Kathy Hall, an acclaimed performer and teacher working in the UK for over twenty years will take you from a brief historical perspective onto the principles of posture and movement, the role types and their characteristics, and the visual symbolism of the costumes.
Using exquisitely hand-embroidered costume items, she will give demonstration-performances of Kunqu and Jingju (Peking) opera excerpts.
The pursuit of love is explored… In The Peony Pavilion -In Pursuit of the Dream, it is young love in search of fulfilment; in The Imperial Concubine Intoxicated -the Hundred Flowers Pavilion, it is mature love bounded by many impositions.
Kathy has selected these two items to illustrate the lyricism characteristic of Kunqu music and the grandeur of this courtly Jingju piece.
There will also be short video clips of professional Chinese actors bringing live theatre to you.
To top it all, you can make the most of the opportunity to follow Kathy in the Workshop section to extend your limbs and your mind the Chinese Opera way, with sustained graceful energy!
This event takes place between the Lunar New Year (Year of the Dragon, 7th February 2024) and the Spring Lantern Festival for families and lovers (24th February 2024) when there is the first full moon of the year!
Mrs Kathy Lee Hall was born and educated in Hong Kong, where she obtained her MPhil in Comparative Literature and PGCE in English (Distinction). She found her way back from Shakespeare and Chekhov to Chinese Opera while studying Bertolt Brecht’s theatre. From there, there was no holding back.
She learnt privately from Mr Bao Youdie, a specialist on Mei Lanfang. She learnt Kunqu from top actors in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Hangzhou, Ms Le Yiping, Ms Liang Guyin and Ms Wang Fengmei.
She joined the newly established Hong Kong Arts Development Council as its first Secretary-General in 1993. She settled in the UK in 1997 and has been promoting Chinese Opera to all age levels in schools, community centres and arts organisations, UK-wide and beyond.
She gave six Kunqu performances at the Venice Biennale 2006 in the China Special Programme Crisis. She also took her team to paint Chinese Opera Painted-Faces on the Carnival-goers.
She has given numerous performances, workshops and taught many students. She was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2004.
Her Kunqu fan and shoes were selected in the British Library ‘Chinese and British’ Exhibition 2022-23.