event 17 Aug 2024

Ancestral Futures - Street Procession & Performance by Eelyn Lee & Collaborators

Date 17 Aug 2024
Time 14:00 – 15:00
Venue Tudor Square - meet outside The Crucible Theatre

Ancestral Futures is a processional street performance in honour of the first recorded Chinese people in Sheffield –a group of magicians on tour from China who performed at the Whitsuntide Festival, 1855. 

On 31st May, 1855, Teh Kwei 德貴, a Chinese magician buried his 5-week old baby in a Sheffield graveyard. The baby is listed in the St Paul’s Burial Register as ‘A Chow’ (Chinese).

Ancestral Futures is a processional street performance in honour of the first recorded Chinese people in Sheffield –a group of magicians on tour from China who performed at the Whitsuntide Festival, 1855.  

Guided by Sheffield’s East and Southeast Asian [ESEA] communities, a new mythological character, created by artist Eelyn Lee and her collaborators will embody the spirits of these ancestors. Taking place during Ghost Month, where in some ESEA cultures, the deceased are believed to visit the living, the procession will conjure the British born Chinese baby and his family. Weaving movement, costume, ancestral objects and sound to activate stories from the past, present and future, the procession will re-write the archive into the city streets.

There is no need to book tickets. Feel free to meet us outside the Crucible Theatre at 2pm or join along the route.

The Procession Route:

2pm Tudor Square [meet outside the Crucible Theatre]: Awakening and Naming Ceremony 

Come and help awaken the new mythological creature and join the blessing and naming ceremony.

While in Sheffield, Teh Kwei and his wife Wang Noo lodged on Sycamore St where their baby died of ‘inflammation of the lungs’. Sycamore St used to run straight through the current site of The Crucible and Tudor Square.

2.15pm Process towards the Peace Gardens 
Follow the procession towards Cheney Row which runs between the Peace Gardens and the Town Hall. 

This is the route Teh Kwei would have taken, carrying his dead baby towards St Paul’s Graveyard, 169 years ago.

2.25 Conjuring a Ghost
Where Norfolk Street meets Cheney Row, the mythological creature will conjure the ghost of baby ‘A Chow’, inviting him to join the procession.

St Paul’s was a large church that stood on the site of the Peace Gardens for over 200 years [1721-1937]. Baby ‘A Chow’ was the last member of the public to be buried in its churchyard.

2.35pm March of the Ancestors
Join the procession, help make some noise as it marches down Cheney Row, Pinstone Street and Fargate.

3.00pm Offerings of Love and Nourishment 
Assemble outside the cathedral to make offerings of love and nourishment to the Ghost of 'A Chow' before he returns to the spirit world.   


with additional support from Sheffield Theatres and Necessity.