China crisis at the Playhouse

A CHINESE dance and music show planned for the Edinburgh Playhouse is set to be axed because of the organiser's links with the Falun Gong spiritual group.

The internationally-acclaimed Divine Performing Arts (DPA) group were in advanced talks with the city venue to host a one-off show in April next year.

But the Evening News has learned that Live Nation – the Playhouse's American owner – has pulled the plug on the gig because of the DPA's association with the Chinese Falun Gong meditation movement.

Falun Gong is outlawed by the Chinese government and it is understood that bosses at Live Nation's UK headquarters in Oxford were concerned the DPA show could potentially sour Live Nation's concert and venue interests in China.

Many of the DPA performers are Falun Gong followers and the Edinburgh show, along with another date in London, was also being organised in conjunction with the Falun Gong Association UK.

Tang Arts Ltd, the UK promoter of the concert, has now appealed to bosses at Live Nation's Los Angeles headquarters to reconsider their decision, particularly given that the DPA has performed in 37 American Live Nation-owned venues this year alone.

The Playhouse declined to comment.

Eddie Aitken, of Tang Arts Ltd, said: "This all came as a shock, we were just wrapping things up.

"We had actually signed the contracts from our side and then we were told that it would not be happening because Live Nation are worried about the effect it will have on their business interests in China.

"Many of the performers practice Falun Gong and there is also the Falun Gong Association UK link.

"The manager at the Playhouse has been great but this is obviously a decision which has come from above him.

"The stupid thing is that Live Nation have a number of venues where the Divine Performing Arts shows have already been.

"We have appealed to the American headquarters but because of the holidays we will have to wait and see what happens.

"I know they have got a job to do like everyone else but I hope they can see sense as the show would be a truly enriching experience for the people of Edinburgh."

The Divine Performing Arts' show has been well received by audiences across the world, including America. The non-profit dance company is based in New York.

Live Nation is one of the world's biggest concert promoters.

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