Arts Council England recently terminated public funding for UK's only East Asian theatre company - Yellow Earth Theatre. In response, two articles appeared on British Chinese website - Dimsum.
Both articles criticise the Yellow Earth Theatre for very personal reasons. Daniel York has a personal gripe with the theatre company after being turned down for the role of artistic director.
Paul Hyu's theatre projects Mulan and BEA had their funding cut in the noughties whereas the Yellow Earth Theatre continued to receive public funding, hence the five paragraph stamping of his resume under his name as a form of childish cavalier bragging - "look at all my nominations, my work deserved funding not Yellow Earth."
Paul Hyu criticises the theatre company's orientalist use of 'Yellow,' yet this is the same man that produced a series of shorts on Channel 4 called the "Missing Chink," it received a spate of complaints from viewers, the complaints were not from the usual White liberal sensitive PC brigade, complaints came from the British Chinese community, from Chinese people, the very community he claims to represent, clearly he does not represent the interests of the Chinese community at all, he is mixed race after all, Daniel York too.
In the comment section of David York's article is a quote from the Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2011/apr/27/black-minority-ethnic-funding-cuts-theatre
"One from a mixed race Chinese actress who can't get a foot in because she can't play the role of White or Chinese."Really? Mixed race have been purloining Chinese roles for decades. Look no further than David Yip, 'The Chinese Detective,' or should one say 'The Mixed Race Detective.' The 'Chinese Elvis' himself, should be renamed 'The Mixed Race Elvis.'
What is the purpose of ethnic East Asian theatre? To appeal to White middle class theatre critics or to Chinese audiences?
Trot down to the hub of London's Chinatown and ask any random Chinese to name anything the Mulan or Yellow Earth Theatre has produced, you will receive blank stares, they won't have heard of either theatre company, but ask them to name the latest TVB drama in Hong kong, they could probably tell you.
Ethnic British East Asian theatre is hampered by linguistic and cultural indifference arising from the lack of homogeneity within British Chinese community, for example, a large section of the British Chinese community is highly Fobbish with an inadequate command of English, they have no interest in English speaking ethnic British Asian theatre that is overly western and targeted at a white audience.
So one begs the question, what is the purpose of fringe ethnic Chinese or fringe ethnic East Asian theatre if it is not watched by the British Chinese community, the community it claims to represent and serve?