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Yellow Earth Theatre Relaunches As New Earth Theatre

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New stories. New terrains. New theatre.

Yellow Earth Theatre Relaunches As New Earth Theatre

As they celebrate their 25th anniversary, British East and South East Asian (BESEA) theatre company Yellow Earth Theatre relaunches as New Earth Theatre.

To mark the occasion, they will stage both virtual and outdoor performances - including their New Stories digital short play festival; a short film Duck Rabbit by Pamela Carter in a co-commission with Chinese Arts Now; a phone call performance Homeward (house) Bound by Stacy Makishi in association with HOMEmakers; and Beyond Chinatown: A British East and South East Asian Guide to Manchester's Past, Present and Future, a performance-led outdoor walking tour through Manchester as part of Signal Fires.

Artistic Director Kumiko Mendl today said, "Today marks a new chapter for us as we celebrate our 25th anniversary as New Earth Theatre. Over the past 25 years our company has been a leading voice in presenting British East and South East Asian stories, empowering our artists and our audiences as well as providing opportunities and pathways into our industry; and will remain at the heart of what we do.

"New Earth Theatre is a moment of reset for our company at a time of great change for many. No one could have predicted what this year would bring, and despite its challenges across our industry and globally we have responded and adapted quickly. We created an emergency BESEA freelance hardship fund, we delivered our professional writers and academy programme online and we've discovered new theatrical territory, creating blended digital and live work through our commissions; our New Stories festival of seventeen short plays and a performance-led walking tour of Manchester with Signal Fires: Beyond Chinatown.

"The future of theatre is very much changing and evolving as we begin the path back to live performance, and we look forward to the integral part we can play in creating a stronger future with BESEA voices and stories being heard and told for generations to come."

New Earth Theatre presents


On 30 October streaming from 12pm

New Stories is a free digital short play festival which will be livestreamed across New Earth's social media channels today, 30 October at 12pm. Comprised of seventeen short plays written by playwrights on the Professional Writers Programme, and brought to life by over 60 BESEA freelance theatre-makers, the themes include inter-country surrogacy and the bonds that tie us outside the white view, to reality TV cyberbullling and being queer as an East Asian.

The playwrights are Andrea Ling, Carmina Bernhardt, Enxi Chang, Jeongeun Choi, Jimin Suh, Kevin Shen, Lao Lee, Lucas Chih Peng Kao, Marie Yan, Megan Cowley, Naomi Sumner Chan, Nemo Martin, Phoebe Tsang, Rogelio Braga, Stephen Hoo, Susan Hingley and Zoë Bullock.

Beyond Chinatown: A British and South East Asian Guide To Manchester's Past, Present and Future is a performance-led outdoor walking tour through Manchester, taking place on Saturday 31 October. It begins at the restaurant Sweet Mandarin in the Northern Quarter with an excerpt from New Earth's 2018 play Mountains - The Dreams of Lily Kwok by In-Sook Chappell. There follows a torch led audio walk, written by disabled artist Chris Shapiro and guided by performance artist Megan Arnold; leading onto new short pieces by Jasmine Chong, Houmi Miura, Anna Nguyen, and Mei Yuk Wong. The production completes its journey with a performance by New Earth's Manchester Performers Academy 2020. There will be a digital presentation via Zoom on Sunday 1 November.

Beyond Chinatown is produced by Grace Ng-Ralph and Anna Nguyen with dramaturgy by Naomi Sumner Chan and direction by Nickie Miles-Wildin and Kash Arshad.

The production is supported by The Lowry.

New Earth Theatre Presenting Three Further New Commissions

  • Digital film Duck Rabbit by Pamela Carter was launched on 14 October in a co-commission with Chinese Arts Now, an imagined exchange between the playwright's two grandmothers prompted by a series of photos.
  • Chang and Eng and Me (and Me) by Tobi Poster-Su, will be premiering in February 2021 as the second digital co-commission with Chinese Arts Now.
  • Homeward (house) bound by Stacy Makishi in association with HOMEmakers, is a one-to-one phone call during 5-7 November helping participants ride the second wave of COVID-19.

Four additional new plays are also in development as part of the Professional Writers Programme, which sees BESEA playwrights develop their craft over two years.

Finally, New Earth Theatre presents Tsunagu/Connect - an 18-month project launched at the start of this year for the Japan-UK Season of Culture. With the help of volunteer interviewers, Mendl and performance artist Kazuko Hohki have begun to gather oral histories from Japanese women living in the UK, to be presented in 2021 as part of an exhibition and live immersive performance incorporating augmented reality. It will bring to life the stories of these women and dismantle the stereotypes of being submissive, stay-at-home, model wives and mothers.

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