Speak OUT Lecture Series —— Fan Popo

Fan Popo: Gender Performance, Documentary Film Making and Activism

Time:14;00,19th, May, 2018

Location:Bookworm, Beijing

Gender performance and activism on screen: Screening + Talk with Fan Popo

The performance/performativity of gender may sound like an obscure, abstract concept, but its impact is very concrete. How do art and activism can be combined to tackle societal issues in practice? Leading documentary film maker Fan Popo shares excerpts from his films, his perspective on gender performance, and his experience as LGBTQ+ “artivist”. Follows Q&A session with the participants.

Popo Fan is a leading filmmaker and activist based in Beijing who is outspoken for LGBT rights in the field of media production and distribution. Popo graduated from Beijing Film Academy and is the author of the book “Happy Together: Complete Record of a Hundred Queer Films”, the first book on the topic published in mainland China. His films have been shown widely in international film festivals and circulated domestically via the Internet as well as community screenings. His films featured topics such as same-sex marriage (“New Beijing, New Marriage”), transgender (“Be A Woman”), feminism (“The VaChina Monologues”). His trilogy on LGBT families in China (“Chinese Closet”, “Mama Rainbow”, “Papa Rainbow”) had made strong impact in Chinese society.


Speak OUT Lecture Series —— Wang Qian


Time: 8th, April, 2018

Location: Xiaozhong Bookstore, Beijing 

“Bodies matter”, as Judith Butler points out. For artists who employ their bodies in performance, how to identify, perceive, and present their bodies is vital for the creativity, authenticity, and expression of their art works. Living in a heteronormative social environment where various walls have been erected (heterosexuality VS homosexuality, normal VS pervert, legal VS illegal), artists need to question their socially given subjectivity in order to achieve a breakthrough. In this context “queer” refer not only to sexual and gender minorities, but also to the abnormality, deviance, and alternative ideologies and lifestyles of marginal communities. The “performance of queerness” can produce an effect of theatricality, as a sign empty of meaning and the meaning of all signs.

In this lecture, Dr. Wang introduces the theoretical basics of queer theory and its intersection with performance/performativity. Moreover, he explores how the dance-theatre performance “Disco-TECA” fuses academic research, stage craft, and offstage activity together, thus perform the performativity of sexuality, gender, and queer in the “carnivalesque” of Disco from the 1980s to the 2010s.


Qian Wang. Dr Qian Wang earned his PhD in popular music studies from the Institute of Popular Music, the University of Liverpool, and did his post-doctoral research at the Department of Sociology, Tsinghua University. He is currently a visiting scholar at the School of Literature and Journalism, Sichuan University, and a visiting scholar of Fudan Journalism School. His research is mainly focused on the interrelationship between Chinese/Sinophone popular music and China’s society. He is interested in issues such as sexuality, gender, queer, politics, and social movements, which objectively reflect the transformation of China since the economic reform in 1979.

In 2015 Qian joined Ibsen International’s dance theatre performance “Disco-Teca” as a cultural consultant. Besides providing the artistic team with in-depth knowledge about disco music’s social, political and cultural context, Qian follows the production to give lectures and attend Q&A discussion, thus giving this production a truly interdisciplinary (performative+academic) profile.

SpeakOUT Lecture Series —— Daniele del Pozzo


Like actors in a play, it is not our physical body that creates our “character” within society. Through costumes, make-up, the tone of voice and quality of the movements, each of us perform a role (man, woman) that changes in different scenes (single, married, wife, son, etc). If we follow the script we get to play the Goody (a Real Man, a Respectable Woman etc). If we don’t, we are left with the Villain or the Misfit (the Pervert, the Spinster etc).

But what if we wanted a different plot? What if we threw away stock characters and create a multifaceted role for ourselves? Like Nora says in “Doll’s House”, before all else, before all roles and labels, we are human beings. We have the power to change the script, and make our life an unforgettable show.

SPEAK OUT – Gender takes center stage

What’s different scares us, but also makes us curious. Like ignorance generates fear, so does understanding lead to acceptance. And creates the possibility for beauty.

In the series “Speak Out” performing artists and academics from China and abroad turn the spotlight on gender. What does it mean to “perform gender” in our daily life? How does the body “talk” on stage? How are gender norms changing around the world? And what role can performing arts play in this change?


TIME & LOCATION: April 7th, 2018 a’t Italian Institute of Culture in Beijing

April 10th, 2018 at NEXTMIXING in Shanghai

April 12th, 2018 at Ergao Dance Production Group in Guangzhou



Beijing Station

Beijing Station

In recent years, contemporary dance in Italy has been flourishing through both the emergence of new talents and the success of established artists. This new Renaissance, built on structural reforms, has relaunched Italy as an incubator for creativity on the international scene. This lecture takes us on an intriguing voyage showcasing some of the young protagonists of this new phase. A generation of artists under-35 that, through their unique language and style, explores the theme of gender at large. From Alessandro Sciarroni’s finesse to Silvia Gribaudi’s irony, from Giorgia Nadin’s investigations of the feminine to Chiara Bersani’s psychological subtlety, from Francesca Foscarini’s energetic performances to Riccardo Buscarini’s masterful composition. A feast for the eyes and the soul that, through images and clips from their works, displays the secrets behind their critical and box-office success. And an overview on the springboard that launched them: GenderBender, the international Festival that for 15 editions has introduced new imagery related to gender identities, sexual orientations and bodily representations.

Shanghai Station

Shanghai Station


Daniele Del Pozzo.

Graduated in letters and philosophy from the University of Bologna, Daniele is a curator, producer and event organizer. Active in the cultural scene of central Italy, in the 1980s he founded and led the Libera Universita’ Omosessuale, a free platform aimed at facilitating the dialogue on gay and lesbian culture and identity. In the following years he curated film festivals and cultural programs for the municipalities of Bologna and Ancona. Since 2005 Daniele is also curator of the summer cultural event program “bè bolognaestate” and in 2008 has curated “Body Double”, selection of documentaries for the International Photography week in Reggio Emilia.

Guangzhou Station

Guangzhou Station

China Coming Out Writing Workshop Series BEIJING & SHANGHAI

Time: Jan. 31st-Feb. 4th, 2018 BEIJING; May 23rd-May 26th, 2018 SHANGHAI

Location: Destination/Beijing Gender; Beijing        Zizai Studio, Shanghai





China Coming Out Creative Writing Workshop is a series of workshops initiated by Ibsen International, collaborating with Queer University. The workshop combines writing and performing in a wholesome way, empowering Chinese LGBTQ community by using the theatrical dramaturgy as a core method. The second round is held in Shanghai,working again with Queer University, but at the same time partnering with Shanghai Pride, which is celebrating its 10 years anniversary this year.

The program of this workshop lasts 4 days, including intensive theory lecturing and self-writing session, performing technique and body training. The main goal is to help the Chinese LGBTQ community to be heard by the society via an artistic tool.


Hege Randi Tørressen is a Norwegian theatre practitioner based in Oslo. She studied at the Ludwig-Maximilian-University in Munich, where she received a master’s degree in theatre and literature. During more than 25 years, she has worked on more than 100 theatre productions in Norwegian, German, English and Chinese language. For the last 17 years she has worked as dramaturge at the National Theatre (Nationaltheatret) in Oslo. She is a consultant for “International Ibsen Festival”  and has been a jury member of the Norwegian Ibsen Prize for 7 years.


Fabrizio Massini received an MA in Chinese Theatre and Film from the University of London (SOAS), furthered his studies with a research residency at the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing. Based in China since 2009, Fabrizio worked as artistic consultant and producer for several institutions including Wuzhen Theatre Festival, Guangzhou Dance Festival, Beijing Theatre Olympics and others. He gave guest lecturesat the Danish National School of Performing Arts, National Theatre Company of China, Macau Contemporary Dance Festivals and others. Current artistic director of Ibsen International (Norway/China), Fabrizio curated projects connecting dramaturges from Norway, Denmark, Germany and Slovenia with Chinese practitioners.


Wei Jiangang was born and raised in Xinjiang, China. He was trained as an actor at the drama department of the Xinjiang Arts Institute in Urumqi and at the Shanghai Drama Academy. Having a passion for community work and a drive to contribute to social change, he has continually searched for meaningful ways to share his drama skills with others and to use them in socially relevant ways. During recent years he started to engage himself on the production side of various film- and other productions benefiting different social movements in China. In 2007, he founded the LGBT webcast “Queer Comrades”, for which he hosted and directed more than 50 half-hour episodes. Since 2010, he’s the executive director of the NGO Beijing Gender which houses the webcast Queer Comrades.  Founded in 2002, it constitutes one of the first Chinese NGOs to focus on issues of gender, sexuality and sexual health, thus fulfilling a pioneering role in Chinese society.




Queer University:

Queer University was founded in 2012, it is a 7-day training workshop organized annually in order to help LGBTQ community to use camera as a tool to extend their voices, the workshop includes trainings on film editing, cutting and on-site operation, encouraging trainees to document stories happening around LGBTQ community and to lead with social advocacy. The program also funds outstanding trainees with one-year long documentary film project, so to realize their dreams of artistic creation, meanwhile hoping to start out with more diversified artistic creation trainings for a more culturally and socially plural platform.

Shanghai Pride:

Began in 2009 and is an annual festival that celebrates diversity. Organized entirely by volunteers with the support of media, businesses, individuals, and foreign consulates. Aim to raise awareness and visibility, and to promote self-acceptance and acceptance for the LGBTQ community through sports, cultural, and social activities. Encourage the community and partners to support LGBTQ-related projects and initiatives. Grown from eight organizers and a modest gathering of 3,000 attendees in 2009, to 30 organizers and 6,500 attendees in 2017 with over 30 different sports, social, and cultural events.


Web Traffic A Multimedia Dance Theatre

Jan.5-7th, 2018

Shanghai International Dance Center 

Duration : 60 min 

Creative Team: 

Concept: Jiang Fan, Zhuang Jiayun 

Playwright, Dramaturge: Zhuang Jiayun 

Choreographer: Jiang Fan

Music Design: A Ming

Light Design/Stage Design:  Edwin van Steenbergen 

Visual Design: Yao (爻) Multi-media Studio 

Costume Design: Xu Congting 

Performers: Jiang Fan, Edwin van Steenbergen, A Ming 

Technician: Xu Xiangen

Stage Manager: Cai Siqi

Graphic Design: Pang Zhengye

Promotion: Li Nuoya, Han Chenyi 

Photography: Yin Xuefeng, Huang Zhihao, Yang Yang

Video Documentary: Li Xinmin, Zou Xueping, Huang Zhihao

Commissioned by Shanghai International Dance Center with the support from Ibsen International. 


Web Traffic cuts in the topic with the popularized symbol of online live streaming female host, in the form of multi-media and dancing theatre, with the aid of live broadcasting, touching the live streaming economy and its presentation mechanism. It also presents, through this interchangeable sub-cultural ecology and during the process of self realization of belonging and social-value, the parties of the seen and the seeing who are both sandwiched between reality and illusion.

In Web Traffic, the hostess Liu Xiaoliang and her team have struggled in the chain of live streaming industry under the fierce reshuffling pressure. The supervision system is raising the bar of censorship, commercial platform is hardening rules towards continuous live streaming, audiences are asking for upgraded interactive experiences——Liu Xiaoliang and her team are searching for rules to gain upper-hand in this game, in other words, searching for oneself.


Contextualizing Dance Dramaturgy – Workshop Series

Curated by: Thomas Shaupp, Fabrizio Massini

Produced by: Ibsen International

Supported by:

Goethe Institut China (Beijing session) (December 22nd, 2017)

ErGao Performance Workshop (Guangzhou session) (December, 25th, 2017)

We Festival of Future (Shanghai Session) (December, 30th, 2017)

Photo credit: Ruqing Xu

Dramaturgy is a relatively new profession in the dance-field, especially in modern and contemporary dance and physically-based performance practices. As a notion, Dramaturgy can be defined as “the evolution of ideas through time” and “the compositional, cohesive, or sense-making aspects of a performance”. Dramaturgy can also be understood as a collaborative practice connecting art world and society, or translating the art work for its audience. The dramaturge, acting as an “outside eye”, assists the choreographers in building up the journey of a dance work by questioning, contextualizing and observing.

Beijing session

Between December 20 and January 4, dance dramaturg Thomas Shaupp and Ibsen International’s artistic director Fabrizio Massini will travel to Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai to meet local dance artists. In each city we will also organize theoretical-practical Workshop sessions to discuss and share concepts of Dramaturgy, both historical and contemporary, and their relevance within the dance field. Through simple exercises we will introduce different dramaturgical methods that can be adopted to different creative processes. By sharing and discussing experiences and methods with local practitioners, we will pay special attention to comparing the European and Chinese scenes, to identify commonalities and differences.

Beijing session

Some of our leading questions are: how to contextualize oneself (as an artist, choreographer, dancer) in a cultural environment? How to articulate one’s intentions (to curators, the audience, one’s team etc) precisely?

Guangzhou SessionGuangzhou Session

The emerging findings will be a starting point for the development of the program “Dance Dramaturgy in China” in the coming year(s).

Shanghai Session 

Shanghai session

Thomas Schaupp


Thomas Schaupp, Berlin, studied theatre- and dance-theory at Freie Universität Berlin. As a dance-dramaturge he is collaborating with several choreographers, currently with Kat Válastur, Anne-Mareike Hess, Stian Danielsen as well as for the festival “Tanztage Berlin”. As a lecturer and critic he has been invited to festivals and conferences across Europe and Canada. In the season 2014/15 he was resident critic at ada-studio Berlin. Thomas is a guest-teacher at the Inter-University Centre for Dance in Berlin and facilitates workshops on dance-dramaturgy and the dramaturgical in choreographic centres across Europe. In 2017, he is co-curating the conference “Lab:Dance – (Dance)Dramaturgy as a collaborative practice”, in collaboration with the festival “CPH Stage” in Copenhagen.


Frozen Songs Premiere at The Arctic Theatre


Deep within the cold and dark inside Svalbard Global Seed Vault, the origin of life is being stored.  Under the direction of the UN, the world’s future is kept here. This scenario forms the backdrop of the production Frozen Songs by celebrated Norwegian choreographer Ina Christel Johannessen. Joining her are dancers from her ensemble Zero Visibility Corp, the Chinese video artists Feng Jiangzhou og Zhang Lin and Belgian musical duo Stray Dogs. In this performance Norwegian and international artists come together on stage to create a unique artistic experience centred around one very important and current question: Survival.



Choreographer:Ina Christel Johannessen

As a sought-after choreographer Ina has been invited to created works for international companies and institutions. Among them are Helsinki City Dance Company, The Royal Swedish Opera, Scottish Dance Theatre, The National Theatres in Oslo and Bergen, Dance and Theatre Academy of Helsinki, Les Ballet de Monte Carlo, CCDC Hong Kong, Cullberg Ballet, The Norwegian Opera & Ballet and Gothenburg Opera Dance Company. Her collaboration with CCDC, dance company from Hong Kong founded by Willie Tsao, and Ibsen International, resulted in “Hedvig from the Wild Duck”, performance that successfully toured Hong Kong, mainland China and was highly acclaimed at the Ibsen Festival 2014 in Oslo.

Multimedia Artists: Sifenlv Multimedia Studio

Sifenlv New Media Studio concentrates on the production of contemporary Performing Art works. The Studio is recognised for its ground breaking projects within electronic music, dance, performance, opera and installation art, and through its productions it has developed a new aesthetic way of thinking interactive art in China. The studio serves as an innovative laboratory where programmers, performance artists and audio visual artists in unison develop software and artistic creations. Sifenlv New Media Studio has released one performing art piece every year since it is established in 2008. The performing workSpring Wind (2007),  Floating City, Fleeting Life (2008),  Reading-Mistake Series (2009-2010),  The Imperial Harem (2011) , Micro-Connection (2012),  Magic City (2013) are crowned as the  most avant-garde contemporary performing works which were invited to Kassell China public art exhibition, Berlin Festival in Germany, Milano Triennale Design Museum in Italy, Avignon Festival in France and UCCA in China. With the often great and spectacular productions the studio has put a focus on the use of new media in art, just as the projects have opened up to the possibility of a cross-aesthetic cooperation between traditional and modern performance art in China.


Choreography/artistic direction Ina Christel Johannessen

Music Stray Dogs

Multimedia Feng Jiangzhou, Zhang Lin Sifenlv New Media, Beijing

Scenography Kristin Torp/Graa Hverdag AS

Costume design Kathrine Tolo, Norsk Kunststoff AS

Light Design Nico Benz

Sound design Morten Pettersen

Dancers Line Tørmoen, Pia Elton Hammer, Ole Kristian Tangen, Valtteri Raekallio, Daniel Whiley, Fan Luo, Anton Borgstrøm

Photo Antero Hein/Hein Creations

Production management Kirsti Ulvestad, zero visibility corp

Production Zero Visibility Corp, Hålogaland Teater, Ibsen International

Co-production Dansens Hus Norway, La Briqueterie, Paris, Arts Printing House, Vilnius

The Returning/ Winterreise with Chinese Cast Premiere in Shanghai

Voices from the North – Norwegian Contemporary Playwriting Series


Venue, Date and Time:

Shanghai Huangpu Theatre, July 21-23 19:30

Beijing Penghao Theatre, July 28 19:30; July 29 14:30 and 19:30

Producer: Ibsen International

Co-Producer: SHNU International Theatre Workshop

Original production by Divine Comédie (France)

Supported by: Huangpu Theatre (Shanghai) and NLGX Theatre Festival (Beijing)

Director: Jean Christophe.Blondel (Divine Comédie)

Playwright: Fredrik Brattberg



Xu Kun – Father (The Returning)

Wang Hong – Mother (The Returning)

Dong Xiangyu – Gustav (The Returning)

Dong Xiangyu – Alred (Winterreise)

Gao Xiaoyan – Anne (Winterreise)

Liu Yutong – Hilde (Winterreise)


This play collide The Returning and Winterreise by Norwegian writer Frederick Brattberg (winner of Ibsen Award 2012) directed by French renowned theatre director Jean-Christophe Blondel (Divine Comédie) . The Returning is about a couple repairing their lives after their son is killed in an avalanche, until they hear a knock at the door and the inconceivable occurs. Winterreise tells the story of a couple returning from the hospital with their newborn baby trying to cope with an incredible change in their life.


Playwright: Fredrik Brattberg

In 2012, Fredrik Brattberg was awarded the prestigious Norwegian Ibsen Award for his play Tilbakekomstene (The Returning). Brattberg’s plays have been translated into eleven languages and published in Netherlands, Astonia, Hungary, Czech Republic and Norway. His plays are frequently produced in festivals and theatres in Europe, America and Canada. Along his role as a renowned playwright, Brattberg is also an excellent classical musician and he has created more than 40 musical pieces. His representative works include Tilbakekomstene, Winterreise, et banker, Amadeus.


Director: Jean Christophe.Blondel

Since 2006, Blondel has developed a work of theatrical creation based on three main principles: Exploring a classic and contemporary repertory; a focus on how the works resonate with the issues of our time, socio-political (inter) cultural, philosophical and spiritual; bring together artists possessing a strong identity, all bearing a strong sense of drama, but speaking in remote areas:  acting, choreography, improvised music, puppetry. Divine Comedy is subsidized by the Ministry of Culture, local communities that it belongs, the city of Rouen, and several civil societies (JTN, Adami, ODIA, SPEDIDAM, etc ). In China, it is supported by the French institute, Embassies, Consulates and private companies (EDF, France Telecom), Chinese partners (universities, theatre academies). His works, including Partage de Midiby Claudel, Princess Maleineby Maeterlinck and Pommera, have toured around China.



Lighting designer: Marco Benigno

Lighting operator: He Yiyi, Zhou Yuqi (Shanghai)

Hou Zhengya (Beijing)

Set designer: Margueritte Rousseau

Stage Manager: Zhang Yongyue

Producer: Fabrizio Massini, Ivan Ruviditch

Executive Producer: Shiya Lu

Production Assistant: Zhang Wenwei

Interpreter:Tang Jie, Dai Linke

New Text New Stage II Chinese/American Production Coming Up

New Text New Stage II — Zhu Yi’s A DEAL Coming up with both Chinese Production and American Production.

I am a warrior, so that my son may be a shop keeper,  so that his son may be a poet.  

― John Quincy Adams

A Deal produced by UrbanStages

A Deal produced by Nanjing University



Like many new upper-middle-class Chinese families, Mr. and Mrs. Li are proud to give their only daughter a life they could only dream of (an Ivy League degree in art and an apartment in Manhattan), until they realize she’s turning into a dangerous stranger.

A DEAL is a dark comedy that features a Chinese family’s home buying journey in New York in winter 2015, a time of increased real estate property ownership by overseas Chinese and a sharp decline in the value of the Chinese yuan against the US dollar. It reveals the ideological conflicts between the East and the West in contemporary society by tracking a little stream of the global cash flow.


ZHU YI is a New York-based playwright and screenwriter, born and raised in China. She received her MFA in playwriting from Columbia University. She received Shanghai Drama Valley’s 2015 Outstanding Playwright of the Year Award. She is a 2012-2013 Emerging Artist Fellow at New York Theatre Workshop, a Youngblood Writer at Ensemble Studio Theatre, a member of Dramatists Guild of America, a member of Chinese Pioneering Filmmakers Association, and an adjunct lecturer at Nanjing University, China.



New Text New Stage II Tatarstan Production Premiere

New Text · New Stage II ——Tatarstan Production “ALIEN” Premiere

Would the hero return to his homeland? Would he meet with first love? Would he visit his mother’s grave?

Premiere on 14th of October, 2017 at Galiaskar Kamal Tatar National Academic Theatre


After the fall of the Iron Curtain and the collapse of the USSR, the peoples of the former autonomous republics started to look into the blank pages of their history. One of these sad topics for Tatars, the second largest nation of Russia, was the fate of the captured Second World War soldiers and officers who refused to cross over to the side of fascist Germany and passed all the hardships of Hitler’s concentration camps, and after the collapse of the Third Reich became prisoners of the Stalin’s GULAG. Those of them who were lucky enough to return home in the fifties, only recently received the status of participants of the Second World War. However, there were some of them who, sensing a new arrest, did not return to their homeland and scattered all over the world…


Naqip, the main character of the play, after the war stayed in Canada by the will of fate and started his life with a clean slate. In a small town in the Canadian outback, he arranged a kind of a Tatar village, started growing potatoes, and instead of Halloween, celebrated Tatar Sabantuy festival. He called his wife “Zhanym” (“my soul”) in the Tatar manner, and not Joanna. Once his neighbor Samuel, an “alien” just like him, only with Scottish roots, brought the news that from now on all former Soviet citizens were allowed to return to the USSR, they were not in danger anymore. Would the hero return to his homeland? Would he meet with first love? Would he visit his mother’s grave?


Director, Musical design:  Farid Bikchantaev

Production designer :  Albert Nesterov

Managing Director of the Theatre:     Ilfir Yakupov

Director’s Assistant: Ruzilia Akhmetova

Photographer: Foat Garifullin


Naqip:             Radik Bariev

Naqip in youth:    Rail Shamsuarov

Joanna:             Lyutsiya Bikchantaeva

Samuel/Sergeant :       Minvali Gabdullin

Zeytuneh/Mariambikeh:  Aigul Abasheva

Khairullah/Head of the concentration camp:   Ilnur Zakirov

Captive/Military in the cafe:   Ilnur Zakirov

Hismatulla:    Almaz Sabirzyanov


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