New Earth Theatre staging The Apology – Grant Report

Posted by: Hannah Giles  |  Posted on: November 1st, 2022

New Earth Theatre received a grant from the British Korean Society to support the world premiere of The Apology, the explosive new play by Korean writer Kyo Choi that brings to the stage the shocking events of military sexual slavery during World War Two.


Based on true accounts by survivors, The Apology explores the investigation into the “comfort women”, some 200,000 women in the East and South East region who were tricked, kidnapped or coerced into sexual slavery for the Japanese army. The play ran at the Arcola Theatre, London in association with the North Wall, from 14 September to 8 October 2022, directed by Ria Parry and starring Ross Armstrong, Jessie Baek, Sarah Lam, Kwong Loke, Sharan Phull and Minhee Yeo. The set was designed by TK Hay, lighting and video design by Gillian Tan, sound design by Jamie Lu, costume design by Erin Guan and movement by Jennifer Fletcher with Korean dance consultation by Jeni Seo.


The play was watched by 2188 people across the 3 week run, and we are pleased that as Kyo Choi’s first major theatre production it was very well received. It garnered 4 star reviews from outlets including The Telegraph, Theatre Weekly, London Theatre Reviews and The Reviews Hub, and was highly commended by many more. The production has been nominated for 2 Off West End awards, for Best New Play and Best Video Design. Audiences gave comments such as:

“Very moving; great acting; beautiful elaborate script”

“Both very shocking and moving – very glad to see this piece of history on stage”

“Very powerful subject matter that I previously knew nothing about. It was well handled, both in the content and as a play, for me, I learnt a lot”


The BKS grant in particular led to the publication of the playtext, which adds to the (currently small) literary canon of British East and South East Asian writers. It gives the play further life past its theatrical run, with copies having been sold and distributed out at the theatre, in communities as part of our own campaign and online. As a showcase not only for Kyo as a writer, but also as a marker for New Earth’s productions, we were pleased to see that audiences are interested in playtexts and continuing to engage with the script past the production, and hope to publish further scripts with the future productions we do.

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