征文31 ▏Bill: China has an extremely dynamic atmosphere

家外之家 2021
征文31 ▏Bill: China has an extremely dynamic atmosphere

Name : Bill Aitchison


Country of Origin : United Kingdom


Occupation : Director/Actor/Teacher in Theatre

职业:导演 / 演员 / 戏剧教师

Years in China : 7 Years


Bill Aitchison, theatre director, actor and drama teacher

How did your journey in China begin?


It all started when I was a student doing my masters in London. By accident, I got a part time job in the School of the Oriental and African studies so that sparked my curiosity in China. I thought that I should go and visit so as a student I decided to make a trip here. A bit later, when I was getting art residencies, an offer was made to me to come to Beijing to produce some art projects. I accepted this art residency position in 2009 in Beijing and my China journey officially began. Back then, Beijing was not the city that it is now. A couple years later, in 2011 to be exact, I was offered another residency in Xiamen and I can also say that this city was rather different back then.

故事要从我在伦敦读硕士的时候讲起。一个偶然的机会,我在东方和非洲研究学院得到了一份兼职工作,这激起了我对中国的好奇心。我想我应该去看看,所以当时还是学生的我决定到中国旅行。我开始申请艺术家驻地项目,之后,便有人邀请我到北京开展一些艺术项目。2009 年我获得了北京的艺术家驻地权,我的中国之旅正式开始。那时候,北京还不是现在这副模样。几年后,确切地说,在2011年,我获得了在厦门的艺术家驻地权。我也可以说,和当时相比,如今的厦门是截然不同的。

What fascinated you the most about living here?


I like the sense that things happen quickly. There is always a lot of opportunities so you don’t have to be what you thought you were. As I stated earlier, when I first arrived in Beijing and Xiamen, things were completely different back then. For example, I would describe Xiamen in 2011 as greener and rougher around the edges with not that many tourists crowding the streets. Back then it felt like a smaller city as there was not nearly as much development. Also, I would say that being in China, if you are open to opportunities, you can find yourself doing new things, meeting new people and more!


Bill characterized as a mime for a past performance

What do you like the most about Xiamen/ China?


Overall, China has an extremely dynamic atmosphere with the dynamism being an interesting thing. I more and more get the feeling that the trends that are the future on the global level appear first in China. This is a place where things are up for grabs in the early stages and as an artist that’s important for me. The art scene is growing and diverse albeit not as organized as in other places in the world. In Europe, where I’m more familiar, things are more organized and predictable as there’s more support for the arts industry. But if I’m being completely honest, the lack of organization in the art scene here makes the industry more unpredictable and creative. Right now, we’re currently in a building phase here as officials and developers are building museums and spaces at an incredible speed, the next thing to accomplish will be a greater sensitivity to the art programmes that fill the spaces.


Bill with students and fellow performers

What is your unique China story?


The art group I founded happened by accident and as such we call it Last Minute Live Art. It came about as a result of a last-minute cancelled art festival in Hangzhou. I had some students who were travelling to join us there. I felt bad so I asked some friends who run a museum in Nanjing to set up a festival of our own in 3 weeks’ time. And they said YES! That was how the group was born and now we have done quite a few festivals and many events… from nothing to the main promoter of experimental performance in Nanjing and working on a national level too.

一次偶然的机会,我创立了一个艺术团体 “Last Minute Live Art”。我的学生本来想参加杭州的一个艺术节,无奈在最后一刻被取消了。我感到很难过,所以我问了在南京经营博物馆的朋友,请求他们在三周内组织一个我们自己的艺术节,他们欣然答应了。就这样,这个艺术团体诞生了,现在我们已经举办了不少艺术节和其他活动……我们白手起家,一路发展,成为南京实验表演的主要推动者,工作范围拓展到全国。

Bill with fellow performers on a recent trip to Lijiang

Would you like to mention any of your current projects?


I am doing 2 shows at the moment that are complete opposites. The first is an experimental movement piece which could be described as having a very dark energy, which is pretty unusual for China. The team is made up of 6 strong performers and I begin directing it in Beijing this coming October. The second one is a very arty children’s show usually performed by an Italian theatre group who cannot come to China at the moment so I’ve been cast in it along with two other local performers.


Fun fact about Bill’s hometown 

介绍一下 Bill 的家乡

Portsmouth is an island like Xiamen, so the mentalities are surprisingly similar here and back home.


作者:比尔▪艾奇森 翻译:潘泽彬

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