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100 years ago, the British and French armies recruited 140,000 Chinese men to work behind the Western Front during the First World War. They were the Chinese Labour Corps (CLC) who made a vital contribution to help the Allies win, but have since become “the forgotten of the forgotten” in WW1 history.
Chinese Arts Space (CAS) presents Project New Earth as part of the commemorations for WW1, celebrating the CLC’s memory within the context of British Chinese communities in the UK today.
Commissioned artists create four short works: two evocative music-dance films, an exciting live contemporary dance and a moving music drama.
8:30pm-9:00pm Artist Q&A and Drinks Reception
1. Heroes Within (Creative team: Julia Cheng, Andy Leung, Lavin Lee, Ricky Payne, Lula Mebrahtu)
A young Chinese woman discovers her ancestral contribution to Allied success in this music-dance-spoken word film. Animation peels back the layers of the painting, Panthéon de la Guerre, when the CLC were ‘painted out’ of history to make room for American soldiers.
2. Missing Parts (Creative team: Lucia Tong, Cheng Yu, Angelus Squid Marr)
Contemporary dancers explore humanity and machinery in homage to the hard-working CLC, who became essential cogs in the war effort. Economic migration a century ago is still reflected in our global economy.
3. Lunar Corps (Creative team: Ruth Chan, Quang Kien Van, Suki Mok)
From labyrinthine warrens of lost memory, the stories and bodies of the CLC are excavated and brought into blazing light. This vivid music-dance film resurrects the forgotten through fragmented historical text.
4. Song Unsung (Creative team: David K.S. Tse, Chris Chan, Beibei Wang, Kumiko Mendl)
Singer-actors weave together Chinese and English songs sung or inspired by the CLC, with a moving drama focused on two men separated from family, lovers and friends by the war.
CAS is a creative development agency supporting British Chinese/East Asian artists and Youth Arts development. Project New Earth is part of a trilogy of commissioned new work that started with Project New Moon.
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