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Students take to the stage in China

A student-led theatre company from the University of Leeds is taking to the stage in China this week, following a successful tour to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The group, stage@leedstouring, is performing by invitation at the 2012 Shanghai International Contemporary Theatre Festival and is badged as part of the British Council UK NOW programme. They will then continue to Qianjiang, Hubei province, and Chengdu, Sichuan province, again at invitation and with regional government support. As part of the tour they will be guests at a reception hosted by the Mayor of Qianjiang.

The 15-strong company, which includes students from the Schools of English, Modern Languages and Cultures, and Performance and Cultural Industries, will be performing The Sun Is Not For Us, a work devised by the cast and Leeds alumnus Dr David Jiang from the works of canonical Chinese playwright Cao Yu.

The hour-long piece explores the themes of love, hatred, adultery, incest, hope, frustration and struggle from a Chinese women’s perspective. A highly dynamic performance, the production uses movement and dance to help audiences see Chinese women’s long and painful journey into the 20th century.

"Cao Yu's life and career exemplify the dilemmas and difficulties faced by generations of Chinese intellectuals in the 20th century," said Dr Ruru Li (School of Modern Languages and Cultures) who is also Cao Yu's step-daughter.

The touring company is supported by four University of Leeds staff: Dr Ruru Li (originator and producer), Dr David Jiang (director), Susan Daniels (co-producer) and Steve Ansell (stage@leedstouring production manager).

During the trip, the Leeds students will also be observing classes at Shanghai Theatre Academy. Staff will engage in academic seminars and hold workshops for local students.

The Sun Is Not For Us emerged from the Performing China on a Global Stage practice-led research network, which has its hub at the University of Leeds. The network brings together academics, research students and practitioners to reinvigorate Chinese theatre as a practice-led/cross-disciplinary subject.

Further information:

Susan Daniels, International Director for the Faculty of Performance, Visual Arts and Communications. Tel: +44 113 343 8720; email s.m.daniels@leeds.ac.uk