From April 22 to June 1, a series of plays from China werestaged in Scotland, marking a breakthrough in cross-cultural theatrical exchange. Secrets by Lin Weiran,Thieves and Boy by Hao Jingfang, and Fox Attack by Xu Nuo, were each translated into English and adapted by a Scottish playwright before being performed at Glasgow,Edinburgh and Bathgate theaters. The plays proved tremendously popular withspectators, and some shows even sold out on Monday nights, prompting even more attention from Scottish theatrical circles.
The New Writing Project
The idea of a season of New Playsfrom China originated at the 2012 “NewWriting Project” launched by Tian Qinxin,a theater director from the National Theaterof China and one of China’s foremost avant-garde theater directors, in hopes of discovering talented young Chinese play wrights.After attending the Edinburgh Arts Festival in 2011, Tian became inspiredwith a deeper understanding of the importance of playwriting. Thus, she decidedto launch a project aiming to foster young Chinese playwriting talent. Tian expectedto see excellent work from young Chinese writers through learning from advanced foreign writing experience and methods.The initiative was warmly received andgained support from many renowned Chinese scholars, including Mo Yan, winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature.
In October 2012, after three rounds of screening by a board split betweenChina and Scotland, a group of six exciting young writers was selected from over 150 applicants to develop new ideas.After workshops and residencies in Scotland fortwo weeks,three new plays were commissioned forthe season after extensive development and rewrites. Co-sponsoredby the National Theater of Scotland partnering with òran Mór Theater and the Confucius Institute for Scotland at the University of Edinburgh, the three plays were produced in Scotland as a season of New Plays from China.
A Glimpse of China
A good play is universal, capable of striking a chord in the hearts of spectators from any country. “I’ve been asking lotsof questions about what it’s like to live in China right now,” reveals Davey Anderson,a renowned Scottish playwright and curatorof the New Plays from China season.“These plays are the result–a few tinypeep holes into parts of China we don’to ften get to see.”