Controversies

Ai Weiwei takes to the stage

A new play, "#aiww: The Arrest of Ai Weiwei", which opens at the Hampstead Theatre in London on 11 April, should provide new insights into why the eponymous, high-profile Chinese artist was detained by the Chinese government in April 2011. Howard Brenton's new play is based on author Barnaby Martin's conversations with Ai Weiwei following his release in June 2011 after more than two months in detention (the government claimed that his imprisonment related to tax evasion). "I spent several days talking to Weiwei about his experiences in prison, his art and activism, his theories of art, reality and the individual, and his thoughts on the future of China. Weiwei is a natural raconteur and although he was still deeply traumatised by his experience inside, he went back through the experiences of his detention and recounted, in his inimitable English, the most incredible and bizarre story I have ever heard," says Martin.

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