British East Asian play tours to Hexham

Peter Lathan

British East Asian play, Mountains—The Dreams of Lily Kwok, written by In-Sook Chappell, directed by Jennifer Tang and co-produced by Black Theatre Live, Yellow Earth Theatre and Royal Exchange Manchester, is to tour to Hexham in May 2018.

The story of the three generations of women behind the famous Manchester restaurant Sweet Mandarin and based on Helen Tse’s family memoir, the play tells how Helen, who had grown up in the UK but always felt a piece of her story was missing, visits her mother’s birthplace in Hong Kong for the first time, determined to find out who she really is and where she belongs. There she meets her grandmother, Lily Kwok, and steps into her past, discovering shocking family secrets that will change her life forever.

Mountains—The Dreams of Lily Kwok is the first major mid-scale tour of a British East Asian play. It is the seventh Black Theatre Live show following the autumn tour of Big Foot, Britain’s first all-black Hamlet, new play She Called Me Mother, one-woman show The Diary of a Hounslow Girl, Inua Ellams’s An Evening with an Immigrant and Macbeth. The show will tour the consortium’s eight venues across England, which have come together to commission and showcase theatre from BAME companies.

The show will include live cooking onstage and at selected venues there will be a pre-show cooking demo from Helen and her sister Lisa.

Black Theatre Live is a national consortium of eight regional theatres led by Tara Arts, committed to effecting change for BAME touring theatre through a three-year programme of national touring, structural support and audience development. Black Theatre Live is a partnership of Tara Arts, Derby Theatre, Queen’s Hall Arts (Hexham), the Lighthouse (Poole), Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, Theatre Royal Margate, Stratford Circus Arts Centre (London) and Key Theatre (Peterborough). It works with emerging and established BAME companies across England to commission and tour productions to the consortia theatres.

Mountains—The Dreams of Lily Kwok opens at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre on 22 March 2018 and comes to the Queen’s Hall in Hexham on 24 and 25 May.

It will also visit Stratford Circus Arts Centre, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, Lighthouse Pool, Peterborough’s Key Theatre, Margate Theatre Royal, Derby Theatre, Watford Palace Theatre, Sheffield Crucible and Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, where the tour finishes on 2 June.