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SACU and Meridian Society Annual Tour Announcement

This year SACU is arranging the annual China tour, which we take turns in organising, this year mainly to Beijing, Xian and Shanghai.

Please click here to download the itinerary.

Please click here to download the booking form.

Joint Meridian Society-SACU event, organised by the Meridian Society

The Meridian Society is organising a couple of events to follow the AGM of our affiliated society, the Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding (SACU). This will take place on Saturday 16th July 2016 starting at 2 p.m. The venue will be the Camden Chinese Community Centre, 9 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9SN (www.camdenccc.co.uk) - nearest tube station is Russell Square.

A film called ‘The Travelling Court’ will be shown, followed by a guided tour of an exhibition of contemporary Chinese paintings by Hong Ling, based on the traditional Chinese landscape style. Our guide will be Dr. Tian S. Liang, the exhibition’s co-curator. This exhibition is at the Brunei Gallery of the School of Oriental and African Studies (a ten minutes’ walk from the community centre). We will leave the centre as a group so no location details need be given here.

The programme timetable is:

  • 2pm – 3pm 'The Travelling Court' film show
  • 3pm – 3.30pm tea and biscuits
  • 3.30pm leave together for the Brunei Gallery. The guided tour will take about 40 minutes, but there will be a little more time to look around the exhibition on our own until the gallery closes at 5pm.

This is a free event, open to all, whether you are or not a member of TMS/SACU. Please register your interest in attending by emailing us at: themeridiansociety@gmail.com

N.B. We have use of the centre from 1 p.m. You are welcome to bring a packed lunch but there are no catering facilities on site (although tea and coffee are available). Please eat beforehand if not bringing a packed lunch.

There are many cafes, restaurants etc. in Marchmont Street and the Brunswick Centre – both near Russell Square tube station.

Film Information

The Travelling Court (Chinese with English subtitles; 45 mins)

Dealing with legal issues can be challenging in the more remote parts of rural China, where custom and tradition are firmly rooted. This is made more difficult if residents are too busy or unwilling to leave their villages. So when they cannot go to the law, the law must go to them. This documentary shows how a mobile court in the northwest province of Shaanxi handles the case of a farmer and his errant son and a woman who wants to divorce her disabled husband.

Exhibition Information

The exhibition at the Brunei Gallery at SOAS is a retrospective by the celebrated Chinese painter Hong Ling. The exhibition follows Hong Ling’s recent retirement from the prestigious Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), Beijing, where he taught oil painting from 1987.

A contemporary Chinese artist, Hong Ling’s work unites the distinct and delicate essence of traditional Chinese landscape painting with refined oil painting. He combines technical precision and ambitious breadth of scale and subject. Based in his purpose-built traditional artist studio on the magnificent Yellow Mountain in southern China, Hong has devoted 30 years to portraying this unique landscape on canvas. With influences ranging from J.M.W Turner to his own extensive travels across Asia, Hong Ling’s pictures express a honed sensitivity to the subtle transcendentalism of nature on a breath-taking scale, a contemporary reflection of the philosophical and visual concepts of ancient China.

Born in 1955 in Beijing, Hong Ling comes from a renowned artistic family, whose grandfather was the head of the Imperial Library at the National Palace Museum in Beijing. Hong studied oil painting at the prestigious Central Academy of Fine Arts in the 1980s and became one of the first Chinese artists in his generation to use the Western medium of oil on canvas to portray traditional Chinese landscape.

Hong Ling represented China in the Venice Biennial (1997) and is exhibited internationally from Shanghai to Paris. In recent years his works have been displayed in various permanent art collections in Asia, including the National Art Museum of China, Beijing, the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing, the JP Morgan Chase Chinese Art Collection, Hong Kong, and private collections in mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore and the UK. In 2011 his major retrospective exhibition Boundless Momentum was shown at Today Art Museum in Beijing and Zhejiang Art Museum in Hangzhou.

Note: Membership for the Meridian Society is an annual fee of £35 a year (£20 for concessions).

Date: Saturday 16th July
Time: 2pm
Venue: Camden Chinese Community Centre, 9 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9SN (www.camdenccc.co.uk)
Entry: Free event

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: themeridiansociety@gmail.com. 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
Time: 7:30pm
Venue: Finborough Theatre, 118 Finborough Road, London SW10 9ED
Entry: Members of TMS and SACU £14; Non-members £16 (concessions £14)

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