From mountains to the sea. No matter what river. No matter how many. They go to the sea.

Set in present-day Glasgow, Three Thousand Troubled Threads tells the story of Ying, a second-generation young Chinese woman. The play probes her confusion about her identity, her self-pitying mother who is immersed in her past, and her relationship with a Slovakian student who seeks comfort from another lonely soul, and confuses lust with love.

Three Thousand Troubled Threads mixes film projection, live action and four languages to convey the complexity of this powerful story. The stage acts as a living backdrop, carrying projections of moving images, Chinese calligraphy and English subtitles.


‘A dramatic debut of exceptional richness and promise' (The Telegraph )
'An important event in the story of Scottish Theatre… rich in the new perceptions of Glasgow and Scotland that only successive waves of migration can bring' (The Scotsman )
'A finely crafted and deeply insightful play... This Stellar Quines Theatre Company co-production... is a richly satisfying and meaningful experience' (The Stage Online)

Production Tour Dates

  • 18 – 27 August, Byre Theatre, St Andrews
  • 31 August – 3 September, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh as part of Edinburgh International Festival 2005

Three Thousand Troubled Threads (2005)

Three Thousand Troubled Threads was a co-production between Stellar Quines, Edinburgh International Festival and The Byre Theatre, St Andrews and a world premiere.

Creative Team

  • Writer : Chiew Siah Tei
  • Director : Muriel Romanes
  • Designer: Yoon-Jung Bae
  • Lighting Designer: Chris Davey
  • Sound and video design: Mic Pool
  • Composer: Kim Ho Ip
  • Movement Director : Jane Howie
  • Voice and dialect coach: Carol-Ann Crawford
  • Chinese language coach: May Yung
  • Filming : John Nichol
  • Calligrapher: Ting Yong Pan
  • Musicians: Anothai Nitibhon, Robert Marshall, Stephen Maniam, Joel Sanderson


  • Jennifer Black
  • Suzanne Donaldson
  • Jonathan Holt
  • Sara Houghton
  • Tong Li
  • Pik-Sen Lim
  • Josef Pejchal
  • Jeff Peng
  • Ozzie Yue
  • Zakira Wong


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Images © Marc Marnie