Thursday 27 October 2016

Miranda and Caliban: The Making of a Monster World Premiere in Hong Kong
Celebrates the Reworking of Shakespeare’s Classic with Disabled and Non-disabled Performers at New Vision Arts Festival

#ShakespeareLives #BritishCouncilHK #MandC #BOPTheatre

27 October 2016 (HONG KONG) – The British Council is proud to co-present the world premiere of Miranda and Caliban: The Making of a Monster with the Leisure and Cultural Services Department on 5 and 6 November 2016 at Kwai Tsing Theatre. Produced by the Birds of Paradise Theatre Company for the New Vision Arts Festival, the production is a reworking of Shakespeare’s The Tempest with both disabled and non-disabled performers from the UK and Hong Kong, exploring the meaning of ‘home’ and the relationship with ‘the other’ through an interactive and cutting-edge performance for a live audience in Hong Kong and Glasgow.   

As part of the British Council’s Shakespeare Lives, a global programme that marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016, the Birds of Paradise Theatre Company’s latest production celebrates the universal resonance of his work across different languages and cultures while exploring and experimenting with the many possibilities of the theatre. Spoken words, sign language and audio description are all fully integrated and embedded throughout the performance, while the music by the Glasgow hip-hop legend Hector Bizerk, who fuses Shakespeare's original text with digital imagery produced by Hong Kong-based digital artists XEX, will create a truly inclusive performance for both the performers and the audience.

“Whilst showcasing excellence and innovation in the arts from the UK, the project also demonstrates the British Council’s long-term commitment to celebrate and promote inclusion and diversity in society,” said Christopher Rawlings, Director of the British Council, Hong Kong. “Inclusion is at the heart of everything we do and I’m thrilled that the show brings together disabled and non-disabled performers as well as audiences from both Hong Kong and the UK. Together we can celebrate the universal relevance of Shakespeare’s work. I am sure that the Birds of Paradise Theatre Company’s re-imagining of The Tempest will inspire a whole new generation of theatre lovers.”

The story will be set in a TV studio, where Caliban is facing a trial for his alleged sexual assault of Miranda. At the end of the performance, the audience will vote on whether Caliban is innocent or guilty of his charge, and decide how the performance should end. The performance will be live-streamed between Hong Kong and Glasgow, where performers and audiences both form a part of this exciting performance in real-time, despite geographical distance.

Garry Robson, Artistic Director of the Birds of Paradise Theatre Company added, “The Tempest has always struck a chord in me because I saw the character of Caliban as a disabled man, demonised simply because he was ‘the other’.  For contemporary audiences, the story works on many levels.  In this version, we focus on the alleged assault of Miranda by Caliban.  Sexual assault is sadly too common in our modern culture, where victims are still often unable to come forward, and where women are still discussed as culpable in their own assault.  Shakespeare Lives gave us the opportunity to interrogate what happened between Miranda and Caliban in a modern context for a contemporary audience in Glasgow and Hong Kong.”

The play will be performed in English, Cantonese, British Sign Language, Hong Kong Sign Language and English language audio description. The visually impaired are invited to join a touch tour before the performance, where they will be given additional information about the performance to ensure they get the best theatre experience.

In addition to the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, the British Council is proud to work with a range of local partners including Arts with Disabled Association Hong Kong (ADAHK), Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts (HKAPA), and the Absolutely Fabulous Theatre Connection (AFTEC) to develop a series of outreach and education programmes, including an open rehearsal and student performance with free admission. These programmes foster cultural exchange and experience sharing, especially in inclusive theatre between the Birds of Paradise Theatre Company and Hong Kong theatre practitioners and audiences. 

Media Contact:
Mavis Ma (Communications Manager) 2913 5260 /

Notes to Editor

(1) Miranda and Caliban: The Making of a Monster Public Performance Details





5 Nov 2016 (Saturday)


Black Box Theatre, Kwai Tsing Theatre

6 Nov 2016 (Sunday)



 (2)  About New Vision Arts Festival

From 21 October to 20 November, the biennial New Vision Arts Festival presents an exhilarating line-up. It showcases the Festival’s role as a creative platform, where artistic genres and cultural insights converge and energise innovation, bringing a new viewing experience to the audience. ArtSnap, a mini-festival within a festival, also returns with an array of dynamic performances over two weekends, providing fringe and experimental artistic endeavours that utilise every corner of the Kwai Tsing Theatre building and beyond.


(3)  About Birds of Paradise Theatre Company

Birds of Paradise Theatre Company is a force for change in Scottish inclusive theatre. They work to increase the representation of professional disabled artists and performers in Scottish theatre, create world class performances that embody the aesthetics of access by integrating audio description, sign language and captioning, and nurture the next generation of disabled artists and audience.


(4) About Shakespeare Lives
Shakespeare Lives is a global programme of events and activities celebrating the world's most popular playwright's work on the 400th anniversary of his death in 2016. The programme will include a host of events, including innovative theatre and dance performances, film screenings, globally sourced art exhibitions, and educational resources in English.


About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. Using the UK’s cultural resources we make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.

We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year we reach over 20 million people face-to-face and more than 500 million people online, via broadcasts and publications.

Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. The majority of our income is raised delivering a range of projects and contracts in English teaching and examinations, education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. Eighteen per cent of our funding is received from the UK government.