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Under the Umbrella cast in workshop

Under the Umbrella shines a light on Coventry's Chinese communities

Posted on 17 December 2018

Coventry stories will once again take centre stage at the Belgrade Theatre in Spring 2019 when the world premiere of Under the Umbrella opens 2-16 March.

Written by Amy Ng, this powerful new drama will shine a spotlight on the city’s growing East Asian population, telling the story of Wei, a young Chinese woman living and studying for a PhD in the UK.

Like many migrants living in the city, Wei finds herself negotiating a complex relationship with the two different cultures that inform her identity, navigating a path between the conflicting expectations of her Chinese family and British friends, all while trying not to lose sight of her own individual hopes and ambitions.

But while this is a story that attempts to reflect some of the situations and emotions experienced by people living in Coventry, it’s by no means one of exclusively local significance. Across the country, stories from East Asian migrant communities are some of the least represented on our stages – something that the Belgrade Theatre, in partnership with Tamasha and Yellow Earth Theatre, is attempting to address.

As Coventry strives to celebrate its diversity in the build-up to its year as City of Culture in 2021, International Migrants Day seemed an ideal opportunity to highlight this often under-represented community.

Producer Lian Wilkson, Playwright Amy Ng and Director Justine Themen

Creative Producer Lian Wilkinson said: “The idea for Under the Umbrella was planted by a video sent to me in 2015, in which parents and children were discussing the Chinese Marriage Markets. It’s a phenomenon that seems far-removed from western culture, yet plays into conversations about families and relationships that everyone can relate to.

“The Marriage Markets give the perfect setting to have these conversations led by voices not often heard on stage, which works to help improve East Asian representation in theatre but more importantly, enriches the story by bringing additional layers such as the conflicts of dual identities”

Under the Umbrella shows at the Belgrade Theatre 2-16 March 2019. Tickets are available to book now.