Features | 14 July 2023

Quang Kien Van: I wish I’d known…

I wish I’d known… Our series of interviews with theatre makers sharing their experiences of working in the industry

MGCfutures talks to Choreographer and 2018 Bursary recipient, Quang Kien Van

When did you decide on your current career path?

I’d known in the back of my head I wanted to choreograph/make my own work since my dance school days back in the early ‘90s. It was always just a matter of when I would fully commit to it as a way of life. For the longest time – a couple of decades – I was busy just being a dancer.

What prompted your decision?

How do you give up being a dancer without fully giving it up? I started choreographing and performing vicariously through other performers. It’s not the same experience but has recognisable thrills!

What was the biggest challenge you faced in the beginning?

Gatekeepers. Fundraising. I’ve lost the will to live a few times producing my own work. I think that’s a common sentiment!

What has been one of the greatest rewards?

Getting artistic work made is always a bit of a minor miracle. Being able to magic bits of art into life feels like the greatest of rewards.

What advice would you give the younger you just starting out?

Keep an open mind and enjoy yourself – it’s the longest of journeys that could end without notice.

Quang’s latest work, BABYLON, initially developed through the Bursary, premiered last autumn at The Albany in Deptford.