When a London theatre used a cast of all-white actors for a play set in ancient China, it sparked a major backlash. Film and TV stars turned out in force this January to protest the “yellowface” show at the Print Room in Notting Hill.
But now a theatre company who helped to lead that protest are staging their own production – and it couldn’t be more different.
“I think it’s time for British East Asian actors – and in particular women – to take their place in the classics,” says Kumiko Mendl. Mendl is the artistic director of Yellow Earth, the company behind a radical, minimalist new take on Christopher Marlowe’s 16th century epic Tamburlaine, the story of a bloodthirsty Asian emperor.
The play is staged in a Peter Brook-esque empty space, and has a British Asian cast led by 42-year-old actress Lourdes Faberes as the titular warlord.
“People say we should stop plundering the classics for...
Register for free and access one Premium article per week
Enjoy unlimited access to Premium articles with a subscription
- Subscriber-only events and experiences
- Access Premium articles on our mobile app
30-day free trial
then only £2 per week