New online theatre festival WeRNotVirus to call attention to racism against East Asians during coronavirus outbreak
| By Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels
A brand-new, two-day online festival meant to raise awareness of hate crimes committed against the East Asian and South-East Asian communities during the coronavirus pandemic has been announced. Funded by the Arts Council England Emergency Fund, WeRNotVirus is scheduled to take place online via Zoom from 13 to 14 June 2020.
New online festival WeRNotVirus with 10 new stories to run next month
Statistics have shown that within the first three months of 2020 when the coronavirus broke out, the number of racist attacks against East and South Asians in the UK has nearly tripled in comparison with 2018 and 2019. Over 260 hate crimes have been reported to UK officials from January 2020 to March 2020 alone, compared to 360 cases for the whole of 2018 and 375 cases for the whole of 2019.
This major spike in racism has been indubitably linked to the COVID-19 outbreak, propaganda, and what many believe to be the ridiculously false assumption that all Asians consume exotic foods such as bat soup and pangolin meat.
In response to this rise in racism, a collective of leading writers, actors, directors, and creators of East and South-East Asian heritage in the UK have banded together to put on a major digital performing arts event entitled WeRNotVirus, presented by Moongate Productions.
What to expect from WeRNotVirus
The festival WeRNotVirus will feature ten newly commissioned stories told through a variety of different art forms, including poetry, monologue, song, dance, and film. It is all supported by the Arts Council England and will see direction by Young Vic New Genesis fellow Jennifer Tang and by associate director Anthony Lau.
The festival's producer, Jennifer Lim, who is also the co-founder of Moongate Productions alongside Daniel York Loh, has said:
"During a time when there has been a growing rise in hate crime against diasporic East and South-East Asian people it is vital that we are given a platform to amplify our voice. Thanks to the Arts Council, who have recognised the pressing need to respond strongly and creatively, WeRNotVirus aims to kickstart a movement which helps to break down the mystery and fear by putting our stories out there and making our voices heard."
WeRNotVirus Festival line-up
WeRNotVirus, which takes place on 13 and 14 June, will include performances and works by Daniel York Loh, Will Harris, Amber Hsu, Oladipo Agboluaje, Lucy Sheen, Enxi, Jimin Suh, Nemo Martin, Shaofan Wilson and J M Arrow. The "venue" for the festival will be the video conferencing application Zoom, which has gained momentum in the past few months due to people working from home whilst on lockdown.
🎟️ Tickets for WeRNotVirus can be booked here