China Changing|Southbank Centre|16 December 2016

2016-11-24 18:03:38 Southbank Centre

Come to Southbank Centre for a day-long launch of our new international festival China Changing.Our three-year festival showcases contemporary China and its creative influence and connections with the UK through cutting edge art and culture.

Experience the energy and diversity inspired by this dynamically evolving country on Friday 16 December through music, film, dance, comedy, performance, literature and free events. There are talks and new works by some of the most innovative artists practising in China today as well as leading and emerging British-based Chinese and South-East Asian artists.

From 5pm to 10.30pm, events take place continuously across Royal Festival Hall.

Visit for more information.


See China from young people’s perspective in this photography exhibition.

Now in its third year, the Young Photographers’ Competition aims to dispel the cultural stereotypes of China, by showing the vast country through the lens of young people’s photography.

Each year includes a home-based category, exploring China’s relationship with the United Kingdom.

See a showcase of selected images, in collaboration with the IOE Confucius Institute, that includes the winning photographs from the last two years.

Free event.

[Location] Level 2 Foyers at Royal Festival Hall

[Time] 10am – 11pm


We’re inviting schools to join us in celebrating a brand new festival exploring modern China.

On Friday 16 December, Southbank Centre invites secondary schools to join us on site to celebrateChina Changing, a festival that delves into China's creative connections to the UK.

This festival will be packed with creative workshops, discussions and performances including music, theatre, street calligraphy and a photography exhibition from the IOE Confucius Institutes Young Photographers' Competition.

Students will be inspired, informed and entertained as they come into contact with a diversity of experiences, perspectives and artistic encounters that reflect cultural nuances and cast aside stereotypes.

Bring 10 pupils (aged between 11 and 18) and one teacher to represent your school.

To book contact our Group Bookings line on 020 7960 4225, or email

[Price] £4 per pupil plus £2.75 booking fee. Free for accompanying adults.

[Location] Various spaces at Royal Festival Hall

[Time] 10am – 2.30pm


Hear music from the oldest and largest Chinese youth orchestra in Europe.

The Pagoda Chinese Youth Orchestra (PCYO) was established in 1982 by its former musical director Mr Kui Hsuing Li. The orchestra has been resident at the Pagoda Chinese Youth & Community Centre for the past 34 years.

The PCYO takes an experimental and audacious approach in its innovative music fusions with folk songs, reggae and hip-hop involved. Their collaborations include work with The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Jah Wobble and noted professional musicians from China and the USA.

Their high profile appearances have included performing for Her Majesty The Queen and HRH Prince Philip at the International Festival for Business 2016 in Liverpool.

The youth orchestra is continuously looking for new collaboration opportunities and exploring new ways of reaching larger and more diverse audiences.

Free event.

[Location] Central Bar at Royal Festival Hall

[Time] 1pm – 2pm


Limber up for this rare opportunity to dance with Hong Kong Dance Company’s top dancers.

Learn from Principal Dancer Pan Lingjuan and Senior Dancer Li Han, as they show the company’s contemporary approach to Chinese dance, drawing on elements of martial arts, tai-chi techniques and traditional folk dances.

The masterclass is suitable for experienced dancers aged 16 and over who are studying, recent graduates or emerging artists who are keen to learn new styles to influence their practice.

Booking is essential, please click here to secure your place.

[Price] £8 per person

[Location]The Clore Ballroom at Royal Festival Hall

[Time] 3pm – 4.45pm


Witness stunning moves from Hong Kong’s finest dancers in this free performance.

Principal Dancer Pan Lingjuan (lead dancer inThe Legend of MulanandL’Amour Immortel) and Senior Dancer Li Han (lead dancer inL’Amour Immortel) from Hong Kong Dance Company join us on the ballroom floor to share excerpts from the company’s repertoire.

Father and Daughter Duet fromThe Legend of Mulan

War has broken out and the Khan is conscripting an army. Mulan plans to dress as a man to join the army in place of her old father. Her father would not let Mulan take the risk but she insists. A heart-rending duet depicting the unconditional love between father and daughter.

Lovers’ Duet fromL’Amour Immortel

Nie Xiaoqian, a beautiful bewitching ghost, loses her heart to Ning Caichen, an honest, good-natured man, and resolves to save him from evil forces, even at the cost of her own afterlife. Spending the night at a temple, they wish dawn would never come. This timeless tale of forbidden love brings out the most beautiful of human values through the poignancy of a ghost story.

Free event.

[Location] The Clore Ballroom at Royal Festival Hall

[Time] 5pm – 5.15pm


Songwriter, DJ, multi-instrumentalist and producer Andy Leung entertains with three unique sets.


[Location] Central Bar at Royal Festival Hall

New Cola Remixed, 5.30pm – 6pm

New Cola Remixedis a solo remix project from Leung, combining extracts from his new albumNew Cola, which reimagines the erhu (traditional Chinese violin) for the 21st century. The performance also features a live remix of drum machines, synthesisers and improvisation.

Keys + Electronics, 9pm – 9.30pm

Hear new ambient work from the contemporary composer. Joining a new breed of classical composer with electronics, Leung returns to his clasical roots with the piano as the centrepiece. Listen as he explores modern piano playing techniques and the piano's relationship with electronics, accompanied with drum and noise machines. Immerse yourself in this lush, drone ambience.


A virtuosic re-imagining of Shakespeare's characters drawing on the classical techniques of Chinese Kunqu opera.

Zhang Jun, one of China's most popular performers, brings a retelling Hamlet in a one-man contemporary opera performance fresh from its Shanghai premiere, integrating voice and movement.

Created to commemorate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare and Chinese playwright Tang Xianzu (1550 – 1616), Zhang Jun, UNESCO Artist for Peace and one of China’s most renowned opera stars has created a piece that not only interprets the story of Hamlet, but also explores the inner world of Hamlet the man – the fierce inner battle between light and darkness, life and death, love and revenge. In this radical 75 minute re imagining, he plays four roles – Hamlet, Ophelia, the ghost of Hamlet’s father and the gravedigger, drawing on traditional Chinese opera characters known as Sheng (male roles), Dan (female roles), Jing (painted roles) and Chou (clowns).

Kunqu has a 600-year history and is regarded as the ‘Mother of Chinese operas’. It was proclaimed by UNESCO in 2001 as a masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

This performance finishes at 7.20pm, and will be followed by a 20-minute Q&A session with Zhang Jun.

Commissioned by Shanghai Performing Arts Festival

This performance finishes at 7.20pm, and will be followed by a 20-minute Q&A session with Zhang Jun.

Free event.

[Location] The Clore Ballroom at Royal Festival Hall

[Time] 6pm – 7.45pm

MOONGATE PRODUCTIONS:Re-imagining a West End hit

Dive into a world of 1930s glamour and cultural complexity in this play.

Through discussion with artists and cultural commentators, along with film and live performance excerpts, UK-based creative hub Moongate Productions embark on a contemporary reimagining ofLady Precious Stream.

A British-Chinese take on a classic Chinese play, they share insights into their research and inspiration for the work. From the fascinating original production by S I Hsiung that was the talk of London at its premiere, to discussion around its relevance for British audiences today, the event includes screenings ofLady Precious StreamandThe Orphan of Zhao Redux.

[Prices] £5, Booking Fee £1.75 (Members £0.00); Concessions, 50% off (limited availability)

[Location] Level 5 Function Room at Royal Festival Hall

[Time] 6.30pm – 7.30pm


What do you expect from contemporary Chinese fiction in translation?

Surprise yourself with this Book Club, as we introduce you to the highly original voice of Han Dong, through one of his best-known novellas,Gu Jiemin – A Life.

In the 1980s, Han Dong was best-known as a rebel poet, but has since reinvented himself, writing elegant and slyly humorous fiction. This novella explores a boyhood friendship between the son of an educated family and a village boy during the 1960s. But all is not what it seems, and as the story builds to its denouement, the reader is confronted with something much darker, the harsh reality of crime and (capital) punishment in China today.

Han Dong has won several independent prizes in China, and his novel,Banished, translated in 2008, was long-listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize. He has read in literary tours in the UK and Europe.

This Book Club event is presented by Nicky Harman, his translator.

This free event requires a ticket. You can book a ticket online, by phone or at Royal Festival Hall Ticket Office. No booking fees apply.

[Location] Level 3 Function Room at Royal Festival Hall

[Time] 7pm – 8pm


Hear Chinese novelist and screenwriter Yan Geling discuss her life and work.

Yan Geling, one of the best known contemporary Chinese novelists and screenwriters, was born in Shanghai and served with the People's Liberation Army, starting at 12-years-old as a dancer in an entertainment troupe.

Now she talks of her life, career and the joys and challenges of reflecting contemporary China on the page and on the big screen. She is joined in conversation with Tania Brannigan,The Guardianleader writer, who spent seven years asThe Guardian's China correspondent.

The evening also features readings from Yan Geling's most recent novel,Little Aunt Cranein Chinese and English, and show clips from her film,The Flowers of War.

[Prices] £5, Booking Fee £1.75 (Members £0.00); Concessions, 50% off (limited availability)

[Location] Weston Roof Pavilion at Royal Festival Hall

[Time] 7.30pm – 8.30pm


Celebrate the spirit and legacy of the Chinese Labour Corps (CLC) in these films and live performances.

100 years ago, the British and French armies recruited 140,000 Chinese men to work behind the Western Front. More than 5,000 died from shelling, accidents or disease. The CLC was the largest overseas labour force, giving their blood, sweat and tears to help the Allies win World War I.

They have since been forgotten but now their stories are told in these four works by Project New Earth – two digital films and two live performances.

Heroes Within

by Julia Cheng, Lavin Lee, Andy Leung, Connor Wan, Ricky Payne,, Claire Nicholas, Dina Ahmed

A young Chinese woman discovers her ancestral contribution to Allied success in this music, dance and spoken word film. Animation peels back the layers of the painting, Panthéon de la Guerre, when the CLC were ‘painted out’ of history to make room for American soldiers.

Missing Parts

by Lucia Tong, Angelus Squid Marr, Cheng Yu, Sonja Perreten, King San Lo, Charlie.:.Taillard, Robin Harvey

Contemporary dancers supported by a community cast explore distant journeys, monotony and nostalgia, in homage to the CLC who became essential cogs in the war effort. Specially composed music creates a soundscape via live performance on piano and pipa.

Lunar Corps

by Quang Kien Van, Suki Mok, Ruth Chan, Ruta Irbite

From labyrinthine warrens of lost memory, the stories and bodies of the CLC are excavated and brought into blazing light. This vivid dance-music film is a sensorial awakening to remember the forgotten.

Song Unsung

by David KS Tse, Kumiko Mendl, Chris Chan, Beibei Wang, Matthew Leonhart, Windson Liong, Candy Ma, Cherrie Lau

Singer-actors supported by local community choir members weave together Chinese folk and English World War I songs, with a moving drama focused on two men separated from family, lovers and friends due to the war.

Free event.

[Location] The Clore Ballroom at Royal Festival Hall

[Time] 7.45pm – 9pm


Discuss some of the leading contemporary writers from China and the UK.

Get involved in a talk with Yan Ge and Xiaolu Guo, with themes ranging from best-selling books that sell in the billions and online literature that’s changing the way people engage with fiction in China.

Hosted by translator, Helen Wang.

[Prices] £5, Booking Fee £1.75 (Members £0.00); Concessions, 50% off (limited availability)

[Location] Level 5 Function Room at Royal Festival Hall

[Time] 8.30pm – 9.30pm


Award-winning Comedy

Award-winning comedian Louise Reay makes comedy in Chinese and plays with language and communication.

Laugh along with this universal and touching story that can be understood by all, regardless of language barriers, as Louise makes comedy in Chinese – for people who don’t speak any Chinese at all.

Only 7% of communication is verbal, come and play with the other 93% inQue Sera, in a show that features a life-size Zoltar fortune-telling machine and mixes clowning with comedy.

Louise read Modern & Classical Chinese at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, then lived in Beijing for several years before working as a documentary maker for the BBC and Channel 4.

Louise is the winner of Alternative New Comedian of the Year 2015, as well as being a finalist in Comedy Knights New Comedian of the Year 2016 and Leicester Square Theatre New Comedian of the Year 2015.

’Louise Reay can legitimately claim to be unique.’ (The Independent)

’Superb, she proves that in comedy, nothing is lost in translation.’ (The Skinny)

’Truly fantastic’ (Al Murray)

[Prices] £5, Booking Fee £1.75 (Members £0.00); Concessions, 50% off

[Location] Weston Roof Pavilion at Royal Festival Hall

[Time] 9pm – 10pm

SEVER:with post show gig by XiBan

Composer Zhu Ma presents an original film with live score performed by a dynamic ensemble of 15 musicians.

A contemporary take on an ancient Chinese tale, the piece introduces the energy, diversity and multiple influences existing side by side in urban Shanghai.

In a sideways take on a traditional character from Peking Opera,SEVERtells the story of Guan Gong, the Saint of War, revered for his qualities of loyalty, as he launches himself on a journey to restore peace after the intervention of Diaochan, a legendary beauty. As he finds himself further and further from the world he came from, struggling to adapt, he begins to question his place in the world.

In this special performance, songs of Xiban are reimagined and rearranged with elements of the ethereal call of a female Peking opera singer; a drunken song of love unfulfilled integrates with a range of Eastern and Western percussion, vocals and strings.

Producer / musical director: Zhuma

Producer / director / cinematographer / post-production: David Harris

Following their performance as part ofSEVER, the Xiban Group, a six-piece multi-instrumentalist group based in Shanghai, perform a 30-minute set of their own material.

Made with support from Shanghai International Arts Festival R.A.W.

Free event.

[Location] The Clore Ballroom at Royal Festival Hall

[Time] 9.30pm – 10.30pm



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