The Bridge Project is an innovative Arts Council England funded concert tour which combines Eastern traditional art forms with Western performance. Using music, dance and story telling to take the audience on a journey which explores China's vibrant culture and Western classical music. China has a rich culture but in the UK public displays of this heritage rarely go beyond the stereotypes. The Bridge Project aims to attract a broad audience, bringing cultures and communities together through exploring their cultural traditions.

The Bridge concept stemmed from 2013, when pianist Di Xiao first started the 'Didi and Friends Chinese New Year Celebration Concert' in Birmingham which she fuse music and art forms from East and West. This unique show is designed to be inclusive and bring audiences together, through explanations of the history of the art forms, the instruments, and the stories behind the music. It became such a hit that it inspired the artist to create the 'Bridge Project' and take this programme to a wider audience.

Our programme • It will include an innovative blend of performance, for instance, the combination of a Cantonese nursery rhyme with a well-known Beethoven piano sonata, with a video projection of a Chinese dancer behind or, combine traditional Chinese art forms with Chinese regional dance and face changing art, alongside Western classical & Eastern folk music. • According to the time of year the theme will vary, to coincide with major Chinese festivals. • The different styles, instruments, and traditions will be demonstrated and explained during interactive talks. • All the artists will be internationally significant. • Each performance will last 75 minutes.

But this was just the first step. In 2020 we aim even higher, the West Midlands UK China/Asian Festival. The Festival, centred on Birmingham City Centre will be the largest Chinese/Asian festival in Europe and will bring people together from across the world of arts, music, sports, food and industry to develop community cohesion and economic benefit and fun! The week-long annual event will celebrate the diversity and richness of two cultures, through contemporary and traditional music and arts exhibitions, plays and shows, fashion and jewellery events, street food markets, cooking classes and a Chinese Tea Garden in Centenary Square, online games tournaments, technology events (eg Chinese Go vs AI hackathon), sports events, and lectures and talks according to the themes set up each year (eg Commonwealth, Common Goal for 2019, Innovation & Education for 2020 etc). The Festival will make the West Midlands the centre of gravity for Chinese Asian Culture in Europe and will attract thousands of people from China and across the world who are eager to visit the UK and just need the right excuse. Overseas investment and business opportunities are sure to follow, think Venice Carnival. With a large Asian community, a young population and creativity at heart I am convinced that the West Midlands is the right place for this event. I believe there is no better time than now to set up the UK China Fest. Birmingham and the West Midlands have one of the largest Asian communities in Europe and more and more Midlands businesses are owned by overseas investors. In the Midlands the summer months are quiet and all venues are at low season. Many organisations have initiatives of their own but there is nothing to connect people together. With many locals on holiday, a festival in the West Midlands would bring tourism and help bolster local businesses. As well as many innovative and bespoke events, the Festival of inclusivity would bring together a number of existing initiatives including the recently rebranded Birmingham International Piano competition which would benefit from spill over from the increased tourism. Through my own network I will be able to bring in world class artists and celebrities such as pianist Langlang, master chef Ken Hom and Chinese folk dance superstar Liping Yang.

Link to Birmingham - China 2020

Arts Council England Logo