We were playing in the Chao Yang district of Beijing, the major financial district, at the Chao Yang Cultural Centre. It was fantastic that our hotel was literally 100 metres from the theatre. Unfortunately, in other ways the hotel was somewhat lacking in life’s little luxuries, and this combined with the food/pollution/culture change took it’s toll on our little band; one by one we started to get sick.



I saw that my main role in these circumstance was to keep as healthy as I could. In Beijing, that meant getting plenty of sleep and staying in my room as much as possible. That was harder than it sounds because I was fascinated by the city and wanted to be out there seeing the sights and meeting Chinese people.

I remember immediately following our first Beijing rehearsal – we it had been a break now of two weeks –remarking to Katherine how comforting it was to return to this familiar world. Surrounded by the four wooden walls, relating only to Kath and Rich for a little over an hour, we could have been anywhere in the world – we truly created our own reality.

Of course, like most other parts of life, there were differences in the Chinese behaviours around making and watching theatre. These were at times frustrating for our group, but I was lucky enough to feel a sense of fascination rather than anger. That said, I know that the production team – i.e. Phil, Christian and Janine – had some real challenges getting the show up. One thing there was never a shortage of though, and that was staff! The actors took to warming up in our hotel room to give us some peace and quiet, as there were always a lot of people at the theatre.

I found it invigorating to be trying to reach out to a new group of people and I remember thinking that the Beijing people (with minor exceptions) had been so welcoming to me that I wanted to give them our best Ozzie rough-and-ready punk theatre we could produce. All 3 performers developed a “chuck it out there and see how it lands” sort of approach to the show which I think really took the whole piece up a few notches.