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WeRNotVirus: 10 online shorts shine a light on hate crime

Staff Writer

Reading time: 3 mins

10 new short films have been released online to shine a light on a rise in hate crime during the coronavirus pandemic.

A collective of leading actors, writers, directors and creatives of East and South East Asian heritage from the UK’s performing arts industry have joined together for WeRNotVirus, a new digital arts event. An artist response to racism directed towards the community, it features 10 newly commissioned stories spanning a variety of art forms including film, poetry, dance and song.

Supported by the Arts Council Emergency Fund, the shorts explore race, identity, representation, perspective and economics through the lens of East and South East Asian artists and their communities. Since the emergence of the Covid-19 crisis there has been a tripling in reported anti-Asian hate crime. From January 2020 to March 2020 attacks on East Asians and South East Asians have risen 21 per cent with over 260 crimes reported to the UK Police to the Home Office, compared with 360 for the whole of 2018 and 375 in 2019.

Directed by award-winning Young Vic New Genesis fellow and associate director Jennifer Tang (Young Vic, RSC, The Royal Exchange, Hampstead Theatre) and Anthony Lau (National Theatre, Royal Court, Nuffield Southampton, Ink – West End, Almeida), WeRNotVirus is presented by Moongate Productions founded by Daniel York Loh and Jennifer Lim (Forgotten 遗忘 Arcola, Theatre Royal Plymouth).

It took place via Zoom on 13th and 14th June and, thanks to Omnibus Theatre, both days’ shorts are now available to stream for free until 21st June – with each day’s line-up culminating in a panel discussion with leading academics and activists.

Participating writers include award-winning writer, actor and film-maker Daniel York Loh (The Good Immigrant, Royal Court, National Theatre, RSC), poet Will Harris (ES magazine’s ‘new guard’ of London poets, poetry fellowship – Arts Foundation 2019) and Amber Hsu currently working with the RSC (BBC, Royal Court, Orange Tree, National Theatre Studio).

Here’s the full rundown of shorts:


I Am Not A Virus by ENXI Performed by Leo Wan, Jennifer Lim

Family Scenarios by Will Harris (pre-recorded) Performed by Katie Leung & Sophie Yau

The Air We Breathe by Shaofan Wilson (pre-recorded) Performed by Emma Lau

Shame by Jimin Su Performed by Michael Phong Le

I AM NOT A VIRUS by Lucy Sheen (pre-recorded) Performed by a community cast

Panel: ‘The Lack of Representation of British East/Southeast Asian voices in the media about Covid 19’. Rosa Fong (Moderator), Jessie Lau, Sam Phan, Rebecca Boey.


Conundrums by Amber Hsu Performed by Camille Mallet de Chauney

It’s Not A Game To Someone by Nemo Martin (pre-recorded) Performed by Kirsty Rider

Contagion by Oladipo Agboluaje (pre-recorded) Narrated by Simon Manyonda, animation by NoMattsland

Do My Eyes Look Small In This by JM Arrow Performed by Peyvand Sadeghian

No Time For Tears by Daniel York Loh (pre-recorded) Performed by Ghost & John, voiced by Daniel York Loh

Panel: ‘Building Solidarity across communities to combat the rise of Covid 19 related racism’. Moi Tran (Moderator), Dr Diana Yeh, Ash Kotak, Cuong Pham

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