Shanggri-La by Amy Ng, Directed by Charlotte Westernra, Presented by Matthew Schmolle in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre and Yellow Earth Theatre.
“You like your minorities like your pandas – picturesque, cuddly, endangered, helpless. But I refuse to be a panda.
I refuse to go extinct. I want to live, to live well, to live like them, and if I have to -
- Break a few taboos?
- What are taboos but lines drawn in the sand?”
What happens when the only thing you have to sell is your culture? When the only way to free yourself is to betray your roots?
In a brave and personal piece of new writing Amy Ng lays bare the tensions, contradictions and private pain inherent in cultural tourism
- on the frontline of globalisation.
Shangri-La is not a myth. Shangri-La is a place. The Himalayan foothills of Yunnan Province was officially renamed ‘Shan-gri-La’
in a successful bid for the tourist dollar. Bunny, a young woman of the indigenous Naxi tribe, has witnessed her family’s livelihood
destroyed by mass tourism and the influx of capital. She dreams of escape - as a globe-trotting photographer. Nelson, her liberal Chinese
boss, reams of a new kind of tourism - sustainable, respectful, enabling genuine cultural exchange. Their white clients yearn for escape,
for the touch of something authentic. These desires collide head on in Shangri-La.
Shangri-La is Amy Ng’s first full length play. It was developed at the Tricycle Theatre and received a staged reading at Vibrant 2014, Finborough.
It is directed by Olivier-award winner Charlotte Westenra.
Playwright Amy Ng trained on the Royal Court Theatre’s Critical Mass Programme and the British East Asian Writers’ group supported by the Young Vic. Short
plays include Special Occasions (St. James Theatre, Arcola Theatre), and A Little Night Music (Bread and Roses Theatre, the Space). Staged readings include
Acceptance at Vibrant 2015, Finborough Theatre. Prelude to a Feast won the Oxford University Film Foundation competition for best short screenplay. Amy is
also a historian with a research interest in multinational empires, imperial decline, and nationality conflict, and the author of Nationalism and Political
Liberty (Oxford University Press)
Director Charlotte Westenra recently co-created the scenario for Christopher Wheeldon’s Strapless for The Royal Ballet. She studied drama at the
University of Manchester and trained at Augusto Boal’s Centre of the Theatre of the Oppressed in Rio de Janeiro. She was Resident Assistant Director
at the Donmar Warehouse 2004–05 and directed Kiss of the Spider Woman and Lower Ninth for the theatre, as well as working as Associate Director to
Michael Grandage for Frost/Nixon and to Jamie Lloyd for Piaf (Donmar Warehouse and West End). She went on to work at theatres including the Tricycle,
Trafalgar Studios and Sheffield Crucible. She is currently an Associate Artist at the Gate Theatre, where her productions include Sunset Baby.
Theatre elsewhere include The Return of the Soldier (Jermyn Street Theatre), Venice.
Following our Meridian Society tour to Yunnan last October, this play should be of special interest to the tour members, but also to others.
It covers much of the area of the tour, including the foothills of the Himalayas and the Tibetan culture from Dali to Lijiang to Shangri-La itself,
raising questions about the preservation of culture, religion and environment with ever-increasing tourism and modernisation.
An extra component to our group visit is a post-performance discussion with the playwright, Amy Ng, and actors.
We are planning to visit on Wednesday, 20th July. Please book by Monday, 6th of June by emailing us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. This is the deadline date for group bookings
The minimum for a group booking is 10 persons, so please reply promptly. Details of payment by cheque or bank transfer will be sent to those who book.
Payment deadline date: Friday, 10th June.
Date: Wednesday, 20th July
Venue: Finborough Theatre, 118 Finborough Road, London SW10 9ED
Entry: Members of TMS and SACU £14; Non-members £16 (concessions £14)