fanSHEN uses theatre to help people imagine what they haven't thought of yet.
Our work promotes ideas of environmental, social and financial sustain-agility and these ideas are embedded in the making-process.
- make internationally-influenced visual theatre with superb acting, distinctive aesthetics and eloquent movement
- celebrate the principle of 'stronger together': collaboration with the right people can give our combined work greater and wider impact
- subvert the spectator's conventionally passive role, from creating platforms for audience talkback to inviting their physical involvement in our shows
- seek communities whose existing interests overlap with the stories we tell and invite them to become new audiences
- believe that no space should be safe from theatre and that new environments inspire new relationships and exciting discoveries
- create long-term dialogue with people and places who inspire us.
fanSHEN is a Mandarin word which translates roughly as ‘to turn the body’ or ‘to turn over.’ The word was used by the Chinese Communist Party to describe their radical, ambitious and ultimately highly destructive land reforms in the 1940s. It therefore evokes ideas of radical change and how terrifying radical change can be – themes which crop up again and again in fanSHEN’s work.
Fanshen was also a play written by David Hare about a village in China attempting to execute these land reforms and paying a high price. The play was devised by the playwright in collaboration with an ensemble of actors (Joint Stock) and a director (William Gaskill). So the name also suggests a model of artists collaborating together to create a work of art; a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.