The next interview in our stagey chat series is with Diana Feng, who's heading to Edinburgh Fringe this year from 31st July - 26th August with her show, Don't Call Me China Doll.

Get yourself comfy and join us for the next segment of Stagey Chat!

Hi Diana, how are you today? Thanks so much for chatting to Stage to Page! Would you mind introducing yourself and telling our readers how you first got into the theatre industry?

Hi! I'm doing fantastic, thanks for having me! I'm Diana Feng, an actor, writer, and multidisciplinary theatre maker. My journey into the theatre world started with a few twists and turns—I’ve always wanted to be a performer since I was young, but my family didn’t really support this idea at the time. So, I tried following what I was told and went to fashion school in New York. But I couldn't ignore my passion for acting any longer. So, I took a leap of faith, dropped out, and auditioned for drama school.

The rest, as they say, is history! I've been in love with the stage ever since, spending the last nine years in the theatre industry, and I'm thrilled to bring my new show to the Fringe.

Don't Call Me China Doll is set to debut at the Fringe from 31st July this year. Can you tell us about the show and the inspiration behind the piece?

Don't Call Me China Doll is a solo show that dives deep into East Asian stereotypes, internalised racism, and self-worth—but don’t worry, it's not as serious as it sounds. You’ll be on a wild ride of laughs and tears! The story follows China Doll, who’s prepping for the audition of a lifetime, playing Anna May Wong—one of the first East Asian Hollywood film stars—in a biopic. Disdainful of Anna for perpetuating stereotypes, she is magically transported to the 1930s, right into Anna May Wong’s shoes. Over several nights, she discovers unexpected parallels in their lives as East Asian actors in the West. The inspiration came from my own and my friends’ experiences as ESEA members in the creative industry, observing behaviours and hearing stories, and wanting to raise questions about why East Asian artists still face similar barriers as they did a century ago.

Don't Call Me China Doll is a one-person show. As an actor, is this a daunting prospect or something you're looking forward to?

I’m both thrilled and terrified! Performing solo means it's all on me—there's no one else to share the spotlight or the nerves. But that's also what makes it so exciting. Doing a solo show has always been on my bucket list. This is my first one-person show, so it feels like a big challenge, but one I'm ready to take on. This is an important story that needs to be told, which makes it less scary because it’s about raising questions for the audience, not just about me. Plus, I have an amazing creative team supporting me, which gives me a lot of confidence. I'm excited to bring this character to life and connect with the audience in such an intimate way.

A question I ask everyone we chat to - my blog is called Stage to Page. But if you could turn any book, from page to stage, what would it be and why?

Interestingly, this show already feels like a page-to-stage experience. Half of it is about Anna May Wong, the first East Asian Hollywood starlet from the 1930s. To ensure I got all my facts straight, I read three biographies of her and quoted from original newspapers and her own words. But if I had to pick another book, I'd say The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck- which is a book I’ve referenced to in the show. The Good Earth is a historical fiction novel set in a 20th-century Chinese village. The book has a film adaptation with a fully yellow-faced cast, and I think it would be great to remake it for the stage with the appropriate casting it should have had at the time.

And finally, why should anyone reading this book tickets to see Don't Call Me China Doll?

Don't Call Me China Doll is a show that will make you laugh, cry, and maybe even see the world a little differently. It's a raw, honest, and fearless exploration of identity, wrapped in a story that's both deeply personal and universally relatable. Plus, it's not every day you get to see a one-person show that tackles such important themes with humor and heart. If you're looking for a theatre experience that's thought- provoking, entertaining, and a bit magical, this is the show for you. Come join me on this journey—I promise it’ll be worth it!

Don’t Call Me China Doll by Diana Feng is on at 12.55pm at Underbelly Bristo Square from the 31st July to 26th August - tickets here.

**photo credit: Ian Kuo**

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