Nestled in the heart of the Yangtze River Delta, just west of Shanghai, is the historic water town of Wuzhen. A remnant of the Qing Dynasty and famed as the birthplace of the celebrated left-wing novelist Mao Dun, Wuzhen has been in the last decade revitalised through tourism and interestingly, as the home of China’s pre-eminent international theatre festival. In its fifth edition this year, the Wuzhen Theatre Fesival’s co-founding team counts acclaimed playwright Stan Lai and director Meng Jinghui among its members. Helming this year’s festival as Artistic Director is Tian Qinxin, known for her own work on European and Chinese classics at the National Theatre of China.
Brought together under the theme “luminosity” are a number of reinterpreted classics – headliners include Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek’s Shadow (Eurydice Speaks) (dir. Katie Mitchell; produced by the Schaubuhne Berlin) and Chekov’s The Seagull (dir. Oskaras Korsunovas; produced by the OKT) – alongside He Nian’s Hummingbirds Fly Backwards and revolutionary playwright Tian Han’s Turmoil (dir. Tian Qinxin; produced by the National Theatre of China).
This year’s festival is particularly multimedia-heavy, with Tian’s Turmoil bringing together high-tech projection and the stylised images of early instant photography. In addition, the festival is supported by a number of fringe youth productions and site-specific performances dotted all over the historic town.
The Wuzhen Theatre Festival plays from 19th – 29th October across various venues in Wuzhen, China. For more information, visit the English site here
By Edward Eng for Bakchormeeboy