LONDON, March 8 (Xinhua) -- The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has announced the launch of three new Chinese productions using the RSC's translations with Chinese theaters.
In an event to mark the first two years of its Chinese cultural exchange programme at London's Hackney Empire Theaters, Gregory Doran, RSC Artistic Director, said on Wednesday night following the successful first Chinese productions of Henry V and King Lear, three new productions using the RSC's translations will play in China in 2018: including The Tempest, Twelfth Night and Hamlet.
The three new productions are part of a program to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare's First Folio in 2023. RSC started its Shakespeare Folio Project -- translating Shakespeare's work into Chinese in 2013 by creating actor and audience friendly translations, working with Chinese writers and translators embedded into the RSC's rehearsal process.
During the event, Doran also introduced renowned Chinese theatre artists, Li Liuyi, Pu Cunxin, Hu Jun, and Lu Fang, who perform their own production of Hamlet later this year, to company members from the RSC's current Hamlet.
Doran said it is a great honour to welcome Li Liuyi and his wonderful company to Britain and to share experiences of one of Shakespeare's greatest plays across the two cultures.
"We learn more about one another by telling and sharing our stories and, as we progress our two translation projects, we are discovering for ourselves the depth and artistic quality of China's own classical drama. It is great that Chinese companies have taken the cultural exchange programme to their hearts and we look forward to the three new Chinese Shakespeare productions taking place this year, using our new actor and audience friendly translations," he said.
Chinese Ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaoming spoke highly of the program during the event, saying it is helping to "export" Shakespeare's plays to China for stage performance and "import" the Chinese classics created by Shakespeare's contemporaries to the British stages.
"The RSC Chinese Cultural Exchange Programme was launched in 2013, and is expected to be completed in 2023, in time to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare's first folio. In China we have a saying: ten years are needed to forge the very best sword. This ten-year programme will surely have its place in the history of China-UK cultural exchanges," he said.
Li Liuyi, who staged King Lear at China's National Centre for the Performing Arts last year said that Shakespeare's translation program aims to make Chinese audiences learn more about Shakespeare and is a model of cultural cooperation and exchange between China and Britain.
Pu Cunxin, a famous performer who played Hamlet and King Lear in China before, has a deep understanding of Shakespeare's plays. He told Xinhua that he believed that China should have its own interpretation of Shakespeare on the basis of the Shakespeare's original text, which is given by RSC's program.
"We will have a lot of new feelings. To combine our own cultural interpretation and the living conditions of Chinese creators, this must be Chinese. However, we can not interpret it without Shakespeare's original intention, " Pu said.
Besides the Shakespeare Folio Project, RSC also announced that it will continue its Chinese Classics Translation Project to explore the enormous range of classical Chinese plays written or performed during the 16th and 17th centuries, with more than 45 titles nominated by academics, theatre makers, playwrights and translators across the world.
Working with translators and academics, the project will create up to ten new translations in English, as well as a collection of detailed plot summaries, in readiness for the creation of a digital archive in 2023. This will contribute to the increasing awareness within English-speaking theatre-makers and audiences of the wealth of stories told in China over the centuries, and the RSC hopes to encourage other companies to explore these remarkable texts.
In March 2018, the RSC will host a Chinese Classics Translation Workshop. Playwrights and classical Chinese translators who are creating new translations of Chinese classical dramas will travel from China, America and Europe to talk about and test the creative choices, possibilities and challenges of their work.