Episode One


N.B.   A two day pre –project planning visit was undertaken by the project co-ordinator (S Daniels) to Shanghai Theatre Academy in July 2008 during a general working period in China, supported by the University of Leeds

Episode 1

Episode 1


  • To establish personal/professional links across the four organisations
  • To  provide a context for the work
  • To determine a range of possible themes/scenarios from the original project descriptors and  to propose ways of working
  • To set organisational/time line structure

Events :

Meetings with Professor  Sun  and  range of Shanghai Theatre Academy (STA)  academic staff  including Heads of Departments and Opera College : opportunity for individuals to introduce their organisations and themselves.

Meetings with STA administration and  International  Cooperation office.  

Meeting between the three EU partners and identification of similarities and differences in approach to the art form opera.

Meeting with Finnish Ambassador

Attendance at  spoken drama work with Professor Lu Ang   and traditional Chinese Opera with Professor William Sun.

Tours of Shanghai.


It was agreed to have two interlocked groups in the project.     The core artistic team (CAT)   comprising three UK artists (a musician/composer, a director/choreographer, a singer) and three Chinese artists (a musician/composer, a director/choreographer, a performer: noting that  many Chinese performers are also directors/choreographers..     Their work  is set in the context of a parallel exploration of the cultural situation of opera within Europe and China –  history, development, education, business, management, politics, transmission, etc –   by the Cultural Contexts Group (CCG).    There will also be a documentation team drawn from the CCG.    

The  CAT theme will be text – based   as proposed by STA, an exploration of a recurrent European and Chinese folk tale – a baby, two women claiming to be mother and a judge.

a. It is simple in story line – biological mother and nurturing mother both claim the baby

b. It is a global story – Bible. Koran, European myth, Chinese folk tale,  Chinese opera character, Brechtian adaptation in Chalk Circle, etc

c. It allows for a raft of artistic approaches from both Chinese and European traditions

Judgement of Solomon Bible 1 Kings 3

Summary of The Chalk Circle in Performance