OTHER [chinese] (New Zealand)
1 Mar 2020 - 31 Dec 2021
What is Chinese? What is being Chinese?
What is not Chinese?
Experience live documentary theatre.
Real people. Real stories. Really.
OTHER [chinese] is a live, documentary theatre project that investigates the multiplicity of Chinese identity – because being Chinese is not a singular, homogenous thing.
This large-scale community performance work invites participants to explore the complexity of contemporary, diasporic Chinese identity, examining the everyday lives and experiences of Chinese people in their local area. Volunteers participate in a series of storytelling forums and performance workshops, connecting to a wide spectrum of ages, genders and backgrounds to discover what it is to be Chinese in their community, here and now.
Together, participants respond to a range of local and global issues, revealing converging - and conflicting - perspectives. These sessions are a chance to reflect on the many intersecting aspects of identity that make us unique. They are encouraged to consider, beyond the box they tick, what ‘qualifies’ their Chinese-ness. In addition to workshops, OTHER [chinese] interviews prominent figures from the wider community, documenting the local narrative of migration and settlement in the area.
Audiences gain insight into this process in an 80-minute theatre performance, facilitated in real-time by Alice Canton. Set against the backdrop of interview footage and clips from popular media, the show accommodates every participant and contributor onstage, weaving together live storytelling, games and ensemble movement.
As well as challenging the many forms of cultural misrepresentation and invisibility that exists around Chinese identity, OTHER [chinese] ultimately questions our relationship to indigeneity and the first nation people of the land. We have all witnessed how easy it is for the desire to belong to teeter and slip into a neo-colonial agenda of ‘laying claim’ to a place: how can we become ‘from’ here, without re-enacting the violence that is historically embedded in the gesture of trying to belong?
Best Show of 2017 - Metro Magazine
Excellence Award for Overall Production - Auckland Theatre Awards 2017
Hackman Cup for Most Original Production - Auckland Theatre Awards 2017
“OTHER [chinese] is something that New Zealand needs. It’s a testament to Canton’s skill as a storyteller and facilitator that the show, and its accompanying workshops, convey a strong sense of empowerment through the affirmation of personal experiences. And this is something that we have been waiting a long time to see.”
– Amy Weng, The Pantograph Punch
“OTHER [chinese] is educational, gentle and filled with off-the-cuff humour…increases cross-cultural understanding (elsewhere, sometimes a solemn goal) and does so in a fun and enjoyable way.”
– Janet McCallister, NZ Herald
"Resisting the politics of cultural authenticity and putting people, not performer, centre-stage, this was our show of the year"
- Metro Magazine