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Cultural Features:Flips Flops Theatre

2024-04-04
Ministry of Culture
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Flips Flops Theatre
Flips Flops Theatre

Chinese Name: 夾腳拖劇團

Established: 2009

Founder: Wu I-chen (吳易蓁)

Website: https://www.flipflops-theatre.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FlipFlopsTheatre/?locale=zh_TW

 

 

Did You Know That…?

The theatre chose the name “Flips Flops (夾腳拖)” because there is a Chinese character “人” (meaning “human” or “people”) on the flips flops. The group aspires to tell the stories of ordinary people and spotlight the spirit of nobodies. They are concerned with land rights and human rights issues in Taiwan and aim to raise awareness among the younger generations through theater performances. Furthermore, they organize mother-tongue language study groups to help transmit local languages.

Devoted to promoting Taiwanese stories through theater art, Flips Flops Theatre creates performances that highlight local issues like mother tongue education, human rights, and parent-child relationships. Their repertoire includes the circus performance “Juggling & Object: 4.5.6.7,” the historical theater piece “Grandma’s Vendor Cart (阿媽的雜細車),” Avignon Festival creation “Departure (啓程),” dramas based on stories of the White Terror period such as “Lala: The Singing Bear (愛唱歌的小熊)” and “Don’t Cry (說好不要哭),” children’s theater productions in Taiwanese-Hokkien language “Once Ang-pô a Time (足久足久以前,有一个尪婆),” “A Long Letting Go (勥姆仔欲起行),” and “King & King (國王與國王)”.

In 2016, the theatre initiated a storytelling program directed towards children to promote Taiwanese-Hokkien language. Utilizing teaching tools like interactive games, the team presents stories in Taiwanese-Hokkien entirely, aiming to cultivate an environment that encourages local culture and theater. Following that, in 2020, the theatre launched a podcast program. In 2022, they inaugurated the “Boat Project (小船計畫),” furthering storytelling activities in Taiwanese-Hokkien, Hakka, the indigenous Atayal language, and sign language, making them accessible to children from diverse backgrounds.

The director of Flips Flops Theatre, Wu I-chen, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theater Studies from Taipei National University of the Arts and a Master’s degree in Filmmaking from East15 Acting School at the University of Essex, U.K. Her works encompass theatrical productions, films, and plays, and she has received numerous awards, including the New Taipei Literature Award for her scripts. She is the author of the book “On the Road to Freedom: A Backpacker’s Guide to Taiwan’s Struggle for Democracy (自由背包客:台灣民主景點小旅行)” and the director of the Hakka drama film “Dog Son (狗兒子)” and the short film “Falling Edge (墜落邊緣).”

As an artist deeply connected to Taiwanese culture, Wu I-chen is passionate about Taiwan’s history and people. After becoming a mother and realizing the potential for growth in children, she began creating stories based on Taiwan’s history and culture to accompany their growth. Later, she established Flips Flops Theatre, dedicating herself further to the craft. The team brings attention to the history of the White Terror period in an engaging and gentle manner, allowing young audiences to learn about the island’s wounded history. Considering that her target audience is children, Wu integrates elements of puppetry, light and shadow play, and painting create a lively show. She also designs interaction sessions for both children and adults who can fully immerse themselves in the stories.

Sharing her vision, Wu I-chen stated that, as a theater practitioner, telling Taiwan’s stories through arts is something she must do. She writes books, stories, and scripts in the hope of the stories of this land will be presented in diverse forms.

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