Chen Rong


Chen Rong
b. 6 January 1929, Harbin, Heilongjiang
Theatre director
Chen Rong, one of China’s foremost female directors, escaped to Beijing from Japanese-controlled Harbin at the age of twelve. At sixteen she joined the People’s Liberation Army and was assigned to a performing arts troupe during the Chinese Civil War (1945–9). The troupe performed classical Chinese Operas for audiences composed of workers, peasants and soldiers. In 1950 she studied acting at the newly established Central Drama Academy, in Beijing.
After graduation she worked at the Chinese Traditional Opera Institute in Beijing, collaborating with famous Chinese Opera actor, Mei Lanfang. In 1954 she was accepted as a student at the National Dramatic Arts Academy in Moscow and five years later graduated with a degree in stage direction. She joined the China Children’s Art Theatre in 1960 where she became well known for her direction of the Chinese play Flower Malan. In 1962 she was assigned to the China Youth Art Theatre in Beijing and in 1988 became the Artistic Director of the company. Her productions of Bertholt Brecht’s plays Galileo, The Caucasian Chalk Circle and The Three Penny Opera have had a major impact on contemporary Chinese theatre. These productions reflect Chen Rong’s unique style of infusing modern Huaju (spoken drama) with classical Chinese Opera techniques. Her work has been presented in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan. In 1991, Chen Rong resigned her position as Artistic Director to become a national political consultant for the government. She currently lives in Beijing and continues to direct plays for the China Youth Art Theatre.
See also: Western theatre
CARLA KIRKWOOD

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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