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David Henry Hwang is appointed Honorary Professor of Shanghai Theater Academy and holds a lecture series on playwriting

10 January 2019

At the beginning of 2019, Mr David Henry Hwang, the most famous contemporary Chinese American playwright and screenwriter, associate professor and head of playwriting concentration at the Theatre Department of the Columbia University School of the Arts, vested the Shanghai Theater Academy (STA) at the invitation of the STA Playwriting Research Centre and conducted a week-long teaching and academic exchange activities on playwriting.

On the morning of 7 January, the ceremony for Mr David Henry Hwang’s appointment as honorary professor of the Shanghai Theatre Academy was held in Classroom 209 of the Red Building. Professor Lou Wei, Party Secretary of STA, Professor Liu Qing, Vice President of STA and Professor Ye Changhai, Director of the STA Academic Committee, attended the appointment ceremony. The ceremony was presided over by Professor Lu Jun, Director of the STA Playwriting Research Centre.

In his remarks, Party Secretary Lou Wei introduced STA’s concept of running the school and expressed the desire for further strengthened in-depth exchange between the two schools through the assistance of Professor David Henry Hwang. Professor Ye Changhai, Director of the STA Academic Committee, presented the letter of appointment to Professor Henry David Hwang, Vice President Liu Qing put on the STA school badge for Professor David Henry Hwang, and Professor Lu Jun presented to Professor David Henry Hwang a set of the “Selected Works of Columbia University MFA Students” (published by the Shanghai People’s Publishing House) for which Professor Lu himself was the editor-in-chief and asked Professor David Henry Hwang to help donate it to the Columbia University Library. Professor David Henry Hwang made a speech, in which he expressed his pride to become a new STAer and reviewed in retrospective the teaching cooperation between the two sides. He thanked Professor Lu Jun for his assistance and guidance for the MFA Playwriting students from the Columbia University. After the appointment ceremony, Professor Henry David Hwang conducted a special lecture on playwriting.

With the support of STA’s Academic Committee, Department of Theatrical Literature, Graduate School and International Exchange Centre, the STA Playwriting Research Centre has been cooperating with the playwriting concentration of the Columbia University on a MFA Playwriting joint training program for four years. The work so far which involved Professor David Henry Hwang and Professor Lu Jun sending two of their own postgraduate students to each other’s school for exchange study every year has achieved fruitful results. The “Selected Works of Columbia University MFA Studies” which Professor Lu Jun presented to Professor David Henry Hwang is one of them. Nine works of the Columbia University MFA students were staged at the Shanghai Theatre Academy, and the works of the STA postgraduate students were also staged at the Off Broadway in the US. The joint training of postgraduate students in playwriting concentration between the two sides, as a teaching model, is unprecedented in China and even in the world, and is of great significance as a milestone in STA’s construction and development of the playwriting discipline. The STA Playwriting Research Centre will continue to advance this project and strive to develop playwriting into a first-class discipline thus making its contribution to developing STA into one of the high-level local universities in Shanghai.

Professor David Henry Hwang's visit not only brought a series of vivid lectures for teachers and students of STA, more importantly, as Professor David Henry Hwang said while summing up his playwriting experiences, it is of greater significance that the cooperation between the Shanghai Theater Academy and the Columbia University in the teaching of playwriting has embarked on a new journey.