location: index > NEWS
NEWS

First-ever English thousand-word play script reading session, as part of Shanghai Theatre Academy’s playwriting workshop for hundred, thousand and ten thousand-character plays, is successfully held

21 January 2019

On the evening of 9 January, the English thousand-character-play script reading session, as part of Shanghai Theatre Academy (STA)’s 2019 Script Writing Workshop for Hundred, Thousand and Ten Thousand-Character Plays, successfully concluded at the Jing'an District Culture Centre. Produced by the STA Playwriting Research Centre, this event demonstrated one of the results of the postgraduate playwriting student exchange project between the Shanghai Theatre Academy and the Columbia University of the USA. Many professors and students from the Shanghai Theatre Academy and brotherhood schools, as well as Professor David Henry Hwang, a famous American Chinese playwright from the Columbia University and the author of M. Butterfly, attended this great event of cross-cultural exchange in theatre, together with theatre fans.

The script reading session was novel and unique. First, in terms of content, the texts performed were all from the English scripts written by nine students of the Shanghai Theatre Academy, and in itself was the very first time at the Shanghai Theatre Academy; Second, in terms of form, the director creatively rotated the nine stories in the four spaces separated curtains at the performance venue, thus enabling the originally static script reading to be flowing, and this in itself was also very rarely found in script reading in China. In this way, following the lead introduction of the playwrights, the audience stepped into one private space after another and pried into the secrets of heart and soul composed in English one after another.

After the script reading session, both Professor David Henry Hwang and Professor Lu Jun spoke very highly about the event. Professor David Henry Hwang said: "The show is really incredible, every story is different. I am amazed by your English level and even more amazed by your playwriting skills." Professor Lu Jun said: "The show takes a novel form and is of great significance. It was first time we have transferred a set of playwriting teaching methods of the Columbia University; It was the first time we have asked the postgraduate playwriting students to create scripts in English and do the script reading in English; It was the first time we have invited Professor David Henry Hwang to provide direct, face-to-face guidance for the works of our students; It was the first time we have separate a large space divided into a number of smaller spaces for the script reading of works of different themes, different contents and different styles. This event features so much first time and will play a very important role in promoting the teaching of playwriting and the construction of playwriting discipline at the Shanghai Theatre Academy.”

This show was a showcase of the teaching results of Shanghai Theater Academy’s first-ever workshop for English thousand-word plays. The workshop for English thousand-word play was a new playwriting course of the postgraduate playwriting student exchange project between the Shanghai Theatre Academy and the Columbia University. Under the auspices of Professor Lu Jun, the teachers and students from both sides worked together. The two MFA Playwriting exchange students from the Columbia University acted as the teaching tutors, who passed on Columbia University’s teaching methods for playwriting to the students of the Shanghai Theatre Academy and assisted with the revision and improvement of the students’ works. Through this course, we can not only have a strong supplement to our existing teaching methods for playwriting, but also further explore the students’ possibilities and greatly improve their confidence in creation and expression.

Now that Mr David Henry Hwang has been formally appointed to become an honorary professor of the Shanghai Theater Academy, this also means that the Columbia University will have even closer cooperation with the Shanghai Theater Academy. It is worth mentioning that Mr David Henry Hwang also intends to bring more English play scripts created by the students of the Shanghai Theatre Academy to the stage of the Columbia University and the stage of American theatre, thus making the playwriting workshop for English thousand-word plays not only a course, but also a platform. It is hoped that in the future, the two sides can work together side by side and join hands for common development, thereby, enabling the construction of playwriting discipline to bear more and better fruits for the benefit of more students of playwriting concentration.