York Theatre Royal Announces Rice

Actors Touring Company and Orange Tree Theatre in association with Theatre Royal Plymouth present:

Rice by Michele Lee

York Theatre Royal, 13 & 14 April

Actors Touring Company presents the UK premiere of Rice by acclaimed Asian-Australian playwright Michele Lee at York Theatre Royal on April 13 and 14.

The play has won numerous awards, including the Australian Writers’ Guild Award for Best Original Stage Play. This new touring version, directed by Matthew Xia, features Angela Yeoh (Yvette) and Anya Jaya-Murphy (Nisha) in the cast.

The drama focuses on Nisha, a young hotshot executive working for Golden Fields, Australia’s largest  producer of rice. Ambitious and headstrong, she’s determined to become the first female Indian CEO in Australia. She’s close to sealing a contract with the Indian government, which would see her company take over India’s national rice distribution system. A secret deal worth billions.

Working late nights in the office she encounters Yvette, an older Chinese migrant, who cleans up her  mess. Yvette has her own entrepreneurial ambitions, but her daughter faces court after participating in a protest against the unethical practices of a national supermarket chain. The two form a powerful – if unlikely – bond as they navigate the complexities of their lives and the world at large. 

Playwright Michele Lee says: “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 It’s universal themes around gender, ambition and friendship will resonate with audiences in the UK.”

Matthew Xia, ATC’s Artistic Director adds: “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.”

Michele Lee is a Hmong-Australian writer who tells stories across forms working in theatre, live art, audio and screen. Her work explores otherness, Asian identity and found families, usually through contemporary narratives that privilege the experiences of women and people of colour.