Despite the long working and studying days in Taiwanese society, locals and expats take part in many additional activities. We've recently become involved in the Red Room, which exists to give people an opportunity to share their talents in a non-judgmental environment. At a monthly event called Stage Time and Wine, participants can sign up for five minutes' performance time, or just be a part of the audience in a relaxed, informal setting. Recently, Stage Time and Wine gave birth to a younger version of itself, Stage Time and Juice. Children and teenagers have been entertaining their audiences with skits, stand up comedy, singing, playing instruments and putting on puppet shows. My son has performed a couple of times and also attends the drama classes on offer on Sunday mornings.
We were introduced to the Red Room through our involvement with The Awesome Playgroup News, an offshoot of the Taipei City Playgroup. The playgroup meets weekly to give expat parents with young children the chance to get together with other families, and also puts on Christmas, Easter and Halloween parties for the children. Although there are lots of single English teachers in Taiwan, there are still relatively few families, and without such groups some people would probably feel quite isolated.
Clubs for most activities are easily found, especially through sites such as Meetup, which lists societies for more interests than you've probably even thought of. I'm currently attending the Taipei City Writers' Group meetings. We meet every other Sunday evening at a cafe near Taipei Main Station and criticise each other's writing horribly (joking). Inspired by my involvement with this group, I'm participating in NaNoWriMo, so expect my bestseller on the bookshelves sometime next year.
Meanwhile, other groups are starting up so quickly it's difficult to keep track of them all. Becoming is a group offering creative workshops in subjects such as story-telling, Chinese painting and poetic dance. We attended one of their crowded open events.
Parents' Place, a meeting place and educational resource centre for English-speaking children, has been familiar to us for nearly two years. My son attends the English literacy classes for Elementary school children, but they also offer art, baby-signing, Kindermusik, infant massage, Mandarin for mums, prenatal exercise and many other classes. I'm happy to say I'm past needing most of those classes now (except maybe the Mandarin).
Finally, with Christmas drawing near, I must tell you about Radio Redux. Performing plays as if via a live radio broadcast, Radio Redux's most recent offering was Dracula.
Radio Redux are now rehearsing for their forthcoming production, A Christmas Carol.