Bringing classical Chinese stories to the British stage

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The world première of The Autumn of Han, a classic Chinese play, is touring nationally this spring. This new production, specifically adapted for European audiences, is being produced by Red Dragonfly Productions, a West-Yorkshire based company that has been formed by British and British East Asian artists specifically to bring East Asian stories to the British Stage.

The tale is one of love and revenge. When the beautiful concubine ZhaoJun refuses to supply the corrupt minister MaoYanShou with his usual bribe he makes sure she’s hidden away from the Emperor. But ZhaoJun is a resourceful woman and engineers a chance meeting with the Emperor. When the Emperor sets eyes on her he immediately falls in love, and this sets off a chain of events that sees all their lives changed forever.

“There are a wealth of wonderful stories from the East that have never been seen on a British stage,” says Huddersfield-born Michelle Yim, one of the founders of Red Dragonfly. “And we want to give the British audience a chance to experience them. This also provides a great opportunity for some of Britain’s very talented East Asian actors, who are often overlooked, to showcase their work.”

The Autumn of Han was adapted for the stage by Ross Ericson, whose critically acclaimed play “Casualties” has been published by Methuen. “Us Europeans often find classical Chinese drama quite impenetrable,” Ericson said. “So my job was to put the story into a structure and language that would be familiar to European audiences whilst retaining the authenticity and spirit of the original text.”

The production will be visiting venues throughout the country during spring 2015. The Autumn of Han is part of an ambitious three year plan by Red Dragonfly that includes future productions of “DiaoChan” and “Monkey; a journey to the west”.

The Autumn of Han will be performing at Square Chapel, Halifax, on February 7.

For tickets, please visit http://www.squarechapel.co.uk/en/event/1262. For more information, please visit http://www.reddragonflyproductions.co.uk