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1. What inspired the decision to fuse East Asian and South Asian cultures in The Accountants, and how did this concept evolve throughout the creative process?

I wanted to bring together Chinese and Indian people because we’re all Asian. When it comes to data forms, that’s the one universal box that we collectively have to tick.

After I visited China Beijing for the Olympic games when I was head of culture for “The London, 2012 London, Olympic and Paralympic Games”, I realised what an incredible place contemporary Beijing is, so modern so forward. I was lucky enough to be working in India, around the same time and out of that I also realised that India was tremendous and incredible. And when I came back to the UK, I thought how much we look backwards. I really wanted to focus this project on Chinese and Indian audiences but thinking that we are the future.

2. What did you have as a reference point for this production?

The reference points for this production are numerous. You could see the show almost like a big webpage. You could see the show as a dance adventure with video. It’s really designed to appeal to people that are used to seeing big concerts, flashy things on television and it plays with this aesthetic. I wanted to make something that was very visual that was very beautiful but contained a lot of fact and contained a lot of data.

We’re used to consuming many bits of conflicting information at the same time. Pop-up windows on your phone, scrolling messages… and I wanted to express identity and culture using media as a truer reflection of our lives. We are no longer linear and we’re very smart and we absorb information in all sorts of different and interesting ways.

3. Reflecting on rehearsals, what moment stands out to you as the most memorable or impactful, and how did it contribute to shaping the production?

The collaboration across the creative team has changed the way that I’ve looked and felt about the production and all the collaborators from the choreographers Xie Xin and Terrence Lewis and Mahrukh Dumasia to idontloveyouanymore, the video designers and Somatic the sound designer and composer. It’s been an incredible few months working via zoom in online spaces. The moment they came together the humanity and the personal aspect of the story became very important.

4. How much of your upbringing or what you have experienced has influenced the production?

So much of my life is in this show. My father was an accountant, my mother, a maths teacher … This world of being a professional is so much part of growing up either as a Chinese person or as an Indian person. Working in the cultural sector was really not presented as an option for me. I wanted in this show to interrogate this image of professionals who break the mould.

I had never been to India, until my mid twenties as my family background is Trinidad and Tobago. To some extent I was living my life like the “Aunty Kash” character in the show, from her flat in Manchester objectifying India and an Indian culture.

5. What were some of the significant challenges or difficulties you encountered while preparing for The Accountants, and how did you overcome them to bring your vision to life on stage?

The whole project was certainly ambitious. My proposition always to Factory International was that this project would be made in pieces – that it would be made remotely and that we would bring this together. This entails bringing together artists from India, from China, flights, different time, zones, different languages, different media so it was always going to be a challenge!

Piecing together the dance, the video work and the soundtrack required a clear structural approach… story boards, timelines. It is more like making a film than a stage play, as there is so much more emphasis on visual image. I like spreadsheet charts, infographics, and visual communication and we used a lot of that in this creation process.