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Yellow Earth to relaunch as New Earth Theatre Company

The British East and South East Asian (BESEA) theatre company is celebrating its 25th anniversary

Artistic director Kumiko Mendl

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Yellow Earth Theatre will relaunch with a new name alongside a plethora of planned digital and outdoor shows.

As part of the work planned, 17 new digital short plays will be live-streamed today from 12pm. The playwrights involved are Andrea Ling, Carmina Bernhardt, Enxi Chang, Jeongeun Choi, Jimin Suh, Kevin Shen, Lao Lee, Lucas Chih Peng Kao, Marie Yan, Megan Cowley, Naomi Sumner Chan, Nemo Martin, Phoebe Tsang, Rogelio Braga, Stephen Hoo, Susan Hingley and Zoë Bullock.

Furthermore, the venue will work with the "Signal Fires" project to present a walking tour production, Beyond Chinatown, through Manchester on Saturday. The piece will feature work from In-Sook Chappell, Chris Shapiro, Megan Arnold, Jasmine Chong, Houmi Miura, Anna Nguyen, and Mei Yuk Wong. It will also be available via Zoom on Sunday.

Artistic director Kumiko Mendl said: "Today marks a new chapter for us as we celebrate our 25th anniversary as New Earth Theatre. Over the past 25 years our company has been a leading voice in presenting British East and South East Asian stories, empowering our artists and our audiences as well as providing opportunities and pathways into our industry; and will remain at the heart of what we do.

"New Earth Theatre is a moment of reset for our company at a time of great change for many. No one could have predicted what this year would bring, and despite its challenges across our industry and globally we have responded and adapted quickly. We created an emergency BESEA freelance hardship fund, we delivered our professional writers and academy programme online and we've discovered new theatrical territory, creating blended digital and live work through our commissions; our New Stories festival of 17 short plays and a performance-led walking tour of Manchester with Signal Fires: Beyond Chinatown.

"The future of theatre is very much changing and evolving as we begin the path back to live performance, and we look forward to the integral part we can play in creating a stronger future with BESEA voices and stories being heard and told for generations to come."

Alongside a brace of new commissions, the company is working on the ongoing 18-month project, Tsunagu/Connect, in time for the Japan-UK Season of Culture next year. The piece will tell oral histories from Japanese women living in the UK, with augmented reality and immersive storytelling elements.