Traditional Chinese shadow theater (píyǐng) in America owes much to the life work of Jo Humphrey. The founder and Artistic Director of the Yueh Lung Shadow Theater (later renamed the Gold Mountain Institute for Traditional Shadow Theater) she spent her career tirelessly working to preserve, promote and research Chinese shadow theater in the West. With the Yueh Lung company, Jo produced and directed dozens of shadow plays, based on traditional Chinese repertoire, that performed for audiences across the US, Canada, Mexico and Europe. Through her pioneering work and devotion, she became a key figure in the revival of shadow theater throughout the world.
In this program, Jo will discuss the roots of her passion for shadow theater; her process of translating and adapting traditional performance for contemporary American audiences; the efforts to preserve the shadow figures of the Pauline Benton collection; and her thoughts on the current state of the art form, both in the United States and in China.
The program will be moderated and translated into Chinese by Kuang-Yu Fong, Executive Director of Chinese Theatre Works.
This program is part of the “The Art of Chinese New Year” project. “The Art of Chinese New Year” is a vibrant, interactive experience where visitors of all ages can explore the Chinese New Year holiday and the traditional visual and performing arts related to it. Through displays, artist workshops, and hands-on activities visitors will learn about nianhua (New Year pictures), spring couplets, papercutting, shadow theater, and lion dances — all capturing the sights and sounds of the most important holiday and festival in China.