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Honorary Fellow


2007 Honorary Fellow



Elizabeth Wichmann-Walczak is Professor of Theatre and Director of the Asian Theatre Program in the University of Hawaii at Manoa Department of Theatre and Dance. She earned bachelors degrees at the University of Iowa in both theatre and Chinese, and then attended graduate school at the University of Hawaii. While carrying out the field research for her doctoral dissertation on the performance structure and aesthetics of Jingju (sometimes called ‘Beijing/Peking opera’ in English), she became the first non-Chinese to perform Jingju in the People’s Republic of China, playing the role of Yang Guifei in the Mei Lanfang classic, Guifei Zui Jiu - The Favorite Concubine Becomes Intoxicated. Since that time she has written and published on 20th and 21st century Jingju performance, including numerous encyclopedia entries, journal articles, and books including Listening to Theatre -The Aural Dimension of Jingju Performance, now being published in Chinese translation in Shanghai.

At the University of Hawaii Professor Wichmann-Walczak has also organised numerous Jingju Resident Training Programmes with culminating full-scale English-language productions of major Jingju plays. These training programmes have been taught by master performers and musicians from China, and have been attended by students from around the world. The Jingju plays that Professor Wichmann-Walczak has translated and directed for these training programmes include one modern play, Shajiabang - Spark Amid the Reeds, one ‘newly-written historical’ play, Yang Men Nü Jiang - Women Generals of the Yang Family, and four classical plays: Feng Huan Chao - The Phoenix Returns to Its Nest; Yu Tangchun – The Jade Hall of Spring; Si Lang Tan Mu - Si Lang Visits His Mother; and Qin Xianglian - The Case of Judge Bao and Qin Xianglian. At Chinese invitation, the productions of three classical plays have been given performance tours of Mainland China, playing in Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Wuxi, and Nanjing.

Dr Wichmann-Walczak was on the 1983 advisory panel for the formation of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts’ School of Drama. She is the first honorary (and first non-Chinese) member of the National Institute of Xiqu (sometimes called ‘Chinese opera’ in English), as well as the Chinese Theatre Artists Associations of Shanghai and of Jiangsu Province. She has been awarded the National Xiqu Music Association’s award for excellence in research, creation, and performance, as well as the National Festival of Jingju’s Golden Chrysanthemum Award for outstanding achievements in promoting and developing Jingju.