What happens when the only thing you have to sell is your culture? When the only way to free yourself is to betray your roots? In the first play to put contemporary Tibet on the UK stage, based on her personal experiences working for a Chinese sustainable travel company, Amy Ng lays bare the tensions, contradictions and private pain inherent in cultural tourism -- on the frontline of globalisation.
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Shangri-La is not a myth. Shangri-La is a place. The Himalayan foothills of China’s Yunnan Province was officially renamed ‘Shangri-La’ in a successful bid for the tourist dollar. Bunny, a young woman of the indigenous Naxi tribe, witnessed her family’s livelihood destroyed by mass tourism and the influx of capital. She dreams of escape — as a globe-trotting photographer. Nelson, her liberal Chinese boss, dreams of a new kind of tourism - sustainable, respectful, enabling genuine cultural exchange. Karma, their Tibetan colleague, wants riches, respect and redemption for a guilty family secret. Their western clients yearn for escape, for the touch of something authentic. These desires collide head on in Shangri-La.