I first met Yang-May in 2012 a a Ginger public speaking workshop called Speak Like a TED Talker. As an absolute beginner, I watched in awe as this dynamic woman delivered a powerful talk about coming out. I remember thinking that she didn’t really need to be on the course!
Our paths didn’t cross again until the following year, when a mutual friend invited her to the inaugural Story Party in September 2013. By that point she was rehearsing for her first TEDx talk, achieving the aim she had set herself the year before.
I was fortunate enough to be in the audience at TEDxCoventGardenWoman that December to witness the amazing impact of Yang-May’s talk, How Small Acts of Rebellion Can Create Powerful Change, which you can watch here.
In February 2014 I invited her to tell a story at The Story Party, when the theme was A Winter’s Tale. Her story, Goldilocks Weather, told of her arrival at boarding school in England. It gave her the opportunity to experiment in a safe space, using her Malaysian voice as well as her body to tell the story.
At the same time she was working on a long-form story that eventually evolved into Bound Feet Blues, the first version of which she performed at Conway Hall a month later.
To find out what happened next, listen to my interview with Yang-May below. It has been quite a journey that has led to a three-week run of her one-woman show in the West End that opens on November 24 and runs until December 12. In an epic journey from China via East Asia and Australia to England, Yang-May explores female empowerment and desirability through the oral histories of three generations of her family and the shoes in her life.