Playwriting Workshop for the UK Tibetan Community at the Royal Court Theatre

Tibetan-Workshop-Eflyer

Now is the time for aspiring Tibetan writers, poets, playwrights, artists or anyone interested in learning about storytelling to SIGN UP to this FREE workshop by 26th September!

There isn’t much I can add to the information already on the flyer above, the same information is on the Royal Court Theatre’s website: https://royalcourttheatre.com/what-else/participation/communities/playwriting-workshops/

Thank you to the Royal Court’s Lucy Morrison and to Carl Miller who will be leading the sessions. Can’t wait!

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First Publication of Writings from High Peaks Pure Earth, Produced in Partnership with Tibet Relief Fund

Order the publication online here: http://bit.ly/HPPEbook

So thrilled to see this publication “Blossoming Broken Flowers: Selected Writings from High Peaks Pure Earth” in print, produced in partnership with the UK charity Tibet Relief Fund!

It’s been a pleasure to work together with the Tibet Relief Fund, can’t believe it’s been almost a year since they hosted the poetry event “We Were Made for Home” here in London. Even back then we’d been discussing putting a book together of writings from High Peaks Pure Earth and now we’ve done it!

The best part of doing this book is that Tibet Relief Fund will distribute free copies to Tibetan students in India and Nepal, making online writings more accessible and in particular, writings from Tibet. I’d like to offer my personal thanks to staff at Tibet Relief Fund both in UK and India for working hard on realising this project!

For a limited time, “Blossoming Broken Flowers: Selected Writings from High Peaks Pure Earth” is available for the special price of £4.99 (usual price £6.99) and can be ordered via the Tibet Relief Fund’s online shop: http://bit.ly/HPPEbook

A Joint Review of the Play “Pah-La” by Abhishek Majumdar

Tibetan Review has kindly published a joint review that I wrote along with four other UK based Tibetans, Sonam Anjatsang, Georgina Choekyi Doji, Kunsang Kelden and Tenzing Zega.

The back story to the play “Pah-La”, currently running at London’s Royal Court Theatre until 27 April, is quite long and convoluted so I won’t go into everything here. What started as concerns about the lack of Tibetans in the cast gave way to addressing larger issues about the actual content of the play. I didn’t write about the casting debacle as I didn’t feel like I had anything to add to my previous article about the 2016 play “Shangri-La”.

With this review of “Pah-La” I feel so honoured and privileged to have had four fiercely smart and passionate co-authors who were very generous with their time and with sharing their thoughts. We all want plays and stories about Tibet to succeed but with “Pah-La” something didn’t feel right so this review is the result of our many discussions.

Our stories are being told by others but talking back is the one power we can exercise.

Please read our review on Tibetan Review here: http://www.tibetanreview.net/pah-la-a-shallow-and-confusing-examination-of-tibetan-non-violent-resistance/

 

Drop Dragonfly Press Conference

I was happy to take part in an online press conference yesterday on Human Rights Day talking about the situation on the ground for Tibetans inside Tibet and the PRC in terms of using the internet and social media.

Below is the full video, thank you to Mandie and International Tibet Network for having me on this great panel. Follow the campaign to get Google to drop Project Dragonfly here: https://stopgooglecensorship.online/

Speaking to the BBC about Dhondup Wangchen’s Arrival in USA

It’s been heartwarming to see all the positive responses from all around the world to the news that Dhondup Wangchen arrived safely in the US on Christmas Day. Dhondup Wangchen’s escape from Tibet has been a rare piece of good news!

There has been strong media coverage of Dhondup Wangchen’s story that started with our Filming for Tibet press statement on 27 December. There have been news reports on New York Times, Reuters, Guardian, amongst many others.

Yesterday I was invited to speak with Sharanjit Leyl on BBC World News during the 8pm news, the video is above!

After the news of Dhondup Wangchen’s arrival came out, there were statements welcoming him from many organisations who had worked on his campaign. Thank you to Amnesty International, Dui Hua Foundation, International Campaign for Tibet and Students for a Free Tibet. Also the President of the Tibetan Government in Exile, Dr. Lobsang Sangay praised Dhondup Wangchen for his “courage and contribution to the cause of Tibet.”

 

Similarly, many took to Twitter including Nancy Pelosi and the Committee to Protect Journalists:

This is all so amazing and quite surreal, considering it’s been ten years since Dhondup Wangchen started filming “Leaving Fear Behind” –  what a journey.

For those who want to go back and watch “Leaving Fear Behind”, it’s online here: https://vimeo.com/50220285

To read about the day I spent with Dhondup Wangchen on 10 March, 2008, read my piece for CPJ here: https://cpj.org/blog/2009/12/the-story-of-dhondup-wangchen-a-filmmaker-jailed-i.php

Happy new year and see you in 2018!

 

Upcoming Events: London Migration Film Festival Panel and Westminster University Roundtable

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Looking forward to two events taking place soon, on Saturday, 12 November, I’ll be speaking on a panel as part of the London Migration Film Festival and on Monday, 14 November, I’ll be taking part in a roundtable discussion on protest and democracy in East Asia at the University of Westminster.

Full programme of the London Migration Film Festival

Full programme of the London Migration Film Festival

The London Migration Film Festival is a whole weekend, in my old stomping ground of Deptford, dedicated to migration, and aims to portray the diversity, nuance and subjective experience within migration. Apart from a fantastic array of films, there will also be workshops, a networking brunch and live music so please do come along if you can!

As part of the festival, there will be a chance to catch the exile Tibetan film “Pawo” at Deptford Cinema at 1pm on Saturday 12 November. Tickets are available for a very reasonable (for London!) £5 or £3.50 concession. Tickets can be bought online here: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/EIHHED

pawo

To read more about “Pawo”, catch Tenzin Kelden’s review which was written for this year’s Tibet Film Festival held earlier this year in Dharamsala and Zurich.

Later the same day at 6pm, also at Deptford Cinema, I’ll be speaking on a panel titled “Diaspora and Integration”, along with Dr. Nasimi, Director of the Deptford-based Afghanistan & Central Asian Association, Vinay Patel, a British script writer of Indian heritage and Claire Dwyer, Reader in Human Geography at UCL and Co-Director of Migration Research Unit.

Directly following the panel discussion, at 7pm, there’ll be a screening of the film “Black”,  a Romeo and Juliet-style love story against the backdrop of urban gang wars and immigrant communities in contemporary Brussels.

It’s free to attend the panel discussion but you’ll need to book tickets to see “Black”: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/EIHHEI From what I understand, if there are too many people for the panel discussion then priority will be given to those who have tickets for Black so maybe it’s worth booking 🙂

I can’t wait to get back to Deptford next weekend – please try to make time to see Pawo and to come along to the panel discussion, as well as any of the other events! Thank you so much to the amazing people at Migration Collective for inviting me to be part of the weekend.

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Just a couple of days later, on 14 November at 6pm, I’ll be taking part in a Roundtable Discussion at the University of Westminster on “Protest and Democracy in East Asia”.

The roundtable will discuss democracy, social and political transformation and protests in China, Hong Kong and Tibet. The other panel members are Alex Chow, Shao Jiang and Dr Gerda Wielander – I feel the least qualified to speak but I will try my best!

There is more information about the event and also information about how to attend on the University of Westminster website here: https://www.westminster.ac.uk/events/roundtable-discussion-on-protest-and-democracy-in-east-asia

Thank you as ever to Dr Dibyesh Anand from the University of Westminster for inviting me, I look forward to meeting all the panel members and students soon!

Photos from the “Banned Expression in Tibet” Event at Kings Place and Thanks Yous!

I’m happy to report that the “Banned Expression in Tibet” event at Kings Place on 20 June 2015 went very well! Thank you to everyone who came along and made it a memorable night!

We had such a great team of performers and crew so that on the actual day, it wasn’t stressful at all but really fun and everyone played their part beautifully.

I just wanted to post some of the amazing photos of the event which were taken by our good friend Luke Ward at Kings Place. If anyone re-posts the photos from here, please be sure to credit him as the photographer and mention that the photos were taken at Kings Place, thanks.

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The Programme Sheet for the night

 

For everyone who came and enjoyed the visuals we used as background on the night, here they are below. Many thanks to our talented graphic designer who offered her services and did all the artwork for Banned Expression, often to tight deadlines!

 

I’m also glad that Tibetan media picked up on the event, here are two radio reports online:

Voice of Tibet: http://www.vot.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/tib_23_06_2015.mp3 (From minute 19:26)

Voice of America report: http://www.voatibetanenglish.com/audio/2815048.html (From minute 33:20)

Finally I’d like to thank everyone who gave their time and effort to making “Banned Expression” a success. It’s going to be a long blog post but I wanted to take the time here to thank everyone who contributed and also make their contribution known!

My website High Peaks Pure Earth has enjoyed an extremely fruitful partnership on Banned Expression with Voice of Tibet and Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy and their support has been unwavering these past three years.

Thank you to FreeMuse for supporting Tibetan musicians and for sending a wonderful message of solidarity to us. Several Tibet-related groups helped with spreading the word, so thank you to Students for a Free Tibet and Tibet Society. A special mention must go to Tibet Society and Tibet Relief Fund for bringing their whole crew to the event and especially to Philippa and Riki for supporting the work of High Peaks Pure Earth.

Thank you to co-host and co-organiser Kunsang Kelden, a natural on the stage and a prolific blogger at Lhakar Diaries: http://lhakardiaries.com/author/kunsangkelden/

Thank you to our performers! Thank you Ngawang Lodup! Ngawang is an emerging artist on the world music scene here in UK, don’t miss his session for BBC Radio 3: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02tykp5 and catch him at the end of July at WOMAD for a full 45 minute solo set: http://womad.co.uk/lineup/ngawang-lodup

Ugyen Choephell thrilled us all with his rock and roll heart and passionate words. Ugyen is always there to lend his support for Tibet, no matter how big or small the event, thank you for coming all the way from Bristol for us! Visit Ugyen’s website here: http://www.tibetalivingtradition.co.uk/about.htm

Thank you to Palden, someone who is somehow able just to turn up on the day and effortlessly pull off two songs amazingly!

Thank you to Sonam who conquered her nerves and reached new heights! Thank you to Bhuchung D. Sonam for letting us premiere his translation of “Today, I wish to offer three prostrations towards Lhasa” by Tashi Rabten at the event. Sonam read it well and the full power of his words could be felt in the room.

And thank you to Youdon Aukatsang who managed to fit Banned Expression into her already packed programme and effortlessly graced the stage like a true pro! A thank you must also go to A.E Clark at Ragged Banner whose translations of Woeser la’s work are so beautiful, the two poems that Youdon la read, A Vow and Scream are both to be found in Tibet’s True Heart, a highly recommended book.

And where would we be without our amazing crew members? Eli, thank you not only for your genius make-up and beauty skills but also for your support over the years for everything that we do. Eli was with us on Banned Expression from the start and looks after us all! From the Green Room to the Dressing Room to the way home, Eli had it all covered so that we were hydrated and had plenty to snack on, she thought of everything, even bringing flowers and scented candles to calm our nerves.

Shu-Ting, thank you for your AV assistance and sorry you got stuck in the booth all night! Thank you JD & ND for lending a hand whenever we needed it and thank you to Luke Ward for his photos.

Several businesses in London promoted Banned Expression by giving out our leaflets and having our posters up, including the Tibetan owned businesses Vintage Basement just off Brick Lane and in Camden and Kailash Momo Restaurant in the Tibetan hub of Woolwich. The lovely Nepalese couple at Rising Green Coffee Shop were similarly helpful, anyone in the Old Street area should check out their delicious momos every Wednesday!

The Kings Place crew were a God-send and made us look professional, thank you Andrew, Delfina, Michael, Alex, Matt and all the Front of House staff.

As this post shows, it takes a lot of people, planning, patience and support to put on a 90 minute show! I hope that events like this will continue to be supported so that the incredible creative resistance taking place in Tibet today can be honoured and given a fitting space.