Taiwan Season returns to Fringe with eye-catching virtual line-up
- This article is sponsored by Taiwan Season.
- 8 July 2021
Delve into Taiwanese culture through dazzling dance-theatre productions and fascinating webinars
A highlight of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe since its launch seven years ago, Taiwan Season has been treating audiences to a tantalising taste of East Asian culture since 2014, giving festival-goers the best in Taiwanese dance, theatre and live performance.
Last year, this much-loved Fringe showcase rose to the challenge presented by the pandemic, reinventing itself in eye-catching and globally accessible style as Taiwan Season took the imagination of their live shows online. The result was a diverse and stimulating virtual programme, which was the winner of an Infallibles Award in recognition of the way it embraced the online format.
So, Taiwan Season's return is certainly cause for excitement, with Taiwan Season Online Performances & Symposium 2021 set to replicate and build on the previous year's successes. Brought to you in partnership with iconic Edinburgh arts venue Summerhall, ZOO TV and the Fringe itself, via their new on-demand platform Fringe Player, this lovingly crafted online programme runs from Friday 6 – Sunday 29 August and consists of four dazzling dance-theatre productions and four fascinating webinars.
Collectively dubbed A Glimpse Of Taiwan, the four filmed productions offer distinctly different cultural experiences. Overflowing with love and laughter, the joyous new performance from Tjimur Dance Theatre goes by the title ai~sa sa, a phrase that can be translated as 'Get over yourself!'. From choreographer Baru Madiljin, it promises a light-hearted, lively and contemporary spin on indigenous tribal customs.
In The Back Of Beyond five exceptionally versatile dancers are taken on an arresting physical and spiritual journey in a production from Tai Gu Tales Dance Theatre. Merging Eastern cultural traditions with contemporary Western practices, this one is intriguingly described as 'dance as a charged theatrical dream-ritual, charting the cycle of life from birth to death and rebirth.'
Fighters by Nai-Hsuan Yang's Les Petites Choses Production aims to provide fierce fun for all ages. Inspired by Chinese literary classic The Romance Of Three Kingdoms, five godly characters are brought to life in an energetic fusion of hip hop and contemporary dance - fighting fit for a time when when we are in need of a new breed of heroes. Meanwhile in Touchdown, Incandescence Dance's Hao Cheng will, by contrast, deliver a dynamic, personal and proudly low-tech solo performance merging popular science and the poetry of motion. This original, elegantly-conceived show lends quantum physics and the uncertainty principle fresh meaning and a human face.
The four online performances will be available to view on the Fringe Player throughout the festival, priced from £5 – £8 per show. Watch parties for the shows will take place at 2pm on Thursday 12 August (for ai~sa sa and The Back Of Beyond) and the same time on Thursday 19 August (for Fighters and Touchdown) at Summerhall, giving you a chance to get to know the artists in question and see extracts from their work. Audience members purchasing tickets for the shows will be invited to attend these events.
Connecting With Taiwan consists of four webinars which seek to forge new links with members of the global arts industry and are aimed at those with a curiosity about the current state of the arts in Taiwan and beyond. They will take place on Monday 9 August and Monday 16 August, with the entire series accessible via ZOO TV.
The first of these webinars, International Digital Theatre Roundtable, will be moderated by Laura Kriefman, chief executive officer of Barbican Theatre, Plymouth and founder of Hellion Trace Ltd. It will ask whether digital performance is creating opportunities for wider audience engagement, new movement styles and global collaboration, or whether it is simply a passing fad born from necessity. Moderated by art critic, historian, documentary filmmaker and Green Island Human Rights Art Festival curator Sandy Hsiu-chih Lo, Unheard Voices – Social Engagement In The Arts will explore how the festival enables artistic expression of marginalised voices from political and ethical perspectives.
The third discussion in this illuminating series is Transforming Circus And Shaping Its Future In Taiwan, Japan, The UK And Beyond, a collaboration with Gwen Hsin-Yi Chang, curator of the 2021 Weiwuying circus platform of the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts. It sees an international panel of circus experts debate the challenges and pleasures of creating and presenting circus today. While the final session, Indigenous Artist Development – A Global Context, examines the vital creative expression of indigenous art in Taiwan and internationally. All these webinars will be conducted in English, with access to captions available via the online translation service Wordly and / or BSL interpreters.
For more information, including exact timings of the sessions, and to explore the programme fully visit twseason-edfringe.com.