"It is, in fact a very ‘English' play"

The Print Room has released a response to the yellowface casting criticisms of its 2017 play In The Depths Of Love.

A few days ago Resonate writer Lucy Sheen wrote an article highlighting the yellowface casting issues of the play, “which is set in China, about Chinese people, performed by a cast of white actors”. Sheen added, “when it comes to the East Asians, time and time again such cultural sensitivity and awareness is not just lacking, but completely absent.”

The British Chinese community were by in large outraged at the play’s casting decisions. Even Harry Potter actress Katie Leung voiced her objection on Twitter.

The Print Room, which is behind the production of Howard Barker’s In the Depths of Dead Love has since released its response:

“In the Depths of Dead Love is a very simple fable; it is not a play that tells a Chinese story, it is not about Chinese society, culture or perspectives. If it were, the casting would be very different, naturally.”

“Whilst the characters have been given Chinese names, that is to reference the abstract and the folkloric idea of the universal; we could just as easily be in the metaphorical area of Hans Christian Anderson, or, alternatively, the land of the Brothers Grimm.”

“It is, in fact a very ‘English’ play and is derived from thoroughly English mores and simply references the mythic and the ancient. It has therefore been cast accordingly.”

“This dark comedy was first presented by BBC Radio 3 in 2013, supervised by Howard Barker, starring Richard E Grant and Francesca Annis, to great acclaim.”

“We acknowledge that some publicity materials seem to have permitted the possibility of a misapprehension arising. Print Room remains committed to diversity and inclusiveness in all we do, as our history shows.”