BY APRIL LEUNG
Shopping malls are a portal into surreal worlds that carry the nuanced stories of loss and resilience from the Chinese diaspora.
“No Foreigners “is a multimedia performance by Chinese diaspora creators in Toronto that meditates on North American Chinese shopping malls as spaces of cultural creation and clash. Multiple storylines begin in a mall and quickly diverge—catapulting us across cities, between Cantonese and English, in and out of the afterlife, through past, present, and future. Running from September 17 to 29, the show is a Hong Kong Exile and fu-GEN Theatre Production presented by The Theatre Centre in Toronto, Canada.
The project is an opportunity to highlight artists of colour, particularly Chinese artists, who still struggle to be represented in Toronto’s theatre scene because of a lack of diversity in larger houses and theatres, said April Leung, performer and co-creator of the show.
“I think we are currently at a point where media is slowly recognizing Chinese and Asian voices. But I think it’s always still important to be able to share our stories on a local (and) national level,” Leung said. “It’s been very exciting to be a part of an all Chinese creative team and cast, because there isn’t a need to fight for space and voice – we all get it.”
Weaving together text, miniatures, digital backdrops and live cameras, “No Foreigners” examines our changing relationships to these social spaces and the histories, characters, experiences, and ephemera that keep inviting us back. The show is a collaboration between ground-breaking Vancouver interdisciplinary super group Hong Kong Exile and Governor General’s award-winning playwright David Yee of fu-GEN Theatre.
“It was important for us to start from the point of (view of the) Chinese diaspora because that’s the language in which we are able to create from, as we all have connections to being Chinese,” said Milton Lim, co-creator of the show. “We then wanted to extend beyond this and connect to others with these stories.”
CHINESE DIASPORA CREATORS:
Created by: Natalie Tin Yin Gan, Milton Lim, Remy Siu, and David Yee
Performed and co-created by: April Leung and Derek Chan
Direction: Milton Lim
Text: David Yee
Miniature design: Natalie Tin Yin Gan with April Leung and Derek Chan
Projection and sound design: Milton Lim and Remy Siu
Media apparatus design: Remy Siu
Cantonese translation: Derek Chan
Production manager: Maria Zarrillo
Tour management and agent: Dani Fecko, Fascinator Management
WHEN: September 17–29, 2019.
WHERE: BMO Incubator for Live Arts
1115 Queen Street West
Toronto ON M6J 3P4
WATCH: Buy Tickets Here
“An interdisciplinary innovative wonder…a nuanced, layered and exceedingly clever look at the diasporic experience.” – Globe & Mail
“Sleek, futuristic and oddly soothing.” – NOW Magazine
“Bursting at the seams with interesting ideas and cool ways of presenting them.” – Georgia Straight
About April Leung
April Siutong Leung is a performer born in Toronto, Canada and raised in Hong Kong. While in Hong Kong, she fell in love with the performing arts through school and outside productions, playing roles such as Dorothy from Wizard of Oz, Gabriella from High School Musical, as well as Rusty from Footloose. She returned to Canada and attended the Theatre and Drama Studies program at the University of Toronto and Sheridan College where she graduated with a Honours Bachelors of Arts and an Acting Diploma. Since then, April has been working with, and at, companies such as Carousel Players, Soulpepper Theatre, and Fu-GEN Theatre Company, and has branched out to playwriting, currently working as part of Factory Theatre’s Workroom Residency, and is a part of Solar Stage’s inaugural Dawning Series. She is also very happy and honoured to be nominated as part of Cahoots’ 30 For 30 Theatremakers, a group of theatre artists who will shape the next 30 years in Canadian theatre. Visit her website here.