East Asians face specific challenges which feed into the wider society and the cultural perceptions and acceptance of East Asians - unlike their Black, African, Caribbean and South Asian counterparts. We are unique in that although we are a minority (soon to exceed physical numbers of the Black community as a whole) we are still perceived and engaged with in a way “outside” of the umbrella that encompasses Black and Asian British.

Let me make this clear, even though Black and Asian communities have found a degree of integration and acceptance their situation is far from equal and all inclusive. That being said East Asians have yet to break through into the wider societal acceptance that other British ethnic minorities have done. One would be hard pressed to find stage works written by British East Asian writers about the “British” experience. Though there may now be more East Asian actors on stage - it is woefully low in comparison to other minorities.And on mainstream stages these figures can be counted on one hand.

This leads on to, the first session that I attended held by Kim Pearce - should the big theatres do plays about the British East Asian experience over doing plays about China? Yes, they should in an ideal world. If all was equal, if we i.e. British East Asians were afforded the same common courtesies and understandings that other British minorities receive. But we are not. East Asians are not yet perceived, let alone accepted as being “British.” In the group, it was raised that as writers we should just go away and write a piece irrespective of the subject matter. If the quality shines through then the writers will break through. Again in an ideal world, this would, of course, be true. But it is not an ideal world. It is not free from ingrained, subliminal racial bias which affects and permeates through all strata of society including culture which in turn informs and in some cases helps to formulate the wider society's view and behavior and how it interacts with the diversity in its midst.

So in order for British theatres to be staging plays with British East Asian themes, penned by British East Asian writers the mindset has to change. I personally maintain that at this present moment we are far from this stage. We have many steps to negotiate still. Things are much improved since 2013 and before. That change of course only came about because of the RSC and Zhao-gate.

But fundamentally attitudes within the creative industry about, towards and concerning East Asians have to fundamentally change as did attitudes in the late 70s,80s and early 90s regarding Black African and Caribbeans had to be changed.

The one thing that concerns me as a British East Asian is that even though as a minority group our critical mass is on the verge of exceeding and leapfrogging the physical numbers of the Black African and Caribbean communities - we as a group in British society are still by and large marginalised and ignored. It is still fair game to participate in the hideous artistic practice of Yellowface and Yellowvoice. Yet to blacking up and brownface illicit (and quite rightly) demonstrations of public outrage, questions in the house of commons and production being suspended. Not so for the equivalent when perpetrated against East Asians.

I suppose what I am saying is the optimum conditions for East Asians to thrive, progress and develop are not yet in place. We are moving, we have progressed but not enough. And it is I think partly beholden to established theatres and arts organisations to proactively become more aware of the disparity and the lack of diversity in this particular area. There are plenty of British East Asian writer out there, talented ones who just need that first break, who need that first initial injection of funding and practical assistance

Once we have the writers in place then we will have the vehicles in which the actors and creatives can thrive in. We will be able to pick up the thread and carry on from 2013 with productions that were on UK stages with, about and containing East Asian stories and actors. But hopefully, this content will have more concerning and about Britain from the British East Asian point of view.

However, I would say as long as producers, commissioners, ADs, Literary Associates, and CDs maintain what appears, to be a general misconception about East Asians then getting more British East Asian written content professionally produced will continue to be woefully lacking. Initiatives (such as they are) offering development for East Asian writers either need to be properly and adequately funded to provide financial support to the writers, with real substantive follow-up ie your play will go into professional production at the end of the initiative and or East Asian writers need to feel included and given the confidence to submit their work on a broader remit and those accepting submissions need to understand and appreciate what challenges such work might pose but also accept that unless British East Asian writers are fully brought into the BAME fold and added to and supported in writing and their writing becomes part of the BAME canon things will not in any real sense change.