News story

10 ways the government’s showcasing the very best of British culture in China

The Chancellor has announced a raft of support measures to open up some of the country’s best arts and culture to Chinese audiences.

Shakespeare's Globe

Shakespeare’s Globe will tour China with a revival of The Merchant of Venice.

1. The British Library will display some of its most iconic literary treasures in China for the first time ever

Ten handwritten manuscripts and early editions by some of the best-known British authors of all time, from William Shakespeare to the Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, will star in popup exhibitions across China between 2016 and 2019.

The British Library will also begin creating related online resources in Mandarin.

This follows the opening of a new display at the British Library in London showcasing 3,000 years of Chinese writing, from ancient engraved animal bones to a vast 15th century encyclopaedia.

2. Shakespeare’s Globe will tour the Merchant of Venice, and Globe Education will create a training programme for arts organisations in China

To commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death next year, Shakespeare’s Globe will tour China with a revival of The Merchant of Venice which premiered at the Globe in April this year to full houses for over 6 weeks.

£500,000 of government funding will also develop a training programme for Chinese arts organisations to develop their learning and community projects.

This complements the £1.5 million investment announced at the 2014 UK-China Economic Financial Dialogue in support of the Royal Shakespeare Company for the translation of Shakespeare into Mandarin, and the translation of seminal Chinese plays into English.

3. £500,000 to support a Royal Opera House training programme for Chinese students

The Royal Opera House currently provides training to Chinese delegations on an ad hoc basis, so this Sino-UK funding will offer Chinese students the opportunity to travel to London for intensive training courses with world-leading arts institutions.

4. A new Love China Festival at the Southbank Centre

This will celebrate the UK’s cultural links with China through workshops, exhibitions and performances showcasing the best of music, theatre, fashion, design, dance, comedy and literature from the UK and China. It builds on the success of the Southbank Centre’s annual Alchemy festival celebrating the UK’s links with the Indian subcontinent.

5. £250,000 for the National Theatre of Great Britain, working in collaboration with the National Theatre of China to develop the tour of War Horse across China

The tour will follow its recent performances in Beijing and Shanghai.

The show will be produced, operated and performed by 90 Chinese artists and technicians who have been trained as part of the strategic skills exchange between the two national theatres.

6. £1.3 million to support the presentation in China of Tate’s exhibition of British art, Landscapes of the Mind: British Landscape Painting (1700 – 2007)

The exhibition comprises over one hundred celebrated works drawn from Tate’s unrivalled collection of British art, including David Hockney’s ‘Bigger Trees near Water’.

Most of these will be presented in China for the first time.

This exhibition, which has travelled to Mexico City and São Paulo, will forge a new museum partnership for Tate in China and follows the successful presentation of a landmark Turner exhibition at the National Art Museum of China, in Beijing in 2009.

7. The Victoria & Albert Museum will create a new system for interpreting Chinese images

£300,000 of funding will support the initial stages of creating a bilingual English-Mandarin database of pre-1900 Chinese cultural and literary sources.

8. £700,000 to showcase tourism in the North of England as part of the Northern Powerhouse

The Chancellor’s current visit to China is a key opportunity to highlight the economic and cultural impetus of the UK’s Northern Powerhouse, and the campaign will encourage Chinese visitors to explore the Yorkshire moors, Beatrix Potter and Wordsworth countryside in the Lake District, and historical sites such as Hadrian’s Wall.

9. £1.3 million for a VisitBritain ‘culture is GREAT’ campaign in China

This will highlight Britain’s cultural capital. Sally Balcombe, VisitBritain’s CEO, is also joining the Chancellor during his tour of China.

10. A new Eden Project in Qingdao

The Eden Project has signed a deal, worth up to £5 million, for a new Eden Project in Qingdao – the company’s first development outside of the UK.

Image by Wally Gobetz on Flickr. Used under creative commons.

Published 21 September 2015