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A collective of leading actors, writers, directors and creatives of East and South East Asian heritage from the UK’s performing arts industry joined forces online to present a new digital arts event titled WeRNotVirus. This urgent artistic response aimed to shine a light on the surge in hate crime directed towards the community during the Covid-19 crisis.
Supported by the Arts Council Emergency Fund, WeRNotVirus features 10 newly commissioned stories, split across 2 shows, 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. Scroll down to see the full programme.
A panel discussion with leading academics and activists rounded off the performances after each show.
WeRNotVirus took place via Zoom on 13-14 June.
Since the emergence of the Covid-19 crisis there has been a tripling in reported anti-Asian hate crime. From January 2020 to March 2020 attacks on East Asians and South East Asians have risen 21% with over 260 crimes reported to the UK Police to the Home Office, compared with 360 for the whole of 2018 and 375 in 2019.
Directed by award-winning Young Vic New Genesis fellow and associate director Jennifer Tang (Young Vic, RSC, The Royal Exchange, Hampstead Theatre) and Anthony Lau (National Theatre, Royal Court, Nuffield Southampton, Ink – West End, Almeida).
WeRNotVirus is presented by Moongate Productions founded by Daniel York Loh and Jennifer Lim (Forgotten 遗忘 Arcola, Theatre Royal Plymouth).
The line-up of writers include award-winning writer, actor and film-maker Daniel York Loh (The Good Immigrant, 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, Royal Court, Orange Tree, National Theatre Studio).