Kumiko Mendl has worked as an actor, teacher, storyteller and director and is Artistic Director of Yellow Earth, the award winning British East Asian theatre company. She led on the companies education and outreach programme before becoming Artistic Director in 2011 and set up the first BEA acting summer school; Yellow Earth Academy in 2010 to encourage more BEA’s into the industry. She is also co-founder and co AD of A Thousand Cranes and artistic associate at Artsdepot.
Andrew and Kumiko discuss her career from growing up in Watford, discovering her passion for mime and subsequently training at Jacques LaCoq. The two amble through the various important acting, directing and other jobs that she would go on to do including appearing at the National Theatre, Carol Churchill’s Top Girls, appearing as a life-model and how she and others founded Yellow Earth Theatre – a company dedicated to creating work for British East Asian artists, her involvement with A Thousand Cranes, setting up the UK’s first BEA summer school and the many different challenges that she and other British East Asians face in today’s industry.
Episode features include:
The Soapbox: Andrew and Kumiko discuss the many unfair challenges that face being an East Asian performer in the performing arts industry and surrounding issues such the use of yellow-face, white-washing, colour-blind and colour-conscious casting and dispel the myth that there aren’t enough East Asian performers in the UK.
Dramatic News: Andrew covers the latest news headlines including stories relating to Kevin Spacey, The King & I and Evita.
The Platform: Our featured composer is Joe Purdue with a song called Still So Close performed by Lewis Greenslade and Sarah Joyce from his Tolkien inspired musical Unfolding Tales.
Plus Show People challenges, tangents and much, much more.
Projects discussed on the Show People Podcast:
Typhoon Festival 2017 – staged play-readings. This is a fantastic opportunity to witness a range of bold, powerful and provocative new plays by some of the brightest and best playwrights of EA descent.
Soho Theatre Upstairs: 22 – 24 Nov at 3pm
Rich Mix Venue 1: 24 – 26 Nov at 3pm and 7.30pm
Details of all plays here http://yellowearth.org/typhoon-2017/
Mountains; the Dreams of Lily Kwok by In-Sook Chappell
An adaptation of a family memoir; Sweet Mandarin by Helen Tse
Co-produced with Royal Exchange Manchester and Black Theatre Live
Royal Exchange Studio: 22nd March/26th March – 7 April 2018
Stratford Circus, London: 18th – 21 April
National tour: 23rd April to 2nd June 2018
Yellow Earth Academy 2018 (summer acting school) at ALRA (Academy of Live and Recorded Arts) London July 2018
And a new Yellow Earth Academy Birmingham at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (formerly the Birmingham School of Acting) July 2018.
Andrew Keates: @AndrewKeates, Kumiko Mendl: @KumikoMendl, Yellow Earth Theatre: @yellowearthuk, Joe Purdue: @Joe_Purdue, the Show People Podcast: @ShowPeopleUK, Arion Productions: @ArionProds and use #ShowPeoplePodcast.
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Show People Photography by Scott Rylander: www.scottrylander.com
Arion Productions Donate Link: www.arion-productions.com/donate
The Show People Shop: www.arion-productions.com/showpeople
Yellow Earth: www.yellowearth.org
A Thousand Cranes: www.athousandcranes.org.uk
Joe Purdue’s Website: www.joepurdue.com
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All profits from the Show People Podcast go toward supporting Arion Productions Ltd to create opportunities and resources for theatre-makers. If you enjoy the podcast and can support this independent theatre company, please make a donation by visiting www.arion-productions.com/support
The Show People Podcast is a biweekly podcast. The next episode will be released 4th December 2017 and will be with actor, writer and director Pete Gallagher. Please hit subscribe and leave us a review on iTunes or whichever platform you listen to us on.