Culture clash explored in Belgrade world premiere
Under The Umbrella, Belgrade B2, Coventry, Mar 2-16.
To mark the start of the Year of the Pig 2019, the Belgrade has lent a special Chinese edge to its programming over the next month or so, building up to the world premiere of a play examining the opportunities and dilemmas of a young woman caught between two cultures.
Under The Umbrella tells the story of Wei, a student studying for a PhD in Coventry, whose family in China have traditional expectations of her as a young woman in need of a husband.
While she pursues her studies and thinks about making a life for herself in the West, her mother and grandmother, unbeknown to her, have pinned her dating profile on to an umbrella and taken part in a parade at the Marriage Market in Guangzhou. At 27, they believe, she's almost on the shelf and needs a helping hand to avoid it.
Written by Amy Ng and directed by the Belgrade's own Justine Themen, the play features a lavish set and original music, combining exciting theatricality with story-telling, and will be heading out on a national tour after its Coventry run.
The build-up to Under The Umbrella begins on Tuesday, February 12, with a special taster session of Tai Chi, led by Coventry University's Confucius Institute. On Monday February 18, the theatre will host a special screening of last-year's cinema hit Crazy Rich Asians, while the Confucius Institute returns with another Tai Chi session during the theatre's half-term open day on February 20.
On Friday, February 22, a panel of artists and theatre industry experts, including Amy Ng, will explore issues around the under-representation on stage of people of East Asian heritage, and finally on Thursday, March 7, the University of Warwick's Language Centre will offer an introduction to Chinese culture and the Mandarin language.
Tickets for all these events (all but Under The Umbrella are free) from the Belgrade box office on 024 7655 3055 or www.belgrade.co.uk