We R Not Virus

London theatre news: Wednesday 27 May 2020

Coronavirus - Off-West End - Online

Actors and creatives of East and South East Asian heritage unite to present a digital arts response to the surge in hate crime during the Covid-19 crisis.
We R Not Virus online from Moongate Productions

Image courtesy Moongate Productions

Since the start of the Covid-19 crisis there has been a tripling in reported anti-Asian hate crime.

From January to March 2020 attacks on East Asians and South East Asians have risen 21% with over 260 crimes reported to the UK Police, compared with 360 for the whole of 2018 and 375 in 2019.

Next month, 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 to present a digital event - WeRNotVirus - an urgent artistic response which aims to shine a light on the surge in hate crime directed towards the community.

The production is supported by the Arts Council Emergency Fund and 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 at 7pm on 13 June and at 3pm on 14 June - via Zoom.

WeRNotVirus is presented by Moongate Productions founded by Daniel York Loh and Jennifer Lim (Forgotten 遗忘 ARCOLA, THEATRE ROYAL PLYMOUTH).

Producer Jennifer Lim (also an 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.

Tickets are free but you need to book a ticket through Omnibus Theatre's website.

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