2 April 2024

An evening of pupil-led song, dance and theatre was dedicated to all aspiring Asian performers

A greater inclusivity within the arts was the drive and focus for Homecoming: An Evening of Artistic CelebrAsian, held in the Millicent Fawcett Hall in March.

Organised, produced and directed by A Level pupil Yanka (Remove, BB), the show shone a spotlight on the young East and Southeast Asian cast, who sang, danced, and acted their way through a dozen performances, moving from China, to South Korea, to India, and the USA.

The inspiration for the Homecoming event came from Yanka and her desire to aspire towards the arts. In her programme notes, she wrote: “When I think of theatre, or simply acting, I do not immediately think of myself. I do not associate the term with faces like mine… Growing up in a traditional Chinese household, theatre was never a topic of discussion… My understanding of theatre blossomed from a forbidden corner in my mind… Pursuing a career in the creative industry is stereotypically frowned upon in Asian traditions. Whether it be at family gatherings, or car rides with my parents, I catch myself having to constantly explain and justify my ambition to engage with the arts.”

The show itself, therefore, was an opportunity for this ‘young, aspiring Asian actress’ to move towards a greater Asian representation in the arts. “Far away in Hollywood, directors were and are still underrepresenting and misrepresenting Asian people… Last year undoubtedly marked a turning point in growing diversity, with the film Everything, Everywhere, All at Once, dominating the Oscars, and star Michelle Yeoh, making history as the first Asian winner of Best Actress.”

“A part of me believes in my individual responsibility in consolidating the role and values of performing arts in society… I am therefore putting on the first Pan-Asian, student-run performing arts showcase at Westminster School as a fundraiser for New Earth Theatre, a national theatre company that advocates for East and Southeast Asian artists. This show is dedicated to all aspiring Asian performers, actors, singers and dancers who wish to be given a platform and a voice. To anyone who as ever been told ‘No’.”

Following the show, which raised £1,147 for New Earth Theatre, Yanka said: “Directing and producing the show has been an absolute pleasure, as well as a journey of passion and perseverance. I witnessed the diverse talents of Asian performers unite on stage, and celebrated the magic we created through our collective effort. This was a crucial step towards greater inclusivity in the arts, and I’m honoured to have been a part of it.”

Cast and Crew
Yanka (Remove, BB)
Jasmine (Sixth Form, GG)
Samara (Remove, HH)
Arin (Sixth Form, BB)
Ben (Remove, HH)
Kieran (Sixth Form, LL)
Floyd (Remove, WW)
Hojung (Remove, BB)
Jinzi (Remove, HH)
Alex (Sixth Form, DD)
Celestine (Remove, GG)
Eliza (Remove, RR)
Leo (Sixth Form, PP)
Diganta (Sixth Form, BB)
Zain (Remove, LL)
Nathan (Remove, BB)
Lucas (Remove, HH)
Qihan (Sixth Form, LL)
Kazumasa (Sixth Form, HH)

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