Music/Sound Performer: TanBo (Tan Tan& Eric Bribosia)

Producer: Nanjing Yao Art Museum

Artist Group:The Physical Guerrillas

Planner: Huang Yao

Academic Consultant: GuoHaiping

Artistic Supervisor: Chen Xiao Feng

Artistic Advisor: MengJinghui

Coordinator: Ren Yuan

Choreographer/Director: Li Ning

Performer: Qiang Wei, Liu Qing, Han Song, Li Ning, Li Jia, Yan Sanyuan, Wang Yongcheng, Chong Er, Chang Jiang

Lighting Designer: Zhang Tao

Participation of festivals: 

  • “The Body of Soul” performance art festival, China, July, 2015
  • 2015 Beijing Fringe Festival, China, September
  • 1st Shen Zhen Contemporary Theatre Biennale, China, March, 2016
  • 70th Festival d'Avignon, France, July, 2016
  • 2016 Wuzhen Theatre Festival, "Specially invited plays"(the major program), Wuzhen, China, October, 2016

This theatre is based on an art project “The Dictionary of Soul”implemented by Nanjing Drug Art Museum, which contains book publications, exhibitions and a theatre.

With the creation of awarded theatre director and choreographer Li Ning, this theatre depicts people’s “souls” in a physical and powerful way. It is consisted of two main parts, the first part shows a desperate working course in an abstract factory with only stones, the second part is a ritual of the “death”and “rebirth”of the workers from the factory…  

TanBo composed the music/sound of the whole show, and performed as both live musicians and performers at several festivals, such as Beijing Fringe Festival 2015 and 2016 Wuzhen Theatre Festival, which are the two most important and cutting-edge theatre festival in China. In the performances, TanBo contributed their own creation and improvisation to the work, in both musical and dramaturgic directions.

-The performances at 2015 Beijing Fringe Festival, China, September-

- The performances at 2016 Wuzhen Theatre Festival, Wuzhen, China, October, 2016-

More information at:


In the field of Chinese experimental theatre, Li Ning is a distinctive figure. He has studied sculpture and modern dance, and lived in non-first tier cities, creating works. This performance is rough but dynamic, its unique aesthetic closely associated with the social reality. Premiered at 2015 Beijing Fringe Festival, it shows desperate and indifferent ordinary workers on an assembly line, and the rebirth of their souls.

—— Chen Luanluan, professional critic, The Beijing News

——What is the biggest problem now? Some say it’s the loss of faith, some say it’s the constant materialism… A “theatre of cruelty,” however, chooses the subject that can best reflect the turbulent nature of our times. Director Li Ning pays close attention to the issue of people being indifferent,and the fading passion for social observervation.He stages a “theatre of cruelty,” in an attempt to have a serious conversation with the audience, which differentiates his from other physical theatres in the conventional sense.

——Su Rong, professional critic,Stage and Screen Review

Young artist and director Li Ning’s avant-garde production,A Dictionary of the Soul,premiered at the National Theatre of China. It integrates installation, action art, and dance, breaking the boundaries between contemporary arts, theatre and dance. While the commercialized society isinattentive, a small group of people are still developing and promoting the contemporary arts, and a new generation of artists, born in the ‘70s, is now inheriting the exploratory spirit. Let’s cheer for them!

——Zhu Qi, renowned cultural critic, journal of Chinese National Academy of Arts