As the first Artistic Director (2001-2008) since the incorporation of Hong Kong Repertory Theatre (HKRep), Mao had previously directed The Sound of a Voice / A Gleam of Colour (1st Black Box production of the Company), Ubu Roi, Red Room, White Room, Black Room, Forever And Ever and We Are One Family as guest-director for HKRep in the late 1980s and 1990s. Mao was bestowed the title of Director Laureate upon his departure in 2008.
During his tenure at HKRep, Mao had directed the following productions: Forever And Ever (re-run), Secret of Resurrection, Love in a Fallen City, Sweet & Sour Hong Kong, A Small Family Business, Proof, Dust and Dawn, From Sunset To Sunrise (The Quintessential Cao Yu), the new version of Secret of Resurrection and many others. Among these works, Sweet & Sour Hong Kong, an original musical, was a collaboration among Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra and Hong Kong Dance Company, and for the very first time HKRep’s work presented in Shanghai. In 2005 and 2006, Mao revised and remounted Love in a Fallen City, which then embarked on an international tour visiting Shanghai, Toronto, New York and Beijing, receiving much critical acclaim and establishing the foundation for the Company’s touring plan. He saw it as his mission to produce plays of outstanding quality through showcasing the “Main Stage” and “Rep 2” series for HKRep, while creating the company’s own repertoire.
Mao obtained his Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Arts from the University of Iowa, USA. He then launched his acting/directing career with professional theatre companies as well as film and television productions in the States. During his stay in America, he had worked with the best theatre professionals, made his Broadway acting debut in the production of Pacific Overtures, and took the reign of Artistic Director of the Napa Valley Theatre Company in California. When the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA) was established in 1985, Mao joined its School of Drama as Head of Acting. He had not only directed major works of Shakespeare, Molière, Chekhov, Shaw, Brecht and so on, but also supported and developed original works of Hong Kong, his many distinguished productions included The Legend of a Storyteller, The Kids, The Wind & The City, The Girl Who Turned The World Upside Down and Red Boat.
Mao had received numerous awards, among them the “Best Director” title for five times at the Hong Kong Drama Awards and Artist of the Year (Stage Director)” from the Hong Kong Artists’ Guild in 1999. In 2004, the Government of the HKSAR conferred upon Mao the Bronze Bauhinia Star in recognition of his outstanding contribution to local performing arts scene. He was awarded the Honorary Fellowship of HKAPA in 2005, the Honorary University Fellowship by the Hong Kong Baptist University in 2007 and Honorary Doctorate (Drama) by HKAPA in 2014 for his achievement in performing arts and contribution to the Academy.
A lifelong lover of traditional Chinese opera (Xiqu), Mao is all along a facilitator of local Cantonese opera development and often tries to combine various elements of Xiqu and contemporary theatre in his work. The Liaisons, an original music theatre he directed in 2010, won “The Modern Xiqu Grand Award” at the 2011 Shanghai One Drama Awards. At the same year, the National Peking Opera Company in Beijing invited Mao to direct a Peking Opera version of De Ling & Empress Dowager Ci Xi. In Chinese Opera Festival 2011, he was commissioned by the Leisure & Cultural Services Department of Hong Kong to adapt and direct a new version of the Cantonese opera The Last Emperor of Southern Tang. From 2014 to 2016, Mao was appointed by HKAPA as the Founding Chair of the School of Chinese Opera.
In 2017, Mao was bestowed the “Award for Outstanding Contribution in Arts” by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council.
Chung King-Fai received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech and Drama at the Oklahoma Baptist University, USA, and then graduated with a Master’s degree in Fine Arts from the School of Drama, Yale University, received a Honorary Doctor of Philosophy from Armstrong University, USA, a Doctor of Letter Honoris Causa from Hong Kong Open University, and Honorary Doctor of Drama from Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.
For 23 years he worked as a full-time and part-time teacher at the Baptist College in Hong Kong, and then joined Television Broadcasts Limited and later Asia Television Limited for another 16 years. He was the founding Dean of Drama at the Hong Kong Academy for Performance Arts and remained in the post for 18 years.
The many honors Chung has received include the Bronze Bauhinia Star, the honorary Fellowship of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, the Drama Achievement Award from the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, and he was named Artist of the Year (Stage Director) by the Hong Kong Artists’ Guild. He has also received four awards for Best Director and eight awards for Best Leading Actor over the years. Recently he has also received the Most Outstanding Television Actor Award (Ming Pao Weekly 2005). He has been a member of the Basic Law Consultative Committee, a member of the National People’s Congress and the Principal Artistic Consultant of the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre.
Chung has directed and performed extensively in stage productions, TV and movies. His recent productions include On Golden Pond, A Sentimental Journey, Inherit the Wind, My Family, Sleuth, The Unexpected Man, Tuesdays with Morrie, and Noises Off, which was staged at the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre.
Chung received a Life-time Actor Star Award from Hong Kong Television Broadcasts Ltd. in 2006, World Outstanding Chinese in 2007, the Leader of the Year 2009, outstanding Contribution in Arts, and Life Achievement Award from the Hong Kong Arts Development Council in 2012. Chung had been listed in Dictionary of International Biography, Men of Achievement, Reference Asia, Who’s Who in Contemporary World Theatre, among others.
Currently Chung is a Chairperson of the Hong Kong Federation of Drama Societies, Executive Director of the Chinese Theatrical Arts Society, and a member of Hong Kong Home Affairs Bureau’s Committee on Performing Arts.
Dramaturg and theatre critic Li Kehuan has served in several capacities at the China Youth Arts Theatre, from head of the dramaturgy department, to President and Artistic Director. He is currently the Honorary President of the China Dramaturgy Society and Vice-President of the China Theatre Research Society. Lin has lectured in more than fifty universities and art academies inside and outside China, and his extensive writings on theatre have been published in more than 180 media outlets at home and abroad. His writings include commentaries on drama, fine arts, dance, photography, film, television, installation art, performance art; these writings delve into literary criticism, creative writing and discourse on aesthetics. Among Lin’s published works are Newspaper Boy, Tilted Stage, Theory of Dramatic Presentation, Collection of Theatre Critiques, Hong Kong Drama-Drama Hong Kong, and Drama in the Era of Consumerism. His biography and academic achievements have been recorded in Who’s Who in the World, Dictionary of Chinese Experts, and Dictionary of Chinese Literature. Japanese scholar Hiroshi Seto in his book, Contemporary Chinese Theatre, recognized Lin as “the central figure in today’s studio theatre movement” (1991).
Noted Taiwanese writer Ma Sen once wrote, “To mainland Chinese readers, Lin has showed his familiarity with Taiwan contemporary theatre. To Taiwanese readers, he’s clearly the best spokesperson for mainland Chinese theatre. One cannot imagine an expert who knows theatre across the Straits as broadly and as deeply as Lin” (1994). Hong Kong Arts Development Council Chief Executive Louis Yu said, “Lin Kehuan is the most important theatre critic at present in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan” (2004).
He has been invited numerous times to review the performing arts in Hong Kong, and has worked with such organizations as the HKRep, City Contemporary Dance Company, Zuni Icosahedron as dramaturg and literary consultant.
“Stan Lai is Asia’s Top Theatre Director.”
One of the most influential playwright/directors in Asia, Stan Lai is also known for his award-winning films. Based in Taiwan, Lai’s plays (25 original works to date) have been performed throughout the Chinese world, and he is widely regarded as one of the most important voices in contemporary Chinese-language theatre.
Lai’s most famous work Secret Love In Peach Blossom Land (1986) has toured worldwide, been made into an award-winning film (1992), and has had hundreds of unauthorized productions in China. Of its recent Beijing production directed by Lai, the New York Times calls the play “may be the most popular contemporary play in China,” and says that “by the end…the audience is left to contemplate the burdens of memory, history, longing, love and the power of theater itself.”
Lai’s famous “crosstalk” (xiangsheng) plays, starting with the groundbreaking That Evening, We Performed Xiangsheng (1985) has helped create the large, popular audience base for his critically acclaimed work, while at the same time resuscitating the dying traditional performing art form of xiangsheng. His epic 7 hour A Dream Like A Dream received top awards at the 2003 Hong Kong Drama Awards, and has drawn comparisons to the works of Tony Kushner, Robert Lepage, and Peter Brook’s Mahabharata.
Stan Lai’s plays have revived Taiwan’s theatre, toured internationally, and influenced a generation of theatre artists.The Far Eastern Economic Review describes his work as “the most exciting theatre in the Chinese-speaking world”; Newsweek calls it “the most recent piece of evidence that Taiwan is creating the boldest Chinese art in Asia today.”
Born in Washington, D.C. in 1954, Lai was educated in America and Taiwan, and received his Ph.D. in Dramatic Art from U.C. Berkeley in 1983. He has received Taiwan’s highest award for the arts, the National Arts Award, an unprecedented two times (1988, 2001). His innovative book Stan Lai on Creativity (Lai Sheng-chuan de Chuanyixue, 2006) is a best seller in China and Taiwan.