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Ms Huimin Wang BA

Postgraduate research student, Chinese-English Translator and Interpreter

Ms Huimin Wang's photo

Ms Huimin WANG is Postgraduate research student within English at the University of Southampton.

Play with Shakespeare and Kun opera

2014-18   BA in English (first class), Xiamen University

My undergraduate thesis focused on silence in Shakespeare.

2016-17   Exchange to Hong Kong University with Fung Scholarship

2018-present  PhD English at University of Southampton with CSC Scholarship

I am interested in transcultural comparisons of the performance traditions of Shakespeare’s plays and Chinese Kunqu opera from the late 16th century to the present with a special focus on the manifestations of emotions on the multi-media stage.

Additional information

Member of International Shakespeare Association

Member of Fung Scholar

CATTI Chinese-English Intermediate Interpreter

CATTI Chinese-English Intermediate Translator

IELTS 8.0/9.0

Research interests

  • Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture at Southampton
  • International Shakespeare Association

Currently I am doing a comparative project on the performance traditions of Shakespeare and Chinese Kun opera from the late sixteenth century to the present. Forbidden love forms a common feature of two contemporary but geographically distinct art works and artistic forms, namely Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Tang Xianzu’s The Peony Pavilion (1598). By comparing the two plays’ performance and reception history, I explore the way emotions are manifested differently across time and space. Since both plays have a tradition of adaptation, I study how the corresponding political-economic-social-cultural context shapes the adapted productions.

Starting from a textual analysis, I question how zeitgeist influences a playtext. I situate my project in the historical context of the Elizabethan, Restoration, Georgian, Victorian period and the present; accordingly in China, the time periods are the late Ming Dynasty, the Qing Dynasty, the Republic of China, and People’s Republic of China. In the four-hundred-year history of adaptation, I delve into adaptors’ diverse interpretations toward Romeo and Juliet and The Peony Pavilion. Comparing the earliest available texts and their later adaptations, I investigate how meaning is affected when scenes are extracted, and moreover, how the dramaturgical structure has been configured and to what end.   

From page to stage, I question how theatre’s multi-media nature helps to dramatize forbidden love on the stage, specifically, how gestures and music are employed to convey the characters’ emotions to the audience. On the one hand, gestures and music are both highly culturally specific; on the other, they are non-linguistic and therefore have a certain portability across time and space. This project investigates how the meaning of gestures and music are transferred in the history of adaptations.

The scope of my study will include both traditional and non-traditional productions of both plays. The triple and interconnecting relations between a playtext, the production, and the audience’s response is the focal point for my research. I try to reconstruct the historical performances of the two plays in different times, diverse localities, and contrasting artistic forms.

Through textual and performance analyses of most representative productions of each period, I argue that the original playtext and later adaptations form an intertextuality that indicates the evolving perceptions of emotions. On the multi-media stage, I examine how gestures and music help to convey emotions according to cultural demands of artistic works. Further, I endeavour to explore the common patterns and culturally-related differences between the performance traditions of Shakespeare and Kun opera. Ultimately, my project draws attention to the possible methods to modernise Kun opera.

PhD research information

Title: Romeo and Juliet and The Peony Pavilion: A Comparative Study of the Performance Traditions of Shakespeare and Chinese Kun Opera

Supervisors: Prof. Ros King, Dr. Alice Hunt, Dr. Alireza

Funding agency: China Scholarship Council

Freelancer translator and interpreter

I worked as a volunteer teacher in Tibet, China in 2014 and worked as a part-time English teacher before I joined the University of Southampton.

Ms Huimin Wang
Student Office, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Southampton, Avenue Campus, Southampton. SO17 1BF United Kingdom

Room Number : 65A/2127

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