Chi­nese the­atre for all

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A Chi­nese the­atre com­pany en­cour­ages all au­di­ences to at­tend, even those who can’t speak Man­darin.

De­spite works be­ing per­formed en­tirely in Man­darin, at­ten­dees don’t nec­es­sar­ily need to un­der­stand the words in or­der for the the­atre to speak to them.

‘‘With the danc­ing and the mu­sic, you don’t need words to un­der­stand the play,’’ I-start Chi­nese The­atre play­wright and di­rec­tor Yabing Liu said.

For English speak­ers, Liu sup­plies a short syn­op­sis is English; how­ever, she said that hu­man be­ings’ share the same emo­tions.

‘‘The feel­ing of love is com­mon and you can feel that: the strug­gle, the pain, the jeal­ousy.’’

I-start Chi­nese The­atre be­gan, al­most by ac­ci­dent, in Septem­ber 2014.

When Liu had the idea of writ­ing her first play, a friend sug­gested she start a Chi­nese the­atre com­pany, be­cause there weren’t any in Auck­land.

It wasn’t long af­ter that the Mil­ford res­i­dent be­gan look­ing for venues nearby and, when she found the PumpHouse, she knew she had found home.

‘‘It was af­ford­able and fun,’’ she said.

‘‘It was the only one I looked at.’’

I-start’s up­com­ing play, Story About a Poet, is re­turn­ing af­ter a suc­cess­ful open­ing in May this year, to mark the PumpHouse’s 40 an­niver­sary.

Un­like the rest of Liu’s orig­i­nal screen­plays, the un­usual story is adapted from a true story about a Chi­nese poet who lived on Wai­heke Is­land.

I like to put to­gether sto­ries to en­cour­age au­di­ences to be

Aopen-minded, about our lives and other peo­ple’s lives, she said. ‘‘We could do clas­sic plays, but I would rather us tell our own sto­ries,’’ she said.

‘‘We feel more pas­sion­ate and ful­filled when we write our own sto­ries and con­nect to our au­di­ences.’’

At­tend A Story About a Poet, Oc­to­ber 16 and 17, from 7.30pm at the PumpHouse, Taka­puna.

Visit for tick­ets.


Play­wright and di­rec­tor Yabing Liu said the Chi­nese the­atre is her pas­sion.

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