New Earth started its journey as Yellow Earth Theatre, founded in 1995 by five British East and South East Asian* (BESEA) actors; Kwong Loke, Kumiko Mendl, Veronica Needa, David KS Tse and Tom Wu.
From our earliest days we sought to develop work that would widen the choice and type of roles being offered to BESEA actors. We created theatre that blended our physical skills with our Western drama school training to present plays that explored our cultural heritage.
Over our 28 year history we have worked with many established BESEA actors, writers, directors and designers to create a wide range of award-winning work. From new writing to bold adaptations of classics; from family-friendly shows to participatory and site responsive work. New Earth also provides professional development opportunities for BESEA artists while inspiring the next generation to get involved in the arts.
David KS Tse was the founding Artistic Director 1995 – 2008 followed by Johnathan Man and Philippe Cherbonnier 2009-2010.
Kumiko Mendl became Artistic Director in 2011 and set out to engage audiences in participatory and immersive work in new spaces with an ambition to produce fresh, vibrant work that reflects the BESEA experience.
In 2020 the company renamed itself New Earth Theatre in a spirit of hope for a better, more equitable and inclusive future of theatre for all.
"New Earth is rich and fertile ground, the ‘top soil’ if you like. Below it lie the bones of our ancestors. Our identity and heritage as British East and South East Asians is the foundation to our work and catalyst to our creativity.
We stand tall on the shoulders of those who have gone before us, who have uprooted themselves, moved to new terrains, carved out new spaces for themselves and planted their stories deep in the ground to propel us forward.
Their pain, their hopes, their fears, their sacrifices and their dreams continue to live on through us as we in turn become the new generation. New Earth carves out a space to plant new stories and provides a home to nurture and grow those stories in a safe and caring environment."
-Kumiko Mendl, Artistic Director
28 Years of award-winning, ground-breaking, community-building theatre. Our identity and heritage as British East and South East Asians is the foundation to our work and catalyst to our creativity.