Black Theatre Live


Black Theatre Live announce Mountains: The Dreams of Lily Kwok as 2018 tour

17 November 2017

A co-production with Yellow Earth Theatre and Royal Exchange Manchester, the adaptation of family memoir Sweet Mandarin will be the first major mid-scale tour of a British East Asian play.

Written by In-Sook Chappell | Directed by Jennifer Tang

Black Theatre Live in co-production with Yellow Earth Theatre and Royal Exchange Manchester has announced that they will tour new play Mountains: The Dreams of Lily Kwok, which tells the extraordinary story of the three generations of women behind famous Manchester restaurant Sweet Mandarin. Based on Helen Tse’s family memoir, the show will include live cooking onstage, and at selected venues there will be a pre-show cooking demo from Helen and her sister Lisa. The show is led by an all-female creative team.

Helen has grown up in the UK, but always felt a piece of her story was missing. When she visits her mother’s birthplace in Hong Kong for the first time, she’s determined to find out who she really is and where she belongs. Amidst the skyscrapers and bustling streets, she meets her grandmother, Lily Kwok, and steps into her past, discovering shocking family secrets that will change her life forever.

Touring in Spring 2018, Mountains – The Dreams of Lily Kwok is the first major mid-scale tour of a British East Asian play. It is the seventh Black Theatre Live show following the Autumn tour of Big Foot, Britain’s first all-black Hamlet, new play She Called Me Mother, one-woman show The Diary of a Hounslow Girl, Inua Ellam’s An Evening with an Immigrant and Macbeth. The show will tour the consortium’s eight venues across England, which have come together to commission and showcase excellent theatre from BAME companies.

Writer In-Sook Chappell was born in South Korea and raised in England. Her first play This Isn’t Romance won the Verity Bargate Award and was produced at the Soho Theatre, was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and most recently presented in Korean at the National Theatre of Korea. Her other plays include Tales of the Harrow Road (Soho Theatre), Absence (Young Vic), and P’yongyang (Finborough Theatre).

Director Jennifer Tang is a stage director and theatre-maker. She has worked in theatre and opera across the UK and internationally, including the Scandinavian premieres of two Nick Payne plays. She’s recently directed We Are You (Young Vic, British Museum) and Clytemnestra at the Gate Theatre as part of the Iphigenia Quartet, and worked with Chris Goode & Co on Weaklings (tour) and WANTED (West Yorkshire Playhouse). She was a shortlisted finalist for the JMK Directors Award in 2013. 

Black Theatre Live is a pioneering national consortium of eight regional theatres led by Tara Arts, committed to effecting change for BAME touring theatre through a sustainable three­year programme of national touring, structural support and audience development. Black Theatre Live is a partnership of Tara Arts, Derby Theatre, Queen’s Hall Arts (Hexham), the Lighthouse (Poole), Theatre Royal Bury St. Edmunds, Theatre Royal Margate, Stratford Circus Arts Centre (London) and Key Theatre (Peterborough). Black Theatre Live works with emerging and established BAME companies across England to commission and tour high quality productions to the consortia theatres. The structured audience development and community engagement programmes will include live digital streaming and cinema relay.

Yellow Earth Theatre creates, nurtures and champions the best of British East Asian Theatre.They seek out and identify East Asian artistic talent, and create opportunities for actors, writers and directors to make bold, imaginative and thought-provoking theatre. They bring unheard voices and stories to audiences from all backgrounds through touring productions,  site-specific work and public readings. They also run professional development programmes for actors and writers, and outreach work in schools and museums.

For more information visit

Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre Company transforms the way people see theatre, each other and the world around them. Our historic building, once the world’s biggest cotton exchange, was taken over by artists in 1976. Today it is an award-winning cultural charity that produces new theatre in-the-round, in communities, on the road and online.

Exchange remains at the heart of everything we make and do. Now our currency is brand new drama and reinvigorated classics, the boldest artists and a company of highly skilled makers - all brought together in a shared imaginative endeavour to trade ideas and experiences with the people of Greater Manchester (and beyond).

In 2016 the Royal Exchange won The Stage’s award for Regional Theatre of the Year. Work includes HAMLET with Maxine Peake (for stage and film), THE SKRIKER (with the Manchester International Festival), KING LEAR (co- produced with Talawa Theatre Company, filmed for BBC iPlayer and BBC Four) and PERSUASION. Our next production is GUYS AND DOLLS created in partnership with Talawa Theatre Company.

For more infocmration visit

@blacktlive | #MountainsThePlay|

Company Information

Written by In-Sook Chappell    Directed by Jennifer Tang 

Tour dates 22nd March to 2nd June 2018

22 Mar – 7 April             Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
St Ann's Square, Manchester, M2 7DH | 0161 8339833

18 – 21 Apr                    Stratford Circus Arts Centre
Theatre Square, Stratford, London, E15 1BX | 020 8279 1080

24 – 25 Apr                    Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds
Westgate Street, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, 1P33 1QR | 01284 769505

27 – 28 Apr                    Lighthouse, Poole
21 Kingland Road, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1UG | 01202 280 000

1 - 2 May                       Key Theatre, Peterborough
Embankment Road, Peterborough, PE1 1EF | 01733 207 239

4 - 5 May                       Theatre Royal Margate
Addington Street, Margate, CT9 1PW | 01843 292 795 

9 – 12 May                     Derby Theatre
15 Theatre Walk, St Peter's Quarter, Derby, DE1 2NF | 01332 59 39 39

16 – 19 May                   Watford Palace Theatre
20 Clarendon Road, Watford, WD17 1JZ | 01923 225 671

21 – 23 May                   Sheffield Crucible Theatre
55 Norfolk Street, Sheffield,  S1 1AD | 0114 249 6000

24 – 25 May                   Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, Hexham
Beaumont Street, Hexham, Northumberland, NE46 3LS | 01434 652 477

30 May – 2 June             Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
Belgrade Square, Coventry, CV1 1GS | 024 7655 3055

Black Theatre Live is supported by Arts Council England, Esmee Fairnbarin Foundation, John Ellerman Foundation and the Ernest Cook Trust.