Natasha Phillips, 26 January 2014

I wanted to call this session as there is and has been a lot of talk and interest

surrounding this particular relationship between artists and organisations. I myself

being a quarter Chinese and I was born and grew up in Asia, am really excited about

this potential and the opportunities and want to take one of the many batons that exist

and bridge this gap between UK and China. There is SO much opportunity and

incredible potential! I'm personally extremely excited about the amount of opportunity

there is out there and there is I feel a huge gap particularly with this in the UK in

comparison to other countries. Australia is an example where they are putting a lot of

money into funding artists to develop relationships with China artsits so there is a

vibrant cultural and artistic exchange that is exploding down under. Likewise, over in

China and Hong Kong, people are curious and intrigued to know and learn about

theater and the arts in depth and the momentum is growing. Now is the time to do it!


I have first say say a big thank you to Bill Aitchison who convened the first UK & China

Arts meeting at Birckbeck University on the 2nd November 2013. There was some

really interesting discussions and projects occurring from both artists and art

organisations who have worked in China (Helen Crouchman) or who are working in a

Chinese context. Bill has a performance at Rich Mix on Friday 31st January called

“The Customer is Always Wrong”


Here are some of the things we spoke about:

- the film industry appeases China, does theatre? not the entire time… should it

though? No. Why should it?

- What do the Chinese people want? What does China want? What is it that they want

to see on the stage? Where can we find this out! Do we need to be there to find this

out? Yes! How else are we going to know?

- Censorship. China won't fund work the work of Nobel Peace Prize winner Gao Xing

Jian. The Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xizobao is in jail.


- a joint venture with China to tour work which informs content

- UK companies (“The Animals and Children took to the Street” by 1927 took this to

China and HK- thank you Jo Crowley and Eleanor Buchan) and don't know what or

how to format their work to the audiences who loved the show.

- Translation is an issue. Sometimes there is no word for something that we have in


- White wash and cutting work. Is this detrimental to the work. Fuck it!

- the vibe in the arts organisations in China is strong… but very strange.

- Co-productions are tokenistic ~ how to integrate the 2 performance companies.

- Linguistic issues conceptually are tricky.

- In order to bring work there, you have to work with a production house. Is that the

only way in? It's really hard to navigate into otherwise.


- What role does theatre have in China? It is missing!

- HK and China- an international Festival!

- Residential exchanges. Way in and way to get them out here.

- There is a DEMAND FOR WORK in China!!! But will we get an audience? YES!! but

is it seen as a unnecessary luxury and too expensive? Same in the UK really…

- Stuff that is happening conceptually is underground in China. There is a huge culture

of this.

- Mainstream theatre in China is conventional. Here the same again!

- there is a lack of collaboration- very compartmetalised but there is a huge market.

- what are the official channels? Once you're there it's definitely easier.

- Licenses in China are ‘safe politically’

- What can the UK Arts sector do to enable relations? (money and realisation please..!

Not saying they haven't realised at at,, but there needs to be more)

- Does China just to learn from the West? Then they'll eventually do it themselves?

They do have 1.351 billion people…

- through individuals, residencies and just be there and set up resources. There isn't


- “Chaos Britain” (TV Series)

- the wealth of individuals want to and are happy to give us money! What angels!!

There are benefactors interested i funding.

- is there a cross-over?

- Festival of work to bring Chinese artists and companies over. Lets set it up!!

- manageable scale where we can afford to be experimental- there is a disconnection

that can be challenged

- the East Asian film Festival

- Manchester has a vibrant exchange with Chinese artists

- PRS (Performing Rights Society)

- The Albany- Yam Yam Festival. Starts next week (30th Jan)

- FOOD is a major gateway as the culture of food is key in China. Let's go for dinner!

and lets make work in this context because there is a huge advantage there. Food and


- Trigger (co founded by Angie Bual) is based in China and they provide creative artist

residencies in rural China

- Creating networks and starting dialogues

Thank you thank you thank you to all who came! Speak to you soon.


Potential, opportunity, Exchange, Jo Crowley, Hong Kong, Eleanor Buchan, China,

Asia, 1927, Trigger, potential, UK, relationship, Hunger, Opportunity, Bill Aitchison,

exchange, Relationship, Australia, Chinese