[Other] chinese Play


Name[Other] chinese
PlaywrightAlice Canton


Developed through a series of open-call workshops in 2017 that invited 100 Chinese New Zealanders to share their lived experiences of being in Aotearoa, OTHER [chinese] is a documentary theatre work that brings together a group of non-actors — usually 25–30 people — to share insights from their lives. Incorporating storytelling, video interviews and Q&As, the work ultimately challenges the idea of a monolithic cultural identity.

Honouring the process and allowing for a genuine search for truth was critical to the original development of the work. “I went into this project thinking it was going to be about the commonality of the experience of being Chinese,” reflected Canton at the time. “I thought we were going to be having complex conversations about identity, internalised racism, and being a minority — which for me is what I wanted to talk about. I went into the space with a liberal agenda for the conversation and this was absolutely not the case… you say something about internalised racism and three-quarters of the room have no idea what you’re talking about.”

OTHER [chinese] debuted at the Loft at Q Theatre in 2017 and received the Hackman Cup for Most Original Show and Excellence in Overall Production at the Auckland Theatre Awards 2017, as well as being named Best Show of 2017 by Metro magazine. Writing in The Pantograph Punch, Amy Weng reflected, “The show doesn’t draw any neat conclusions about what is or what is not Chinese. Instead, it unleashes a collective howl against the prevailing wind.” Jean Balchin wrote of the Dunedin season:

OTHER [chinese] grapples with issues of identity, longing, belonging, acceptance, displacement — of the self, but also with and by the community. It’s a space for intersectional reflection. Participants are encouraged to think about identity in relation to a number of factors, including gender, class, education, privilege, and nationality.

Versions of this work have since been presented at the Festival of Colour (2021), Dunedin Arts Festival (2021) and Festival Internacional de Buenos Aires (2023)


Key works / presentations

Festival Internacional de Buenos Aires
Dumont4040, Buenos Aires
Feb 27–28, 2023

Dunedin Arts Festival
Glenroy Auditorium, Ōtepoti
Apr 15–16, 2021

Festival of Colour
Lake Wanaka Centre, Wānaka
Apr 13, 2021

Q Theatre, Tāmaki Makaurau
Sep 6–16, 2017

Key awards

2017 — Metro: Best Show of 2017

2017 — Auckland Theatre Awards: Excellence Award for Overall Production

2017 — Auckland Theatre Awards: Hackman Cup for Most Original Production

Related entries

Last updated: 29 February 2024 Suggest an Edit


A line of people standing wearing giant 'cat' masks

OTHER [chinese] original show programme, 2017

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OTHER [chinese] original poster, 2017

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A group of people stare at a point beyond the camera

OTHER [chinese] workshop in the Q Theatre Vault, 2017

Photo by Julie Zhu

A group of Chinese people sit in a circle in a community hall

OTHER [chinese] workshop in Balmoral, 2017

A group of Chinese people standing in a row on a red carpet

OTHER [chinese] at Performing Arts Network New Zealand 2020 showcase

Photo by Julie Zhu

A semi-circle of red chairs surrounding a T-shaped stage

Original production design concept for OTHER [chinese] by Filament Eleven11, 2017

OTHER [chinese] flyer for Festival Internacional de Buenos Aires, 2023

A large group of Chinese people posing for a photo

OTHER [chinese], Dunedin Arts Festival 2021 cast

A group of people standing in. aline on a red carpet looking at the audience

OTHER [chinese] at Festival Internacional de Buenos Aires, 2023

Photo by Diego Astarita

A group of young Chinese people standing in a straight line staring into the camera

OTHER [chinese] trailer shoot, 2017