The producer chatted to Emma Clarendon about bringing Soul of Shaolin to the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre.
Hi Nick thanks for talking to me. Could you explain a little bit more about what Soul of Shaolin is about? Soul of Shaolin is billed as a Kung Fung spectacular but indeed it is more than that. The show is a theatrical spectacular blending Kung Fu and other martial artforms with music and visuals into a theatrical experience. Soul of Shaolin is about a mother’s love for her son. When their home becomes shrouded in civil conflict and violence, Hui Guang gets separated from his mother after she hides her young son from all the turmoil. He was left with a piece of jade to help identify where he came from. Hui Guang is discovered by a monk named Na Luo, who decides to take him under his wing and bring him to the mystical Shaolin Monastery and he trains in the art of Shaolin Kung Fu. Years later, Hui Guang comes across his mother in the street, homeless and begging passersby for money. She recognises the jade in Hui Guang’s pocket and trespasses on the monastery grounds. After being caught and interrogated, it is clear who she is and she asks to take Hui Guang home with her. The Head Monk refuses her request and states that if Hui Guang truly wants to leave, he must fight his way out of the temple.
How does it feel to be bringing this show to London? There is so much interest in the Asia region and China specifically it is always wonderful to bring new experiences to audiences.
Why do you think now was the right time to bring Soul of Shaolin to the UK? There is so much interest in china , of course we hear about the issue of trade all the time but the huge interest from the general public in China is shown with china now being the fourth most visited country in the world. That is a huge number of visitors when you consider the inbound tourism industry which in global terms relatively new there. There is a lot of interest in travellers to explore places further afield and china is one such destination. As such Soul of Shaolin provides a glimpse of an ancient Chinese tradition/ artform and contributes to us understanding this vast country.
What was it about the show that appealed to you to bring it to London? As mentioned the timing was right to bring this show to London audiences, the interest and intrigue into China is great. The show had performed on Broadway and it is now time for UK audiences to experience this production.
What can audiences expect from the show? Featuring a jaw-dropping mix of martial arts, acrobatics, mime, potent music and vivid theatrical design. Those who have studied martial arts kung fu or any of the other artforms will be in awe of the performers.
If people are thinking about coming along – why should they?
The show is very unique it provides a window into just one part of chinas very rich and very ancient culture. You could say you can travel to a part of china and be immersed in a Chinese cultural experience in the comfort of a wonderful new theatre in Wembley Park.
By Emma Clarendon
Soul of Shaolin will perform at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre from the 26th September until the 6th October.