Chinese Boxing a play by Mark Kitto
‘Chinese Boxing’ is a bold and innovative piece of theatre that tackles one of the urgent questions of modern times: can China and the West get along? And it tackles it from both sides, no punches pulled.
Mark Kitto is both a successful actor with many roles in the West End, film and TV and also what one typically describes as an ‘Old China Hand’ having lived and worked in China for almost 20 years, a fluent Mandarin speaker with not at all the typical expatriate experience. For example, he performed on stage regularly, in the Chinese language, with the Shanghai People's Arts Theatre.
The year is 1912, a lecture to the Royal Asiatic Society. The speaker is Sir Claude MacDonald, former British Minister Plenipotentiary – ambassador – to Peking in 1900 during the famous Boxer Uprising. Sir Claude commanded the defence of the Legations – diplomatic quarter – when they were besieged by the peasant ‘Boxer’ army, supported by Imperial Chinese troops. The siege lasted 55 days until it was lifted by a multinational relief force.
Sir Claude wants to discuss China and the West ‘today’ – that’s 1912 for him, today for us. 1912 was the year of the foundation of the Republic of China; a new country, a rising power the world must accommodate. Sound familiar?
After an opportunity to visit the bar, the performance is followed by a Q and A about China and Britain today. Mark Kitto, as well as being a writer and actor, is a respected China pundit.
'Beguiling...fascinating... This is a show to see,' Libby Purves
‘Everyone should watch this,’ Baroness Gillian Shephard
‘A stimulating and original show,’ Jonathan Freedland, Guardian and Radio 4
‘Historically fascinating and beautifully written,’ David Haig, actor and writer
‘Entrancing… incredibly powerful.’ Carla Phillips, Eastern Daily Press
Doors and Bar open 7.30pm
Performance starts 8.00pm
Empire Hall, Graffham, Petworth, West Sussex GU28 0QB
Sat 24 September