Rise Up: Exit Pursued by Panda

Exit Pursued by Panda is a theatre company that exists to create more opportunities for British East Asian (BEA) actors and creatives. The company, put together by Adrian Tang, gets its name from Shakespeare’s most famous stage direction “exit, pursued by a bear”. To the best of his knowledge, Adrian is the only Artistic Director in Berkshire who is actively promoting actors and creatives in the British East Asian theatre community.

At a similar time to attending a short acting course and solidifying Adrian’s desire to work in the theatre industry, the play In The Depths of Dead Love produced by The Print Room, received backlash for its all Caucasian cast, despite the fact that the play is set in Ancient China with Ancient characters.

This series of events inspired Adrian to create a theatre company with three core aims, which remain true to this day. Exit Pursued by Panda firstly strives to produce plays specifically about BEA cultures and themes. Secondly, even if they aren’t staging a play about BEA, giving equal consideration to everyone in auditions, and thirdly to shine a light on social issues.

In regard to shining a light on social issues, Exit Pursued by Panda’s upcoming play Tulips does just that. Written by Michael Beakhouse, Tulips tells the story of two men who have experienced domestic abuse from their female partners and how they can overcome it.

The media’s done commendable work in raising awareness of domestic abuse against women, which plays a part in helping people to identify and end it.  There is not as much coverage for male survivors though – but we hope that if people come to see our play, we can help to address that.

Michael Beakhouse

Adrian Tang and Michael Beakhouse behind Tulips are both based in Berkshire, where statistics show that 28 per cent of victims reporting to the police about domestic abuse are male, in comparison to the 19 per cent of the national average.

The two creators are passionate about aiding male victims, and the play is additionally supported by Mankind Initiative, who are leading the national support service for male abuse victims.

The play encourages audiences “to deice who is in the wrong while watching the couples arguing as everyone will at first assume it is the men.” The point of Tulips is to “look at how male domestic is treated in society and why there is still a lack of men who speak out about being hurt by their partners. The play tries to tackle and break down this view by tackling masculinity and showing that it is okay for men to seek help.”

This boundary breaking show will be playing in Bracknell, the Bath Fringe Festival and the Guildford Fringe Festival this summer. The show has been in progress for 18 months so when the first performance of Tulips opens, to see it on stage will be Exit Pursued by Panda’s highlight.

Quick Fire Questions

  • In the theatre world, who inspires you? “Daniel York Loh – the poster boy for the BEA theatre community”
  • What is your favourite show that you’ve seen? “one of the most important shows that I saw in 2018 was the musical Fun Home
  • What is your favourite genre of theatre? “I have a guilty pleasure when it comes to musicals!”
  • What do you think we need more of in theatre? “minority voices!”

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