Mountains - The Dreams of Lily Kwok

Monday 27 November 2017

Shows - Tours

Black Theatre Live announce 'Mountains - The Dreams of Lily Kwok' written by In-Sook Chappell as 2018 tour.
Mountains - The Dreams of Lily Kwok

Image: Yellow Earth Theatre, Royal Exchange Manchester

A co-production with Yellow Earth Theatre and Royal Exchange Manchester, the adaptation of family memoir Sweet Mandarin (by Helen Tse) will be the first major mid-scale tour of a British East Asian play.

Written by In-Sook Chappell and directed by Jennifer Tang, the show is scheduled to play in London at Stratford Circus Arts Centre in April, while the tour will start on 22 March and run through until 2 June, finishing at Coventry's Belgrade Theatre.

This new play tells the extraordinary story of the three generations of women behind famous Manchester restaurant Sweet Mandarin.

Based on Helen Tse's family memoir, the show will include live cooking onstage, and at selected venues there will be a pre-show cooking demo from Helen and her sister Lisa.

The show is led by an all-female creative team.

Helen has grown up in the UK, but always felt a piece of her story was missing.

When she visits her mother's birthplace in Hong Kong for the first time, she's determined to find out who she really is and where she belongs.

Amidst the skyscrapers and bustling streets, she meets her grandmother, Lily Kwok, and steps into her past, discovering shocking family secrets that will change her life forever.

Mountains - The Dreams of Lily Kwok is the seventh Black Theatre Live show following the Autumn tour of Big Foot, Britain's first all-black Hamlet, new play She Called Me Mother, one-woman show The Diary of a Hounslow Girl, Inua Ellam's An Evening with an Immigrant and Macbeth.

The show will tour the consortium's eight venues across England, which have come together to commission and showcase excellent theatre from BAME companies.

Writer In-Sook Chappell was born in South Korea and raised in England.

Her first play This Isn't Romance won the Verity Bargate Award and was produced at the Soho Theatre, was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and most recently presented in Korean at the National Theatre of Korea.

Her other plays include Tales of the Harrow Road (Soho Theatre), Absence (Young Vic), and P'yongyang (Finborough Theatre).

Director Jennifer Tang is a stage director and theatre-maker.

She has worked in theatre and opera across the UK and internationally, including the Scandinavian premieres of two Nick Payne plays.

She's recently directed We Are You (Young Vic, British Museum) and Clytemnestra at the Gate Theatre as part of the Iphigenia Quartet, and worked with Chris Goode & Co on Weaklings (tour) and WANTED (West Yorkshire Playhouse).

She was a shortlisted finalist for the JMK Directors Award in 2013.

About Black Theatre Live

Black Theatre Live is a pioneering national consortium of eight regional theatres led by Tara Arts, committed to effecting change for BAME touring theatre through a sustainable three-year programme of national touring, structural support and audience development.

Black Theatre Live is a partnership of Tara Arts, Derby Theatre, Queen's Hall Arts (Hexham), the Lighthouse (Poole), Theatre Royal Bury St. Edmunds, Theatre Royal Margate, Stratford Circus Arts Centre (London) and Key Theatre (Peterborough).

Black Theatre Live works with emerging and established BAME companies across England to commission and tour high quality productions to the consortia theatres.

The structured audience development and community engagement programmes include live digital streaming and cinema relay.

About Yellow Earth Theatre

Yellow Earth Theatre creates, nurtures and champions the best of British East Asian Theatre.

They seek out and identify East Asian artistic talent, and create opportunities for actors, writers and directors to make bold, imaginative and thought-provoking theatre.

They bring unheard voices and stories to audiences from all backgrounds through touring productions, site-specific work and public readings.

They also run professional development programmes for actors and writers, and outreach work in schools and museums.

About Manchester Royal Exchange

Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre Company transforms the way people see theatre, each other and the world around them.

Their historic building, once the world's biggest cotton exchange, was taken over by artists in 1976.

Today it is an award-winning cultural charity that produces new theatre in-the-round, in communities, on the road and online.

Exchange remains at the heart of everything they make and do.

Now their currency is brand new drama and reinvigorated classics, the boldest artists and a company of highly skilled makers - all brought together in a shared imaginative endeavour to trade ideas and experiences with the people of Greater Manchester (and beyond).

In 2016 the Royal Exchange won The Stage's award for Regional Theatre of the Year.

Work includes Hamlet with Maxine Peake (for stage and film), The Skriker (with the Manchester International Festival), King Lear (co-produced with Talawa Theatre Company, filmed for BBC iPlayer and BBC Four) and Persuasion.

Their next production is Guys and Dolls created in partnership with Talawa Theatre Company.


To be announced


Written by In-Sook Chappell

Directed by Jennifer Tang 

Produced by Black Theatre Live, Yellow Earth Theatre and Manchester Royal Exchange

Tour venues and dates:

22 Mar - 7 April

Royal Exchange Theatre

St Ann's Square, Manchester

M2 7DH

18 - 21 Apr

Stratford Circus Arts Centre

Theatre Square


London, E15 1BX

24 - 25 Apr

Theatre Royal

Westgate Street

Bury St Edmunds

Suffolk, 1P33 1QR

27 - 28 Apr


21 Kingland Road


Dorset BH15 1UG

1 - 2 May

Key Theatre

Embankment Road

Peterborough PE1 1EF

5 May

Theatre Royal

Addington Street


CT9 1PW 

9 - 12 May

Derby Theatre

15 Theatre Walk

St Peter's Quarter



16 - 19 May

Watford Palace Theatre

20 Clarendon Road

Watford WD17 1JZ

21 - 23 May

Sheffield Crucible Theatre

55 Norfolk Street

Sheffield S1 1AD

24 - 25 May

Queen's Hall Arts Centre

Beaumont Street


Northumberland NE46 3LS

30 May - 2 June

Belgrade Theatre

Belgrade Square

Coventry CV1 1GS


Tour website

Black Theatre Live

Yellow Earth Theatre

Royal Exchange Manchester

Buy tickets from ActDrop for ...

Buy tickets for brief Encounter