Bound Feet Blues – A Life Told in Shoes


Bound Feet Blues is a solo story performance written and performed by Yang-May Ooi.

In Chinese tradition, women with tiny bound feet were desirable as wives and lovers, their delicate feet seen as objects of both status and sexual fetish. What can the ancient tradition of footbinding tell us about the role of women beneath the gaze of men and the relationship between mothers & daughters?

In Bound Feet Blues Yang-May Ooi explores themes of female desirability, identity and empowerment in this personal story told through the shoes in her life – from stillettoes and expensive Italian pumps to trainers, hiking boots and biker boots.



After a successful trial scratch performance at Conway Hall in early 2014, Yang-May showcased the full version of Bound Feet Blues  as part of the South East Asian Arts Festival at Tristan Bates Theatre in October 2014 to a sell-out audience.

The full production returns to the Tristan Bates Theatre for a three week run from 24 Nov – 12 Dec 2015, made possible with funding from Arts Council England and sponsorship by The Housing Finance Corporation. The show has been invited again this year to be part of the SEA Arts Festival. Full details and how to buy tickets coming soon.


What theatre reviewers and audiences said about Bound Feet Blues:

“A powerful, provocative and intimate story told in an intelligent and engaging manner” – Ben Monks, Creative Producer, Tristan Bates Theatre

“Terrific… poignant… sexy”

“Yang-May has … created a powerful and empowering piece of work here, that beautifully combines movement and storytelling with some excellent, fully rounded characters” – Nichola Daunton, The Public Reviews

“Mesmerising – not for the faint hearted. Drew us in from the start and left us gasping for breath.”

“Ooi gives a truly fantastic performance” – Hanna Gilbert, Everything Theatre

READ the 4+ Star Rave Reviews of Bound Feet Blues



Bound Feet Blues – The Book

Yang-May is working on a book to accompany the show – Bound Feet Blues: The Stories Behind The Story.

This book tells the stories behind the story dramatized in the theatre show  in the form of an unconventional memoir that interweaves personal stories, cultural reflections and a multi-faceted exploration of what it means to be a woman.  The book will include the performance version of the script, as developed in rehearsal with director Jessica Higgs.

Bound Feet Blues, the Book deepens and enriches the experience of the show by expanding on the stories, ideas and history touched on in the theatre piece. By weaves in other family and cultural stories, the book aims to create a layered tapestry of additional meaning and exploration that can be read either as a  stand-alone work or as a textured accompaniment to the stage version.

Bound Feet Blues, the book  will be published in Nov 2015 by Urbane Publications, exploring more of the family and personal stories behind the story told in the show – find out more at the Book page

You can follow Yang-May’s progress and research around the themes of the book – and show – via the Bound Feet Blues Blog.


*The highlights video was filmed at the showcase performance at Tristan Bates Theatre on 13 Oct 2014

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About Yang-May Ooi

Yang-May Ooi is a creative artist whose work explores the transformational power of personal narrative. She has been an award-winning TEDx speaker, bestselling author and acclaimed story performer. Her sell out solo story performance, Bound Feet Blues, was showcased in London's West End in Oct 2014. to 4+ Star reviews. The show returns to the Tristan Bates Theatre for a 3 week run in Nov 2015 - see

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