China Changing Festival returns to celebrate contemporary Chinese Culture

Southbank Centre’s China Changing Festival returns for its second year, on Saturday 7 October 2017 showcasing contemporary China and exploring its creative connection with the UK.

Launched in December 2016, this three year international festival returns to London presenting some of the most innovative artists practising in China today and celebrating inspiring work from British-based Chinese and South East Asian artists.

China Changing Festival brings us closer to current Chinese culture, exploring modern interpretations of ancient artistic techniques, the role of the media and women in contemporary society and the international reach of Chinese literature. Over fifty per cent of the programme is free, bringing together an eclectic day including new perspectives on traditional sounds, digital and electronic art, surreal film, breakdance, comedy, modern puppetry, theatre and topical panel discussions.


 Highlights of this year’s China Changing Festival include:

  • TV host, publisher and media mogul Hung Huang, often referred to as ‘China’s Oprah Winfrey’, who discusses her life, work and the role of the media in contemporary China, in conversation with Guardian leader writer, and former China Correspondent Tania Braniagn.

  • Little Soldier Zhang Ga, the story of one boy’s spirit in World War II in northern China, from the puppetry director of War Horse China Liu Xiaoy. His story is told through puppetry and physical theatre, and is co-written by Guo Yan.

  • Around China with a Movie Camera: a Journey from Beijing to Shanghai, is an epic filmic journey into the history of China, with a live atmospheric score, composed and performed by Ruth Chan and ensemble blending Chinese music with western classical influences, electronica and jazz.

  • SINK, a production based on the true story of Chinese writer Lao She, which asks questions about freedom, history and identity.

  • A screening of internationally celebrated filmmaker and author Xialou Guo’s UFO: In her Eyes, a surreal story of a Chinese villager whose life changes after seeing a UFO.

  • Cyema, an immersive audio visual performance by Berlin based designer turned artist Florence To, where a digital soundscape of reconstructed iron gongs, originally discovered in old clocks, rings out as responding visuals surround the audience.

  • Jun Tian Yun He Ensemble spread the music and culture of the majestic seven stringed instrument, the guqin, performed in partnership with xiao and throat singing, alongside an impressive tai chi performance.

  • Gongs, Songs & Hong Kong Thongs, inspired by American stand-up and Chinese cross-talk, takes a tongue-in-cheek look at Asian stereotyping in a new musical comedy show by Chris Chan, that’s part-culture guide, part biography, part parody.

  • A powerful dance double bill includes Julia Cheng, who explores the myth of a modern Mu-Lan through wu-shu martial arts and contemporary waacking in Orlando Warrior and Si Rawlinson, who mixes break and contemporary dance to explore the struggle between the desires of state and citizen with Ink.

  • A series of panel discussions explore personal insights on women in society through discussion and literature including an exploration into women and the new two child policy. Leading Chinese writers Xiaolu Guo and Liliaj Zhang will read from, and discuss, their most recent books.
  • China Exchange, in partnership with Southbank Centre present Square Dancing: How do you guangchang wu?, a taste of China’s square dancing craze with workshops and performances.

  • Experiential multidisciplinary artist Li-E Chen invites audiences to contribute to the development of the libretto for a silent opera, in Proposition For Making A Silent Opera At An Invisible Museum, an experiment in new opera making.


Rachel Harris, Creative Producer, Festival Development, Southbank Centre said: “China Changing Festival launched in December last year and we’re very excited to bring it back with a new action-packed programme celebrating artistic excellence and Chinese and UK partnerships. China is a multifaceted country, experiencing an impressive expansion of cultural infrastructure in the context of its rich, ancient artistic heritage.  With this festival, we hope to explore and give an insight into the breadth of China’s creativity and creative influence.”

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