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Lisa LU in Conversation


Thursday 11th October, 19:00 - 21:00

British Library, London

A true story of a 92-year-old Chinese actress in Hollywood and Hong Kong: from the Empress Dowager Cixi to Anmei Hsu in Joy Luck Club.

A rare opportunity to hear Lisa Lu and guests discuss her performing arts journey of over sixty years across the arena of film and theatre from Hollywood to Hong Kong.


Lisa will share her experiences of working across cultures on various performing arts platforms as an actress and producer. Her guests, Stan Lai, the celebrated Taiwanese playwright and director, Dongtian Guan, a much-admired Beijing Opera actor and Xinyi Chen, an acclaimed director, will also discuss their experiences of working alongside Lisa.

The renowned Peking Opera stars from the China National Peking Opera Company including Li Shengsu will pay tribute to Lisa with a short extract from the Emperor and the Concubine and Lisa will perform an extract from her latest work, a Chinese translation of The Gin Game

Lisa Lu, an internationally renowned actress and producer has starred in many films, including her most recent, Crazy Rich Asians, to be released this summer from Warner Bros. Studios. Her career started in the 1960’s, in such films as Mountain Road (1960), to recent performances in Roland Emmerich’s 2012.  She is best known for her numerous American and Chinese films, including Disney's Joy Luck Club  (1993), Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor (1987) and the Shaw Brothers' Empress Dowager.

Roundtable Speakers:
Stan Lai profile picture, by QIN Zhong_e

Stan Lai
One of the preeminent  voices in the contemporary Chinese theatre, Stan Lai has been called "the best Chinese language playwright and director in the world," (BBC) "one of the most celebrated Chinese-language playwrights and directors," (New York Times) "Asia's top theatre director," (Asiaweek), and "Asia's flagship playwright." (China Daily) 

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Dongtian Guan

Guan Dongtian is a national Class-A actor of Peking Opera and a professor of the Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts. As Guan grew up in a Peking Opera family he has been exposed to this art form from a tender age and has become his life-love. His singing style has been influenced by his father and other Peking Opera schools and he has developed his own style of singing, bright, mellow, passionate and full of emotional artistic appeal. 

CHEN Xinyi_edited.jpg

Xinyi Chen
Chinese playwright, director
Chen is a well known Chinese theatre director and playwright and has worked in the industry for over 60 years. She worked in Chinese opera, film, spoken drama in the early 30 years of her career and since then has concentrated on theatre playwriting and directing. She has directed more than 130 productions and has received numerous awards across different stage genres from different authorities. 

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Professor Ruru LI
LI Ruru is a professor of Chinese Theatre Studies in the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies, University of Leeds, UK. She has written extensively on Shakespeare performance in China (including a monograph Shashibiya: Staging Shakespeare in China 2003) and on Chinese theatre (modern/traditional). Her recent work includes Staging China: New Theatres in the Twenty-First Century (ed. 2016), The Soul of Beijing Opera: Theatrical Creativity and Continuity in the Changing World (2010), Translucent Jade: Li Yuru on Stage and in Life ([in Chinese] 2nd edition 2015), and a photographic exhibition Cao Yu (1910–1996): Pioneer of Modern Chinese Drama (2011–16). Li runs traditional song-dance theatre workshops for both students and theatre professionals because she regards regular contact with the theatre as essential to her academic work.

Events Special Guests:
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LI Shengsu

Head of Troup One in the China National Peking Opera Company 

Li Shengsu, a well-known Peking Opera actress in China and nationally recognized class-A actress, was a disciple of Mr Mei Baojiu, son of Peking Opera Master Mei Lanfang. Li, a beautiful and elegant actress, is highly regarded for her brilliant performance skills and is renowned for her rich and sweet voice. 

How to get to the British Library

By train

Kings Cross and St Pancras International and Euston

By Underground

King's Cross St. PancrasEuston and Euston Square


By bus

Many services: including 10, 30, 59, 63, 73 and 91


By car

There is no onsite parking.

The nearest car park is the NCP one in Judd Street, 10 minutes' walk away.

Metered parking (08:30 – 18:30) is available on Ossulston Street (3 spaces only).


By bicycle

There are covered and uncovered areas for bicycles. The best approach from central London is via Tavistock Place and Cartwright Gardens.

Transport for London cycle route planner


Route planner

Transport for London: Journey Planner

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