Theatre Royal Haymarket

Wu Hsing-kuo Masterclass & Gala Tea

Friday, August 30th, 2013

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Last Tuesday saw TRH’s first ever Taiwanese Master lead a masterclass. Actor and Director Wu Hsing-kuo graced our stage as he held a talk and interactive workshop. Another first the masterclass was in Wu’s native Mandarin with interpretation from Dr Ruru Li from the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Leeds.

 Wu’s background is based in classical Peking Opera (Jinju) where he studied the art from the age of 11 at Taiwan’s Fu-Hsing Chinese Opera School, specializing in wu sheng (male martial) roles. Wu emphasised how different a Taiwanese actor’s understanding of movement and position is in when compared to Western performers, and it was this that Wu demonstrated during the second half of the afternoon’s session by way of a very physical workshop involving a group of Masterclass members.

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After the session, a tea was held to mark the event in our fabulous Stalls Bar. Members who had taken part in the workshop had an opportunity to speak to Wu and Ruru about the afternoon and were very enthusiastic about how beneficial the session had been for developing both their skills and their understanding of Taiwanese theatre. Masterclass member Jeffery Ho who participated in the workshop commented;

“I had a wonderful time at the masterclass with Wu Hsing-kuo. Wu’s work is amazingly unique, the way he incorporates the eastern Peking opera with the western Shakespeare is extraordinary. Through the workshop he helped me to realise anything is possible if we are bold enough to explore and create our own work.”

David Tse, currently performing in Chimerica at the Harold Pinter Theatre, said the event was “a fantastic introduction to the Bejing Opera movement and the wonderful artistry and skill of that form as physical theatre. Mr Wu is clearly a contemporary legend – it was an honour to be part of the masterclass.”

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The afternoon was a huge success, and Masterclass would like to thank everyone who made the event possible, particularly Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture, those Masterclass members that took part and of course both Wu Hsing-kuo and Dr Li Ruru!

To view more images from both events, please click here.

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