Shore to Shore
From Shore to Shore / Piao Yang Guo Hai
A multilingual work-in-progress piece written by Mary Cooper and produced by us #fromshoretoshore
Mary and co-writer Mimi Lam Webster will run a series of workshops and interviews with West Yorkshire residents from the Chinese Community recording stories in both audio and written forms, and in translation. As part of this, Mary and Mimi will work with Antonia Lovelace, Curator of World Collections, to use Chinese artefacts from Leeds Museums to stimulate discussion and writing. Drawing from these workshops, verbatim and scripted material will be used to create a multilingual work-in-progress performance at Oriental City in Leeds on 13th October 2015, around the time of the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival.
Award winning photographer and visual artist, Yao Zejun, will create the performance design.
The stories and creative writing will be ‘returned’ to the Chinese community as an online resource and printed pamphlet and Leeds City Museum and the ‘MyLearning’ website will have access to the material for future exhibitions and as a learning resource.
This work will lead to the development of a larger-scale theatre production to tour nationally to Chinese restaurants in 2016.
Background of the Project
‘I first became interested in telling the untold stories of my local Chinese community in 2010 when I was leading The Writers Pathway, a course for emerging Chinese writers run by the Chinese Arts Centre in Manchester, the Arvon Foundation and the University of Bolton. The extraordinary stories I heard and the diversity of voices within the Chinese diaspora made me realise how little I knew of the experiences of the Chinese communities in the UK. Despite being the fastest growing ethnic group in the UK, their stories and voices were largely invisible and unvoiced within the cultural mainstream. Writer and broadcaster, Mimi Webster-Lam, was a student on the Writers’ Pathway and, like me, felt that the time had come for these communities to be heard and seen. Five years down the line, I hope we can begin to do that.
Working with Freedom Studios, Leeds City Museum, the Confucius Institute, Chinese Churches, Leeds Chinese Community Centre and Leeds Chinese School we hope we can capture some of these hidden lives and do justice to the trust that’s been placed in us.’
Mary Cooper has written extensively for theatre, radio and screen. She has been commissioned to write more than 20 plays for theatre companies throughout England and Wales and has had seven single plays and a ten part series broadcast on BBC Radio Four. Her screenplays have also been broadcast on Channel Four and ITV. Her work has been nominated for a Sony Award, a DORA award in Canada, a Mental Health in the Media Award and the Richard Imison Award. Her short film Missing Out won Best Drama 2010 in the IVCA Awards and she has been a winner in the Granada TV New Voices competition. She also writes poetry, teaches at the University of Bolton and runs community writing projects. She’s never been to China – but lives in hope that one day she’ll go Shore to Shore herself.