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Written by award-winning Australian writer Michele Lee, Rice is a powerful play about friendship, identity and ambition. With witty and perceptive observations around globalisation, politics and family, the play has won numerous awards including the Australian Writers’ Guild Award for Best Original Stage Play. First performed in Australia in 2017, this must-see production plays at HOME Manchester as part of the Actors Touring Company (ATC) UK tour.
A powerful play about friendship, identity and ambition.
Set in Australia, the story explores the relationship between two very different women. From different generations and cultures, Nisha is a high-flying executive working for Golden Fields, Australia’s largest producer of rice, and Yvette is an older Chinese immigrant who cleans the building where Nisha works. The two women’s lives overlap under the harsh glare of the office lights as both women work all hours to navigate the complexities of their lives and make themselves heard above the perpetual chatter of powerful men.
Nisha and Yvette form an unlikely, though mighty, friendship.
Resourceful and determined, Nisha strives to become the first female Indian CEO in Australia. Working late at night in the office and close to sealing a contract with the Indian government that would see her company take over India’s national rice distribution system, Nisha encounters Yvette, the office cleaner with her own entrepreneurial ideas. Unfortunately, Yvette’s daughter stands to face court after joining a protest against the unethical practices of a national supermarket chain. As their paths collide, Nisha and Yvette form an unlikely, though mighty, friendship.
Directed by Matthew Xia (Amsterdam, One Night in Miami, Sizwe Banzi is Dead, and the Alfred Fagon Award-winning Family Tree), this fast-paced play stars Angela Yeoh and Yvette and Anya Jaya-Murphy as Nisha. Most pleasingly, Rice marks the ATC’s return to touring following the period of coronavirus restrictions. This will also be Matthew Xia’s first touring production for the company since his appointment in 2019.
Of the return to touring theatre with Rice, Matthew Xia says, “It feels fantastic after this pandemic-enforced hiatus to finally be back touring shows again. I’m looking forward to introducing this dynamic and expansive drama, which stays true to ATC’s mission in bringing fresh dialogue and perspectives from different cultures and intersections to audiences up and down the country.”
Thrilled to take Rice to UK audiences, Hmong-Australian writer Michele Lee works across theatre, live art, audio and screen. Key themes running throughout her work are Asian identity, otherness and found families, usually depicted through contemporary narratives that privilege the experiences of women and people of colour.
Of the play, Lee expresses, “I’ve always wanted to centre a story around two strong female actors of colour and that was my starting point. In this play their characters traverse a range of identities and jump between and transform across many different roles. I feel exhilarated that this drama is being staged on opposite sides of the world and hope its universal themes around gender, ambition and friendship will resonate with audiences around the UK.”
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