A collective of leading actors, writers, directors and creatives of East and South East Asian heritage from the UK’s performing arts industry will be joining forces online next month to present a new digital arts event titled WeRNotVirus. This urgent artistic response aims to shine a light on the surge in hate crimes** directed towards the community during the Covid-19 crisis.
Supported by the Arts Council Emergency Fund, WeRNotVirus features 10 newly commissioned stories delivered using a variety of art forms including film, poetry, dance and song. The themes explore race, identity, representation, perspective and economics through the lens of East and South East Asian artists and their communities.
Directed by award-winning Young Vic New Genesis fellow and associate director Jennifer Tang (THE Young Vic, RSC, THE ROYAL EXCHANGE, Hampstead Theatre) and Anthony Lau (NATIONAL THEATRE, THE ROYAL COURT, NUFFIELD SOUTHAMPTON, INK – WEST END, ALMIEDA), the performances will be streamed over two days on the 13th and 14th June via Zoom.
WeRNotVirus is presented by Moongate Productions founded by Daniel York Loh and Jennifer Lim (Forgotten e?-a?? ARCOLA, Theatre Royal Plymouth). Producer Jennifer Lim (also actor, filmmaker and activist) said: “During a time when there has been a growing rise in hate crime against diasporic East and South East Asian people it is vital that we are given a platform to amplify our voice. Thanks to the Arts Council, who have recognised the pressing need to respond strongly and creatively,
WeRNotVirus aims to kickstart a movement which helps to break down the mystery and fear by putting our stories out there and making our voices heard.”
The line-up of writers include award-winning writer, actor and film-maker Daniel York Loh (The Good Immigrant, THE ROYAL COURT, NATIONAL THEATRE, RSC), poet Will Harris (ES magazine’s ‘new guard’ of London poets, poetry fellowship – Arts Foundation 2019) and Amber Hsu currently working with the RSC (BBC, THE ROYAL COURT, ORANGE TREE, NATIONAL THEATRE STUDIO).
A panel discussion with leading academics and activists will round off the performances each day and audiences will be invited to participate.
** Since the emergence of the Covid-19 crisis there has been a tripling in reported anti-Asian hate crime. From January 2020 to March 2020 attacks on East Asians and South East Asians have risen 21% with over 260 crimes reported to the UK Police to the Home Office, compared with 360 for the whole of 2018 and 375 in 2019.
To book your place visit https://www.omnibus-clapham.org/oto-we-r-not-virus/
Photo credit: Emilie Chen