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


I Disappear Stage Reading in Penghao Theatre Beijing

Voices from the North – Norwegian Contemporary Playwriting Series

Nothing Else. No home and no country and no history.

Language: Chinese

Producer: Ibsen International

Co-Producer: Penghao Theater, The 8th Nanluoguxiang Performing Arts Festival

Venue, Date and Time: Beijing Penghao Theatre, July 26 14:30 and 19:30


I Disappear by Arne Lygre won The Norwegian Ibsen Award 2013. With I Disappear Arne Lygre ensures his position as one of our most interesting playwrights.

Two women, Me and My friend, must hastily leave their country. Little will be said of the political background. For Lygre’s favourite subject is the fragility of the Self one is creating – precarious, worn down by buried memories, haunted by other possible lives. In order to ward off what is threatening them, all along their flight, Me and My friend invent strange role plays. Lygre’s playful and compelling writing tirelessly interlinks urgent situations with phantasmagorical scenarios.

“I disappear by Arne Lygre moves through a dark landscape with a female I, her girlfriend, daughter and husband. The world described is uncertain bordering the threatening. The woman is caught in a life situation, an existential crisis, she is reflecting upon. Arne Lygre uses different narrative perspectives in his examination of our time’s constant staging of one’s own identity. The form mirrors the content in an elegant, suggestive and intellectual way. The text is open as well as mysterious with many changing landscapes.


Director: Victoria Meirik

Victoria Meirik has her background from Amsterdam Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in directing. She has been nominated for many of her productions and awarded the Hedda prize for best directing for Antigone by Sophocles. She has worked in Denmark, The Netherlands, Czeckia and China. Her last production was The Glassmenagie by Tenesse Williams. She is also associate professor by the Norwegian Theatre Academy and the artistic leader of the Norwegian Dramatic Festival in Oslo.


Playwright: Arne Lygre

Arne Lygre (born 6th, February of 1968) is a Norwegian novelist and playwright. From 2014 to 2016 he is the in-house playwright at the National Theatre Oslo. Arne Lygre made his debut in 1998 with the play Mother and Me and Men. Since then he has written six other plays, which has been staged and published in countries around the world.  Man Without Purpose was directed by Claude Régy at Odeon Théâtre in Paris in 2007/08. Arne Lygre wrote his first short stories collection in 2004, In Time, for which he got the prestigious Norwegian literary award Brage Prize. His most recent play, Nothing of Me, had its world premiere at Stadsteatern Stockholm in April 2014, receiving a four star review from The Guardian.



Li Zheng –I

Wen Xiaoying – My Friend

Wang Xiaohuan – My Friend’s Daughter and A Female Stranger

Zhang Xiaochen – My Husband

Lighting operator: Dong Zhaomeng

Graphic Design: Dynamic Wang

Script Translator:Yang Zhiyan

Photographer: Qi Rui

Producer: Fabrizio Massini

Series Coordinator: Shiya Lu

Executive Producer:Jennifer Zhang


Let You Be Premiere in Beijing Fringe Festival 2017

Voices from the North – Norwegian Contemporary Playwriting Series

Who will be there when everything falls apart?

Producer: Ibsen International

Co-Producer: Free Theatre Alliance

Supported by: Beijing International Fringe Festival

Language: Chinese

Beijing Qinglan Theatre, 25th -26th September 19:30

Small Theatre of Zhejiang Province Cultural Center, 28th September 19:30



An intimate and unrefined work about loneliness and sense of belonging. It is a warm summer night, and a group of boys drink beer and go for a swim. Two people come walking by. Everything goes wrong. Everybody involved needs someone with whom to share the incident. Someone to blame. They search for security, while life is destroyed. Who have you been, and who will you be when everything is turned upside down?

In the performance La deg være (Let you be) this and other stories are told through the characters Person, Friend, Acquaintance, Stranger and Enemy. Every story and every encounter is connected, and the result is a tale about loneliness, severance, a sense of belonging and who we are to each other. But this is also a story about hope, mercy and love – and about who is by our side when the Earth shatters.

Words from Director

La deg være (Let you be) is norwegian Arne Lygres latest play. Let you be consists of a flow of multiple stories, the human condition on its must vulnerable is in focus. With strong existential drive Lygre‘s universe shows life’s many dualities. The balance and interaction is always between good intentions and fatal outcome. Let you be is a thouching and brutal look into life as it occurs both as fiction and in real.


Director: Jon Tombre

Jon Tombre was educated in Paris and Oslo with more than 60 performing arts productions. His main focus is contemporary theatre, he has staged a wide range of international and Norwegian contemporary writers as Jon Foss, Sam Sheppard, David Harrower, the Presnyakov brothers and Günter Grass . His performances are dedicated to experimentation and exploration of the fine boarders between theater, dance, visual arts and music. Jon Tombre has carved a niche for himself in the world of explorative theatre. He has several times been nominated to the Norwegian Hedda Prize and in 2014 and 2016 he was acclaimed with the Critics prize of Norway.


Playwright: Arne Lygre

Playwright and novelist Arne Lygre, born in Bergen in 1968, began to write drama at the age of 25. Af of now, he has written 8 stage scripts, 2 novels, and has become one of the most renown and performed Norwegian authors internationally. His work was staged in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Brazil, Estonia, Portugal, France, Italy, United Kingdrom and translated in many other languages. In 2013, he won the prestigious Ibsen Prize for his play “I Disappear”. From 2014 to 2016, he was in-house playwright at Oslo’s National Theatre.


Performers:Xiaojing Chang, Jialong Li, Hailin Wang, Xin Xu, Kan Zhou,

Translator: Wenyan Zou

Stage design: Jon Tombre

Technical Director: Qixu Wang

Costumes: Lin Song

Design: Yuanqing Wang, Jianshi Zhang

Photographer: Da Sheng, Chi Shuai

Executive Producer (Ibsen Intenational): Xiaobin Li, Jennifer Zhang

Producer (Free Theatre Alliance): Yangyang Sun, Wei Diao

Producer (Ibsen Intenational): Fabrizio Massini

When Swallows Cry South African premiere

Mike Van Graan, one of the leading contemporary playwrights in South Africa, was a participant of Ibsen International’s Next Text-New Stage project.


Photo by Suzy Berstein 

Over a period of nine months in 2015, Van Graan and other seven playwrights from around the world developed their respective scripts during three organized workshops in China.

The completed production of When Swallows Cry, written by Mike Van Graan during this project made its South African premiere at the Market Theatre in January 2017. This latest work delves into the uncomfortable but topical issue of ‘foreigners’ and the global migration crisis – a Somali attempting to enter the United States legally; Zimbabwean refugees seeking asylum in Australia; and an American Aid worker held for ransom by Boko Haram affiliates in Kenya.

This play sees overwhelmingly positive reviews from multiple critiques. The following excepts from these reviews added resonance at the current time of rising xenophobic rhetoric and hate crimes across the United States and Europe.

“There is a desperate need, in my view,” Van Graan said during the interview for Scènes Critiques December Issue 2016, “for alternative theatre structures to emerge that recognize the inter-relatedness of privilege and exploitation, inclusion and exclusion, haves and have-nots, and that seek to address these as theatre-makers, as active global citizens and as human beings.”…/theatre-can-play-a-more-p…/ )

“Broken values, smashed dreams and theatre with devastating balance”
Published on Jan 18 2017, written by Robyn Sassen…/when-swallows-cry

Seldom do you get to feel privileged enough to experience a play with not only electric relevance to the brokenness of our current global society, but one which also brings together such a rich collaboration of skills that it shines from every direction.

When Swallows Cry aims high
Published on Jan 16 2017, written by Jennifer de Klerk

Most powerful, in my view, is the angry half-mad Kenyan commandant, raging about slavery, the sins of the past, a greedy, corrupt government and the exploitation of resources that still denies locals hope and a future. Not easy to examine such a complex topic in a play. Van Graan succeeds in what was surely his intention – turning numbers into people.

When Swallows Cry – a crying shame
Published on Jan 19 2017, written by Lesley Stones
The script delivers a lot of truths without moralising or preaching, and it’s riddled with humour and a tangible humanity.


Workshop by Jon Tombre

Workshop Content

Together with the Free Theatre Alliance, Ibsen International presents this devising, physical and improvisational methods workshop: according to director Jon Tombre: loperjenten-04Welcome to a workshop where methods of creating are explored. How to open the body and mind and get the room moving? How to lead and be led by what the process gives us instead of being prefixed on the result?
How to work in a creative dialogue between performers and director? Jon Tombre has many years of experience from innovate artistic practice. Crossing artistic boundaries and mixing both art forms and cultures is one of his most prominent trademarks as a director.


Rehearsals “Monkey Stories”, 10 – 19 Novmber (excluding 12-13), 10:00 – 18:00 at 77 Rehearsal Space ; Open workshop, 12 – 13 November (12:00 – 16:00) at Free Theatre Alliance (No. 100 Court Yard, Dongsishitiao Jia, Dongcheng District)


Three actors in Jon Tombre’s new work “MONKEY STORIES – IT COULD BE ANYONE’S STORY” are also participating in the workshop. MONKEY STORIES, which will premiere in Norway on 18 January 2017. “Monkey Stories” is a performance based on excerpts from 8 texts created during in NEW TEXT, NEW STAGE II (NTNS). loperjenten-01Three sessions of playwrights workshop “New texts, new stage” have been organized by Ibsen International since 2013. In SESSION 1: Selected young playwrights from China and Norway were invited to take part in the workshop and were required to submit one of their works, which they would like to work on. Then they were divided into two groups consisting of one Chinese and one Norwegian writer, lead by experienced dramaturges. SESSION 2: A workshop on directing: selected texts will be assigned to promising directors from China and Norway whom, under the guidance of international experts, will experiment with the mice-en-scene of the plays. SESSION 3: Stage the full-scale performances. Similar to the acclaimed “NIGHT SHITFT”, “Monkey Stories” is a further development of NTNS: when we move from the texts we created, to a stage production.

JON TOMBRE  is a director educated in Paris ajon-tonbre-profile-picnd Oslo with more than 60 performing arts productions. His main focus is contemporary theatre, he has staged a wide range of international and Norwegian contemporary writers as Jon Foss, Sam Sheppard, David Harrower, the Presnyakov brothers and Günter Grass . His performances are dedicated to experimentation and exploration of the fine boarders between theater, dance, visual arts and music. His work consists in large scale of collaboration with artists from hiphop, new circus, indigenous cultures as Maya and Sapmi, as well as dancers, writers, jazz musicians and installation artists. Jon Tombre has carved a niche for himself in the world of explorative theatre. He has several times been nominated to the Norwegian Hedda Prize and in 2014 and 2016 he was acclaimed with the Critics prize of Norway.

Free Theatre Alliance is an independent organization founded by 4 independent theater practitioners (Su Xiaogang, Sun Yangyang, Diao Wei, Liu Zheng) in April 2016. The group aims to diversify the theatrical works by offering a platform for experimental and independent theater works, including or crossing multiple art forms.
As partners, FTA and Ibsen International share the same artistic vision and practices to pave the way for collaborations between the two.One of the main point of the joint press-release was the launch of the 123 Theatre Project, a platform to promote independent performers and theater artists. For three days a week (Monday to Wednesday), Qinglan Theater will be available to independent companies and artists completely for free, and the whole amount of box-office revenues will be given to the invited company. This initiative is thought as an alternative support platform for fringe artists who, without any institutional support, struggle to find space and means to continue their artistic research.

Photos from LØPERJENTEN rekonstruert (RUNNING GIRL – reconstructed) created by Jon Tombre, premiere October 21 Den Nationale Scenen – Bergen, Norway

About My Parents and Their Child

23 JULY 2016, 14:30 – 24 JULY 2016, 19:30. Gulou West Theatre, Beijing
7th Nanluoguxiang Performing Arts Festival 2016

239 December 2017, 19:30-10 December 2017, 14:00. 1933 Micro Theatre
13th Shanghai International Theatre Festival

“About My Parents and Their Child” is a documentary-theater work about the relationship between parents and children in China, its dynamics, tensions, mutual expectations. Commissioned by Ibsen International, the project departs from interviews made in five cities across China with young people (aging 21-38) and their parents. The project attempts, through an in-depth dialogue with parents and children, to find out the changes underwent by the institution of family throughout the span of 2 generations. How are “family values” changing, and why? Is having a child still the ultimate life-fulfilling purpose? How is modernization changing Chinese society, and what’s the residual influence of tradition?


Creative Team

Director: Matthias Jochmann
Performers: Zou Xueping, Wang Hailin, Hio Meilou, Zhang Jiahuai, Zhu Sujie
Director Assistant: Liu Xuemeng
Dramaturge: Vilma Štritof
Video Interview: Fan Popo,Zou Xueping
Light Design: Su Peng, Dong Zhaomeng, He Yiyi, Zhang Chi
Producer: Fabrizio Massini
Executive Producer: Jennifer Zhang

Photographer: Zhang Bin, Trixie Wang, Lu Shiya

Commissioned by Ibsen International as part of Ibsen in China 2016
Co-Produced by: Goethe-Institut China, Nanluoguxiang Performing Arts Festival, Shanghai International Theatre Festival 



Director’s Note:


While working on previous projects in China I noticed, that many young people have relationships to their parents that I am not used to at all, there seems to be a huge gap, caused by many different issues. As I share the age of young people, that are now expected to start having their own family, I felt a big sympathy for them, though I do not have to face these specific expectations myself.

But then I started wondering about the parents, because it seems like none will ever ask them for their background, for their history. The generation of people, that have been born in China in the 1960s, have been through tremendous changes; they are the ones, that know what China was like before the opening up, their lives got set upside-down again and again.

I aim to open the discourse about both the relationship of parents and children, but also the influence of national development onto family structures. In how far is the family microcosm a metaphor for a national macrocosm and vice versa?


The Children Say:

 “ How to love other people in a good way is a skill too. But I don’t have this skill, like, when I want to express my love to my parents, it is difficult for me to find ways to express that, or it fees awkward for me to do so.”

By Lu Shiya, 2017

“Especially when (parents) take sides against their children, I think it is not a very smart move. In fact, these kind of opposition will not affect children’s decision, it can only destroy our relationship.”

By Lu Shiya, 2017

“If you are always alone, how to say, may be you will feel lonely, especially when you are getting older, the feeling of loneliness is also stronger. So it is necessary to find a shelter (family) where you can feel protected from rains and winds from outside. I feel it is difficult, dont’ know, may be that is all for now. ”

By Lu Shiya, 2017

The Audience Say:

The actors’ bodies and the narration really touched me. They are really different from each other, so everyone can see their countless differences reflected on the stage, which is really beautiful. @WANG ANNI

By Zhang Bin, 2016

So, are we just trapped into something coming from our hearts? When will we break this self-limitation, what is the obstacle between our parents and us? Is the pain something rooted in our minds? Thus, accepting the limitation given by the parents is to accept oneself. Accepting yourself, that is, to accept the parents. @XIAORAN

By Zhang Bin, 2016

This is the most physical Documentary Theatre I’ve seen, the body is able to display“multiple voices” at once, four people and their stories . Sometimes is the film that leads the topic, sometimes it is the stage, but all the time I was focused. @MUTOU

By Zhang Bin, 2016

Sexual orientation, the natural disposition of men to express their appetites makes gay people rebel more straightforward to a family which doesn’t understand them. The red socks on the performer’s head, with a series of exaggerated gestures explain this attempted rebellion very clear. And parents’ disbelief,frustration, and concern shown in the documentary are very moving. @ZHUBIN

By Tim Haukenes, 2017

The Structure within the family is still based on division: the father and mother, we and our fathers, we and our mothers. We use it to maintain the relationship, whether calm or intense, we are willing to let our child go, throw them out, let the parents become themselves, or their own children, or their own parents.@FANCHEN

By Zhang Bin, 2016


Our Future, In the Field of Hope


“Many of today’s modern dance works always want to express the most intense emotions and skills in the shortest possible time. Yang Zhen’s work In the Field of Hope provide a serene moment for the audience to think. ”
Willy Tsao, Artistic Director Guangdong Dance Festival

Beijing Nanluoguxiang Theatre Festival 2016
New Talent Section

Time and Date: July 18-19, 19:30
Location: Gulou West Theatre

Produced by: Yang Zhen
Presented by: Ibsen International



In the Field of Hope is the second part of the series of works of Yang Zhen’s “Revolution Game”, his reflection on the current social progress, people’s life styles and the issue of art. Through a large number of historical symbols, the performance illustrates a metaphor of life in contemporary times. The play explores the power play among people, and describes the young generations’ idealism and hope.


In November 2015, “In the Field of Hope” premiered at Guangdong Modern Dance Festival, and attracted interest among audience and fellow dancers. As an example of bold experimentalism, and an interesting attempt to redefine the borders of contemporary dance, Ibsen International is proud to support the participation of “In the Field of Hope” at the Nanluoguxiang International Theatre Festival 2016.

To better understand the artistic progress of choreographer Yang Zhen, we decided to re-post excerpts from an article by GDF’s Artistic Director Willy Tsao.



YANG ZHEN, In the Field of Hope

Most Chinese audience hold a myth that the modern dance in China hardly excel European or American modern dance; some dancers even go abroad to study, and came back with a “shining aura” as a saint dancer. But as China’s national strength growing, the young dancers have more and more opportunities to express themselves as to stage new creative productions and works in the local community, which in a way attracts many foreign audiences.

The 12-year- “the Guangdong Modern Dance Festival” and 8-year-Beijing Dance Festival now have become the benchmark for high-level modern dance in China. And gradually international dancing circle pays special attention on these two events mainly due to that these two parts can browse local Chinese modern choreographer’s works, from which they can touch the young choreographers’ thinking and imagination. A new phenomenon appears that when some Chinese people still are indulging themselves in European dancing aura without a clear discovery that the local dance however in the eyes of foreign visitors, has become more mature and developed.

Yang Zhen graduated from Choreographer Major of Minzu University of China. He is comprehensive Minzu dancer, but he shows great interest in choreographing with innovations. He caught my attention first at the period before his graduation that his small piece of work staged in “Beijing Youth Dance Fortnight Exhibition” called “Alicia”. In the following year, in Beijing Dance Festival, Youth dance Exhibition Unit, he staged a fantastic dancing production called Boldly Go Forward. I brought this production to last year’s “Guangdong Modern Dance Festival”, and it received numerous applause from international guests, and finally, this work were invited to perform in 14th International Festival of Contemporary Dance, Munich, Germany, and received responses enthusiastically. It can be said Yang Zhen just debut one year, but has been involved in the international dance circles.

I like the dancing rhythm of Yang Zhen’s work, which holds a rare serene atmosphere. Many of today’s modern dance creations always want to express the most intensive emotion and skills in the shortest possible time, however, Yang Zhen’s work In the Field of Hope provide a serene moment for the audience to think. Taking In the field of Hope as an example that six dancers wearing thin colored tights, but covered with a thick army coat. The clothing alone will generate strong dramatic atmosphere and exudes a rebellious taste. Young took advantage of a lot of old Chinese songs such as “A River”, “In the Field of Hope”, “Lake Baikal”, etc., which is easily to bring back memories of an era to the audience, simultaneously, the actors allows a solidification in a weird state on stage, which lighten the older generation in the past and has been romanticized spirit that connects today’s younger generations’ lost silence, thus producing a misfits, but with a strong visual and auditory impact.

After watching Yang Zhen’s work, many people inevitably ask a question: how could a work full of history and solemn sense of meditation coming from a 90s generation, who is such a sentimental and shy young man? I was not a little surprised, because modern dance offers a wonderful space for people who do not want to follow the crowd and struggle to live oneself. Among numerous young people, Yang Zhen seems as a more “weird” talent, who will deeply reflect on the relationship between states, society and individuals, in the means of dance. Even many artists choose to avoid political issues, which are obviously dangerous and exciting at the same time, he is boldly digging the meaning of it through dance. I believe that Yang Zhen belongs to a definitely rare “species” which we need to take good care of!

曹Willy Tsao Founder and Artistic Director of City Contemporary Dance Company (Hong Kong), Beijing Dance / LDTX, as well as Managing Director of Guangdong Modern Dance Company, Willy Tsao is one of the leading figure of modern and contemporary dance in China.

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