Weʼre raising £10,000 to The Bridge of Magpies: Cross-Art Performance for Cultural Exchange and Education
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It is with great pleasure that I'm able to let you know about an amazing project that Sister Sarah Productions alongside the CEDP (Chinese Educational Development Project) are planning, entitled 'The Bridge of Magpies'.
It is a multidimensional project incorporating opera, dance, and storytelling, and its main aim is to promote cross-cultural learning and discussion between the UK and China. More information is included below, along with our video featuring Dr. Hong Lu OBE, Sarah Hutchinson, and yours truly!
Promo video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDdOtFR36bw Promo Video
The Bridge of Magpies is a project which aims to bring Chinese language and culture to communities and young people in the UK. It’s a collaboration between the Chinese Educational Development Project and Sister Sarah Productions Ltd. We originally premiered a sell-out version of this production at China Exchange in September 2017, which was curated by Freya Aitken-Turff.
The Bridge of Magpies is a traditional Chinese Myth which Sister Sarah Productions are adapting for performance, combined with dance & songs in Mandarin and English. The piece will represent an example of Chinese culture, art and music and offers an opportunity to bridge cultures, British and Chinese.
Alongside public performances the piece will be taken into schools in collaboration with the Chinese Educational Development Project as part of their Chinese days. Children will watch the show then learn one of songs in Mandarin. Singing songs is a very accessible way for children to learn another language as the rhythm and melody make it fun and memorable. The day will also teach them about Chinese festivals, customs and way of life, promoting greater cross-cultural understanding, nurturing global citizens by expanding knowledge & understanding of a different culture and people.
For all children the event will build confidence in presenting. For those studying Performing Arts it will also develop skills in combining acting and singing for performance.
The Chinese Educational Development Project (CEDP) enhances culture exchange between China and the UK and addresses the disadvantages faced by individuals of Chinese origin, improving the quality of life of members of the Chinese community. It delivers a series of Chinese culture related workshops and seminars in schools at different levels, which consist of Chinese Handcraft, Chinese Language Taster Class, Chinese Food Culture, Chinese Martial Arts, Chinese Fashion, Chinese Folk Dance, Chinese Music etc. They offer Chinese language lessons and hold several events through the year at key Chines festivals including, New Year and The Dragon Boat Festival.
Sister Sarah’s mission is to create performance and run participatory events for all which promote positive social change. Fusing dance, music, and text in order to open minds, build community, and expand potential. We aim to bring communities together, advancing awareness of the educational value and interpersonal benefits offered by creating and participating in dance, theatre, storytelling, devising, and theatre activity and their own projects therein.
Both SS and the CEDP have established links with schools and colleges in the Brighton and Sussex area of the UK, as well as in London.
Dr. Hong Lu OBE is chairman of the trustees and senior education consultant at CEDP. In 2015, Dr. Lu was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her contributions to the Chinese community and for her efforts in promoting China UK relations.
Dr. Lu has been a higher education language instructor and teacher trainer since 1988, in the UK and China. She is also Deputy Director at the Confucius Institute for Business at LSE and specialises in executive education relating to cross-cultural studies and cultural awareness training. Through her work she has a large network of contacts representing Chinese companies and those with interests in supporting Chinese culture and language in the UK.
Through her role at CEDP she is a key and well connected figure in the UK’s South East Chinese community.
Sarah Hutchinson is Executive Director of Sister Sarah Productions UK and Outreach Director for Youth Music Theatre UK, running their school workshops and leading on their residential skills courses. She frequently takes performance workshops into schools with young people and is skilled in relating to them and making workshops and activities exciting and engaging for this age group. She is an experienced producer and director of theatre with a strong fundraising record for projects with SS.
Jacob Bettinelli 吳柏賢 was a 2016 Britten-Pears Young Artist and a graduate of the Royal College of Music. He is a Jessie Sumner Scholar supported by Tiong Kiu King Award, his studies is also generously supported by K. Wah International Vocal Scholarship. He made his professional debut as a baritone soloist singing Handel’s Messiah with Hong Kong Voices, under the direction of Ken Lam. Operatic appearances include ‘Masetto’ in Mozart’s Don Giovanni at Hong Kong City Hall. His London professional appearances include ‘Schaunard’ in Puccini’s La Bohème, ‘Uberto’ in Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona at Wilton’s Music Hall. He has also given recitals at St James’s Piccadilly, Asia House, Victoria & Albert Museum and recorded the baritone solo for a BBC2 TV documentary ‘The story of China’.
Phoebe Haines Phoebe Haines represented the UK at iSING! International Artists Festival, China, in 2016 and 2018. Phoebe has since appeared as a soloist at Suzhou Grand Theatre, Tianqiao Theatre Beijing, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Hall, the Suzhou Grand Theatre, Nanjing Arts Institute, Jiangsu Grand Theatre, and Beijing’s National Center for the Performing Arts, as well as on CCTV and Jiangsu TV. Phoebe's vocal qualities have been hailed as ‘extraordinary’ (The Times) , ‘silvery’ (The Evening Standard), ‘impressive’ (The Los Angeles Times), and ‘opulent’ (Sunday Times Culture). Phoebe studied at the University of Cambridge, the RCM, and the Guildhall School. She has apprenticed at the Salzburg Festival, Aldeburgh Music, and the ENO. Phoebe is a two-time bursary winner of the International Opera Awards Foundation.
We aim to reach young people through schools and colleges. School budgets are increasingly squeezed for cultural and art activities and with sponsorship we will be able to offer the workshop events at a subsidised rate or for free.
We also aim to hold public performances of “The Bridge of Magpies” at key centres in London, including a return to China Exchange if possible. These performances will be targeted at those unfamiliar and new to Chinese culture of all ages, members of the performance industry and the Chinese community who will enjoy the celebration of their background and roots.
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