The restaurant will stage an ‘immersive dining experience’ this weekend, in collaboration with dramaturg Mary Cooper
‘Drama’ in a restaurant normally conjures up thoughts of cold soup, overdone steak perhaps, or a dodgy date that’s nothing like their Tinder photo.
Not so at Yang Sing, which will be hosting a drama of the more traditional kind this weekend. The longstanding Princess Street restaurant is to stage From Shore to Shore, a new play which draws on real-life stories from Chinese people living in northern England; performed in English, Mandarin and Cantonese.
Produced in collaboration with award-winning writer Mary Cooper, the play explores themes of struggle and survival, immigration and entrepreneurialism: revealing a complex view of migration through several generations of characters. Cheung Wing is escaping from war, Mei Lan’s ‘had enough of the potato peeler’ (we’re not sure what that means either), and Yi Di wants the impossible; her parents’ approval.
Yang Sing is one of nine non-theatre spaces to host the multilingual production, whose cast includes Jennifer Leong (Hamlet and Twelfth Night, Shakespeare’s Globe) and Alan Wai (Into the Badlands, AMC).
It will be accompanied by a traditional two-course Chinese meal at Yang Sing, which this year celebrates its 40th anniversary and is also hosting a 1977 Dinner & Disco evening on 19 July to mark the occasion - complete with a six-course feast.
Now into its third generation of owners, Yang Sing has become something of an institution over the last four decades: overcoming a devastating fire (the subject of an ITV documentary), serving the likes of David Cameron and Sir Alex Ferguson and garnering various accolades including two AA Rosettes.
Executive chef Harry Yeung, who began his apprenticeship in the kitchens of Hong Kong at the tender age of thirteen, now co-runs Yang Sing with his daughter Bonnie. Aside from occasionally taking time off to watch the footie, he still mans the pans daily and was awarded an MBE for his contribution to the Chinese community in 2004.
Playwright Mary Cooper, said: “It’s a real pleasure to be able to bring From Shore to Shore to life at Manchester’s Yang Sing, whose own story is synonymous with many of the key themes in the production. The play offers an extraordinary insight into an undiscovered side of Britain’s rich contemporary diversity, reaffirming our common humanity in these divisive times and ever prominent in the city of Manchester.”
From Shore to Shore is funded by Gerry Yeung OBE, Arts Council England and the Confucius Institute at the University of Leeds. Tickets for the 19-20 May performances at Yang Sing are available from £15.50 at royalexchange.co.uk