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Invisible Cities

2011, 2015, 2016

A series of ongoing collaborations between The Hinterlands xiqu (“Chinese opera”) artists in Sichuan, China.

The Hinterlands first traveled to Shanghai and Chengdu, China in November 2011 with the support of TCG/ITI’s Global Connections Program (In the Lab)* and Asian Cultural Council. Working with traditional xiqu artists affiliated with the Tian Mansha Xiqu Workshop (Shanghai Theatre Academy) and artists affiliated with the Sichuan Professional Arts College, Hinterlands artists and partners investigated the intersection between Chinese and American physical performance traditions. Chinese and American partners participated in daily training exchanges of performance techniques, melding these techniques through improvisation into a hybrid performance form to shared at the end of the workshop periods in Chengdu and Shanghai. With Richard Newman, Liza Bielby, Eleni Zaharopoulos, Steven DeWater, Xie Zhixiong, Liao Mei, Wen Jingzhen, Wang Shize, Li Hongxiu, Wang Qijiu

Then, Liza Bielby traveled to Chengdu in 2015 with support from the Network of Ensemble Theatre’s Travel Exchange grant program to exchange with the prolific chuanju octogenarian playwright Xu Fen around issues of translation, and enemy relations. The talks culminated in the publication of a Chinese-English two-volume set of Xu Fen’s full-length chuanju plays and a deep and lasting friendship.

The Hinterlands returned again to Chengdu and nearby Zigong with support from a US State Department Grant to further collaborations with partners from the 2011 project, along with some new friends in Chengdu, with performances and lectures held at Chufang Ke (a dinner and conversation series led by chef Xu Xiake), White Night, the Bookworm (Chengdu and Beijing), and at the Zigong Cultural Palace. With Liza Bielby, Richard Newman, Haleem “Stringz” Rasul, Dave Sanders, Xie Zhixiong, Xu Xiake, Wang Yue, and Li Yan

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