Chongqing Chuanju Theatre
Chongqing Chuanju Theatre was founded in 1951 as the Experimental Chuanju Theatre of Chongqing. Over its 60 years of history, the company has explored the art of Sichuan opera (Chuanju), focusing on innovations in singing styles and research into Sichuan operatic theories. The company comprises veteran masters and renowned leading actors, including seasoned artists such as Zhang Decheng, Zhou Mulian and Wu Xiaolei, and leading emerging and mid-career performers, such as virtuoso Shen Tiemei. The company’s repertoire consists of hundreds of titles, including The Story of the Wooden Hairpin, The Reincarnation of a Beauty, The Tale Under the Willow Shade and Li Yaxian. The company has performed throughout China, as well as in the US, the UK, France, Korea and Japan. Shen Tiemei, the current director, is also vice-chairperson of the Chinese Dramatists’ Association, and a three-time winner of the Plum Blossom Award for Chinese Theatre.
Leading Chuanju performing artist Shen Tiemei is current president of the Chongqing Chuanju Theatre and vice-chairperson of the Chinese Theatre Association. A three-time winner of the prestigious Chinese Theatre Association Plum Blossom Grand Award, she was also recognised with the Wenhua Performance Award presented by the Ministry of Culture. Shen’s mellow voice and beautiful articulation have led to her being named a “Diva of Sichuan Opera”. During her career, Shen has performed in Italy, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Australia, Singapore, Korea and the US as part of cultural exchange tours to promote Chuanju internationally. Her performance in The Phoenix Pavilion was praised by international media, including The New York Times and the Financial Times. She has also been commended by the Chinese Ministry of Culture for “bridging the gap between traditional and global cultures”.
Sun Yongbo is a National Class One actor and winner of the Plum Blossom Award. He apprenticed under the Sichuan opera actor Xiao Ting and is skilled in portraying a wide range of characters, including scholarly and martial xiaosheng (young male) roles. He is known for his lead roles in Li Yaxian, The Jade Hairpin, The Challenge, Packing in a Box for the Palace Examination, Good Person of Sichuan, The Fox Spirit’s Enmity, Pearl Shirt, The Chalk Circle, Mulian Saves His Mother and other plays. He was honoured with a first place award for performance in the 2016 Chinese Art Festival, a first place award for the ninth Flying to Heaven Award for television series, five “One Project” Awards from Sichuan Province, and a first place national award for excerpt plays from regional operas. He has travelled widely with the Chongqing Chuanju Theatre, including performances in Germany, Spain, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Xu Chao is a National Class Two actor trained in scholarly and martial xiaosheng (young male) roles. He is known for his work in the excerpt plays Zhou Ren Dallies on the Road, Xiao Fang Commits Murder on a Boat, Finding a Seal in a Water Prison, Hua Yun Shoots a Condor, Forcing the Nephew to Enter the Imperial Examination and Picking the Red Plum. He is also known for his performance in the full-length plays Xiao Fang the White-faced Tiger, The Yumen Pass, The Tale Under the Willow Shade and Mingfeng. In 2000, he graduated from the Sichuan Provincial School of Sichuan Opera and joined the Chongqing Chuanju Theatre. He apprenticed under the actor Zhao Shuqin and studied under Wei Yixin. In 2008, he participated in the Beijing Olympics performance series and was awarded an honours certificate by the Ministry of Culture. In 2009, he was awarded first place in the Chongqing City Stars of Stage Arts competition for his performance of Finding a Seal in a Water Prison. In 2011, he won an award for outstanding opera performance for Mingfeng at the Chinese Drama Festival. In 2012, he was given an award for outstanding literary works at the Chinese Art Festival. He has represented the troupe in performances in the US, France, Australia and other countries.
Li Wanguo is a National Class Three actor and is trained in wusheng (martial male) roles. He is known for his performances in the traditional excerpt plays Jiangdong Bridge, Capturing Gao Shijie on the Water, Fleeing by Night, Sending off Jingniang, Yue Yang Drinks the Soup, Loyal Tang Huai, Borrowing Zhao Yun’s Troops and others. He is also known for his performance in full-length plays, such as The Yumen Pass and Wu Song. In 2000, he graduated from Sichuan Provincial School of Art and entered the Chongqing Chuanju Theatre. In 2009, he won the Star Award in the Stars of Stage Arts competition. He has represented the troupe on multiple occasions in other countries, such as Germany, Russia, the UK, France and Korea.
Zhou Xingyu is skilled in both qingyi (virtuous female) and daomadan (martial female) roles. She is an apprentice to the famous Sichuan opera actress Shen Tiemei and an outstanding young talent in the Chongqing Chuanju Theatre. She was awarded the New Star award in the Chongqing City Stars of Stage Arts competition. In 2008, she attended the Beijing Film Academy and the Spring Festival Gala on CCTV. In 2010, she performed at the World Expo in Shanghai. In 2011, she represented the south-west region in the television programme Happy Dictionary on CCTV. She has performed in countries such as Germany, the US and the UK. In the new arrangement of the play The Legend of the White Snake, she performs the lead role of Bai Suzhen. Her representative works include Jinshan Temple, Sanniang Teaches Her Son, Killing the Dog to Alert the Wife, Mount Baimang, Slipping Out the Window and Wu Song.
Tang Wei is an acclaimed performer with the Chongqing Chuanju Theatre, trained in wusheng (martial male) roles. He is known for his performances in Death at Baqiu, Attacking Zidu, Wu Song Fighting in the Tavern, Jinshan Temple, The Fox Spirit’s Enmity and other plays. From 2004 to 2008, he studied in the Liu Ping Art Troupe at the Sichuan Provincial Sichuan Opera School. In 2008, he joined the Chongqing Chuanju Theatre. He has accompanied the troupe on many occasions to countries in Europe, America and Asia. In 2010, he performed at the Chongqing Performance Week at the World Expo in Shanghai. In 2011, he accompanied the Chongqing Cultural Bureau to Japan to join the New Year’s ceremony. In 2012, he performed at a cultural exchange event in Germany, and at the Festival Internacional Cervantino in Mexico. In 2015, he performed in Pusan, Korea. In 2016, he went on tour in the UK. In 2018, he participated in CCTV’s Dragon Boat Festival Xiqu Party.