The centenary exhibition Cao Yu: Pioneer of Modern Chinese Drama
was opened at London's Confucius Institute, in the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), on 10 February 2011. Some 150-170 participants attending the event.
Keynote speeches were given by Mr Wu Xun, Cultural Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy, and by Lady Youde OBE.
'Cao Yu is the most important figure in Chinese drama,' Mr Wu said. 'People love his plays because his drama evolves alongside society. ... From his plays, we read the characteristics and the spirit of the time, which gives them eternal value.' Mr Wu also pointed to the most vibrant condition of spoken drama in medium-sized and large cities throughout today's China and believed there was 'great potential for research, exchange and collaboration between the theatres in China and in Britain.'
Lady Youde recalled her own experience of the Chinese theatre from 1948 when she first lived in China, observing that drama would always offer an insightful approach to the society and people. She welcomed the commemoration of Cao Yu's centenary in Britain because it would raise awareness of both the playwright and the modern Chinese stage among the general public, who are all very conscious of China's increasingly important role in international politics and the global economy.
Dr Li Ruru's lecture Cao Yu and Modern Chinese Drama after Thunderstorm was well received. As Cao Yu's stepdaughter, and a researcher of modern and traditional Chinese theatre, Li revealed the complicated inner world of the playwright since his childhood, and the dilemmas and the difficulties that Cao Yu confronted during the second half of the twentieth century. She also explored the artistic value of Cao Yu's plays, and their current impact on twenty-first-century Chinese drama.
The opening was reported on the Chinese Ministry of Culture’s website (in Chinese).
It has also attracted interest in Paris (in French) and on the 18th February 2011, the BBC Chinese Service produced an article on their website about Cao Yu and Alan Ayckbourn (in Chinese).
For further information on Cao Yu, please visit our Introduction to Cao Yu pages.