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Chinese New Year of the Dog marks new era of Wales - China cultural collaboration

Chinese New Year of the Dog marks new era of Wales - China cultural collaboration

Further announcements of co-production and cultural collaboration between Wales and China

15th February 2018

To mark the Chinese New Year 2018, Arts Council of Wales’s international team, Wales Arts International (WAI), is working closely with its Arts Portfolio Wales client, Pontio, on the inaugural Wales- China Festival in Bangor.

The activities are part of a wider programme with Welsh Government to deliver its cultural agreement with the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China. WAI’s workshop for arts and creative industries at Bangor University will focus on the opportunities and challenges of working in China. The first workshop was in Tramshed in Cardiff in November 2017 and can be viewed on WAI’s Facebook page.

Eluned Haf, Head of Wales Arts International said:

"The New Year of the Dog marks an exciting new wave of cultural and creative collaborations between China and Wales. I am particularly excited about the inaugural Wales –China festival in Pontio. It’s promising to be a top event in the Welsh calendar, celebrating the increased interest in Chinese culture here. We are delighted to work in partnership with Bangor University whose connections with China are longstanding.

"We are honoured and very grateful that Mr Xiang Xiaowei, Minister-Counsellor for Culture at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United Kingdom, will participate on this very auspicious day in the Chinese and global calendar."

At the workshop, Managing Director and Creative Director of Cwmni Da, Dylan Huws, will talks about their new co-production agreement with Chinese Broadcaster LIC, the largest importer of documentaries into China. The three part series of hour-long episodes, 'Tide', will examine the influence of the tide on coastal land and communities. The series is being distributed by Sky Vision. LIC Chief Executive Leland Ling will visit Wales in March. Cwmni da is co-producing the three part series with Mac TV from Scotland, TG4, BBC ALBA and BBC Northern Ireland.

Dylan Huws said:

"Cwmni Da and Mac TV are really looking forward to working with all partners. 'Tide' has fired the imaginations of all concerned and there is huge potential in the series. We can't wait to get started!"

Other speakers include Peter Owen, Head of Arts Policy, Welsh Government; Dr Haili Ma Senior Lecturer in Chinese and Dean of the Beijing Normal – Cardiff Chinese College, Cardiff University and Stewart Ferguson, Director of Research, China-Britain Business Council and Bob Jones from Classic FM & China Radio International. Pontio’s Artistic Director Elen ap Robert will share her vision for the festival.

Zining Wang a Gareth Bonello

Updates on Projects

The Cultural Memorandum of Understanding between China and Wales is actively "growing cultural engagement between Wales and China".

Activities will focus on broadening and deepening relationships, greater engagement between the UK and China, growing engagement in Wales and developing capacity in Wales to engage with China through skills exchange. Cultural activities between China and Wales are part of UK-China activities and provide context and support for economic engagement and trade talks.

Spring 2018 will see a month of activities celebrating the growing cultural engagement and creative energy between China and Wales.

China Wales Festival – Pontio, Bangor 16-18 February 2018

The inaugural China-Wales Festival in Pontio, Bangor, to mark Chinese New Year of the Dog, has an exciting programme of arts and cultural conversations. The Arts and Creative Industries workshop will be opened by Minister Counsellor for the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United Kingdom, Mr. Xiang Xiaowei. Discussions will centre around the opportunities to grow Wales’ artistic and creative work in China. Amongst other speakers Dylan Huws will talk about Cwmni Da’s co-production agreement.

The Festival’s first performance will be by The Gentle Good with Chinese musician Zining Wang. The Festival is the brainchild of Pontio’s Elen ap Robert and producer and performer Steffan Donnelly. An adaptation by Invertigo Theatre of Hao Jingfang’s ‘Burglars and Boy’ will be premiered on Saturday 17th of February, supported by Arts Council of Wales, Welsh Government and National Lottery. Other activities include a reading by Francesca Rhydderch from her award-winning novel, The Rice Paper Diaries, (Wales Book of the Year 2014) along with lecturer and translator Dr Yan Ying, whose Mandarin translation of the book is published by Shanghai Translation Publishing House in China.

A cultural and trade, opera and football mission to China – 10-17 March, 2018

In March 2018 the second cultural delegation will join the Welsh Government’s Trade Mission to Shanghai and Hong Kong to coincide with the Welsh National Opera’s performances at the prestigious Hong Kong Festival. The Wales national football team will be playing in the China Cup later that week.

After the success of the inaugural trade and cultural mission to China in 2017, the artists and companies from Wales investing in this year’s mission to China include: 4PI; Ifor ap Glyn, National Poet of Wales; Ballet Cymru; Bombastic Dance; stained-glass artist Christine Bird-Jones; creative dance producer, Coreo Cymru; Cwmni Da TV; artist, Julia Brooker; National Library of Wales; Open Books; Volcano Theatre; Welsh National Opera; Wales Arts International. Performance artists Up and Over It are appearing in Shanghai at the time of the mission.

There are also over 20 other Welsh companies from numerous sectors participating in the trade mission.

China v Wales, China Cup, Nanning 22-26 March 2018

New national team manager Ryan Giggs’s first match at the helm will be against China in Nanning. The Wales team is expected to include footballing giants Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and Ashley Williams.

Ambassadors for Wales, on and off the pitch, the team are expected to draw a large fan base - the largest group of Welsh people to arrive in China at any one time. Having gained a reputation for singing better than any other supporters in the European Championship in France in 2016, the fans will be singing like dragons during the China Cup.

China- Wales Success stories in the arts and creative sector:

· Since signing a co-production agreement at the People to People in Shanghai in December 2016, Cloth Cat Animation (Wales) and Magic Mall (Beijing)’s animation series Luo Boa Bei has been released in China and has had 50 million views in the first two weeks. It has created work for 45 people in Cardiff. 9 Story are now the international distributors of the series which was launched in MIPCOM with great interest from broadcasters.

· Welsh National Opera (WNO) is taking its critically-acclaimed production of Pelléas and Mélisande, originally directed by David Pountney, to Hong Kong Arts Festival, marking the centenary of composer Debussy’s death. Performances will take place on 15 and 17 March conducted by former WNO Music Director Lothar Koenigs. The production will include many of the same cast from WNO’s 2015 performances, including Jacques Imbrailo (Pelléas), Jurgita Adamonyté (Mélisande), Christopher Purves (Golaud), Leah-Marian Jones (Geneviève) and Rebecca Bottone (Yniold). Also joining the cast is Alfred Reiter who will sing Arkel. Alongside the performances, WNO will take a Family Concert and a Family Adventure Day to the Hong Kong Arts Festival on 16 and 17 March, presented by the charismatic Tom Redmond on BBC Radio 3.

· On March 13th 2018 a new agreement will be signed in Shanghai between National Library of Wales and Shanghai Library as part of their longstanding Memorandum of Understanding. The relationship goes back to 1989 when Mr Wu Jianzhong, who later became Deputy Director of Shanghai Library, catalogued the impressive and extensive Hawkes scholarly collection at National Library of Wales as part of his training whilst studying at Aberystwyth University. The latest agreement between the two iconic libraries will include the Windows on Shanghai programme.

· Hijinx Theatre, a portfolio client of the Arts Council of Wales, has signed an agreement with one of China’s largest performing arts companies AC Orange. The deal will see the award winning inclusive theatre production Meet Fred tour China in May 2018 and an agreement to further develop their work together. The formal signing of the agreement was part of the UK-China High Level People to People Summit at Lancaster House in December 2017.

· BBC National Orchestra of Wales confirmed in February that they will undertake a 3 city tour of China in December 2018. Against the backdrop of the recent visit by Prime Minister Teresa May to China, it’s particularly exciting that the Chinese Principal Guest Conductor of BBC NOW Xian Zhang will be featured in the ‘Inspiring Women in the Arts’ campaign, a year-long programme by British Council to showcase the work of female artists and create new opportunities for leadership training, professional networking and mentorships.

· Welsh language national broadcaster S4C and north Wales independent company Cwmni Da TV are celebrating Chinese New Year by announcing a new co-production agreement with China’s LIC along with Mac TV from Scotland, TG4, BBC ALBA and BBC Northern Ireland. The three part series of hour-long episodes, 'Tide', will examine the influence of the tide on coastal land and communities. The series is to be launched at MIPCOM in Cannes and is being distributed by Sky Vision. LIC China is China’s largest privately owned media company and the largest importer of documentaries into China. LIC China broadcasts programs on its own television timeslots in China and sells a proportion to other Chinese broadcasters.

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