About Stranger

What is it to be female? What is it to be male? Who decides?


Co-produced by Aorta Theatre Collective (UK) and Life Art (Vietnam), Stranger is a unique and compelling theatrical collaboration between England and Vietnam. It will be presented in the UK for the first time in September 2013 during a short tour in Cardiff, where it will be featured at the World Stage Design 2013, and London, at Tara Arts and The Albany.

Stranger is a visually-led devised theatre performance that explores stereotypes of masculinity and femininity in modern Vietnam and seeks to engage debate. What is the strange unfamiliar land of the other? Are we forever separate or do we belong together? Stranger experiments with sound, image, language and music to trace the journey of a young woman and man who question the gender roles they are subject to.

Adapted to an international audience, the piece will initiate a programme of workshops and discussions aimed at nurturing artistic dialogue between Eastern and Western theatre practices. In order to fully express its potential the company will engage with the Vietnamese communities living in London and the rest of the UK during rehearsals and performances period. The project wishes to promote Vietnamese stories, culture and art, which are rarely represented in the UK.

Entirely devised by the company, and featuring video performances by Welsh multi-award winning artist Eddie Ladd, this theatre collaboration is the fruition of a 10 year period of dialogue between London-based Aorta Theatre Collective and Same Stuff Theatre, a group of extremely brave and innovative young actors in Hanoi who strive to make new theatre outside the traditional state sponsored system.

The seeds of this project started in 2012 with funding from British Council Hanoi, to create a visual theatre piece that would tell stories related to male/female power struggles within an eastern context but be comprehensible across linguistic and cultural borders. Performer and co-director Phan Y Ly and actor Ho Ngoc Bao Khiem invited theatre director Rob Hale and scenographer Paul Burgess from the UK to join a devising process, which produced three improvised performances under the title Stranger at the BlackBox studio theatre in Hanoi in April 2012. These sell-out performances were received enthusiastically by a young audience who had no previous exposure to devised and improvised theatre.

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