The Confucius Institute for Scotland was delighted to welcome back to the capital the extraordinary, award-winning theatre group, Hand Made In China who appeared at Spotlites Theatre from 14-28 August.
Fringe First Award winners two years ago, this year’s mesmerising production –“Chinese Women’s Whispers” – is one that weaves together the story of three generations of Chinese women with the story of ‘nushu’, an ancient, secret, written language evolved by Chinese women and never shared with men.
Through narrative, poems, songs and dance the fascinating story behind this hidden writing offers a contemporary perspective on a woman’s role in society while exploring notions of femininity and masculinity from both a Western and Eastern perspective.
The Hand Made In China cast is assembled from participants in Hua Dan workshops for migrant women workers, a Beijing-based social enterprise that uses the power of participatory theatre as a tool to empower migrant women and children.
Performers from the Hunan Jiangyong Centre for Nushu also feature in the show, delivered in both English and Chinese, using subtitling when necessary.
Institute Director, Professor Natascha Gentz, said: “We are so pleased they have accepted our invitation to return for Fringe 2016 where they will share more of the Hua Dan women’s experiences, asking themselves what their roles as wives, daughters, mothers and modern women are in China today.”
More about Hua Dan
Hua Dan (www.hua-dan.org) is a Beijing-based social enterprise that uses the power of participatory theatre as a tool to empower migrant women and children. Hua Dan operates a model of training and employing the migrant women themselves to deliver programmes in their communities, enabling them to be competent performers, workshop leaders and project managers. To date Hua Dan has worked with over 25,000 people across China and are now scaling their model into other emerging markets through our sister entity, Scheherazade – www.scheherazade-initiatives.com.
Nüshu ( 女书 ) – literally “women’s writing”. It is a syllabic script, a very different variation of Chinese characters that was used exclusively among women in Jiangyong County in Hunan province of southern China. A symbol of female empowerment and a significant force in reduced suicides in the regions where it was practiced, it’s beauty and artistry provide a powerful backdrop to the stories of the Hua Dan women being explored on the stage.