Hu Xuehua


Hu Xuehua
(Sherwood Hu)
b. 30 November 1961, Shanghai
Huaju (spoken-drama) director, filmmaker
Hu Xuehua was one of the youngest Huaju directors to participate in the creation of seminal, experimental productions during the 1980s. The son of Huaju director Hu Weimin, his training as a Jingju (Peking opera) actor (1976–79) is unusual for a Huaju artist and has informed his later work. After majoring in theatre at the Beijing Arts Academy, Hu became a resident director at the Airforce Theatre in 1983, where he worked on the highly controversial premiere production of Wang Peigong and Wang Gui’s WM (W[o]m[en] (literally We or Us). The subject matter and radical, confrontational staging of this production led to it being banned in Beijing. In spite of this, Hu was invited to mount a second production, at the Shanghai People’s Art Theatre in 1985, which was equally controversial.
In 1987 Hu worked with legendary Huaju director/theorist Huang Zuolin on the premiere of Sun Huizhu’s China Dream (Zhongguo meng), using approaches and techniques inspired by Peking opera to evoke the ambivalent feelings of a young Chinese woman who emigrates to the US. Criticized politically but praised artistically, this production ran for two years, a remarkable record. In 1987 Hu moved to the USA, received an MFA at SUNY Buffalo and a PhD at the University of Hawai’i, and studied at the New York Public Theater with Joseph Papp. His later work as a film-maker includes two award-winning Hollywood—Shanghai joint productions, Warrior Lanling (1995) and Lani Loa—The Passage (1998).
ELIZABETH WICHMANN-WALCZAK

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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