural identities, as the characters grapple with what it means to be British Chinese, and if they are citizens of the world – or citizens of nowhere.
On Sunday 7 October join us for a day of interesting panel talks and discussions on a wide range of topics affecting contemporary China.
There’s discussion about feminism; insights into the writer Jin Yong – sometimes described as ‘the Chinese JRR Tolkien’; a look at China’s role in tackling global warming; and an examination of contemporary sci-fi novels. Access to all these events is only by buying a day pass, so don’t miss out!
China Changing Festival takes place from Thursday 4 – Sunday 7 October. There are many other events in the programme, for full listings visit the webpage.