Australian Drama Program at Peking University


About the ProgramDrama program 2015 PKU 2

In 2013, The Australian Studies Centre at Peking University and the PKU-BHP Billiton Chair of Australian Studies Professor David Walker initiated the PKU Australian Drama Program in cooperation with the existing Drama Practice Course offered at PKU by Professor Joseph Graves, Artistic Director of the PKU Institute of World Theatre and Film. For one semester, the enrolled 60 students rehearsed and produced the Australian play COSI (by Louis Nowra) with a number of popular performances staged in Beijing at various theatres, under the co-direction of Chinese director Sebastian Li (Li Shi) and Australian resident guest director Kirsten von Bibra. The play was translated and performed in Chinese as well as in English (with surtitles), and the season was extended twice due to popular demand. As well as providing students with valuable experience in drama technique, voice training, dramatic production and the practical aspects of putting on a theatre show, the PKU Australian Drama Program also provides a valuable opportunity to showcase uniquely Australian theatre. Plays, like literature, are a window into a cultural and a society and are a valuable tool for promoting bilateral understanding.

2015: The Servant of Two Masters

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The servant, Truffaldino, couldn’t be happier with his change of circumstance balancing two jobs and secretly earning double the wage. But his two masters turn out to be separated lovers on the run who are staying at the same inn. With one master disguised as a man, the resourceful Truffaldino tries to handle the chaos. As a result, we enter into a hilarious world where the wheel of fortune spins out of control in this comedy of love gone wrong and mistaken identity in romantic Venice. This play is the crowning glory of the Commedia dell’Arte tradition that so influenced Shakespeare’s comedies and western theatrics. This new Australian translation is especially witty and has received great critical acclaim.

Performance Dates and Times:

Dec 3rd (Thur) 19:30pm

Dec 4th (Fri) 19:30pm

Dec 5th (Sat) 14:00pm

Dec 5th (Sat)19:30pm

Dec 6th (Sun) 14:00pm

Dec 6th (Sun)19:30pm

Tickets: Free of charge, bookings essential here.

Venue: Bayi Theatre (16 W3rd Ring Rd N, Haidian, Beijing)

Running Time: 110 minutes, with no intermission; and 15 minutes conversation with the director after the performance.

Surtitles: The play will be performed in English with Chinese surtitles.

Playwright: Carlo Goldoni (Italy)

Adaptation: Nick Enright and Ron Blair  (Australia)

Director: Kirsten von Bibra (Australia)

Translator: Li Shi (China)


PKU’s Institute of World Theater and Film

PKU’s Australian Studies Centre

PKU’s School of Foreign Languages

Foundation for Australian Studies in China (FASIC)

Australia China Council


Resident Director

Kirsten Von Bibra

Kirsten Von Bibra is a theatre director and teaching artist. She has been directing classical and contemporary material, training actors and conducting workshops for organisations such as the Melbourne Theatre Company for 30 years. As a Lecturer in Acting at the prestigious Victorian College of the Arts, she trained actors and directed text-based productions, including Chekhov’s Three Sisters, Hélène Cixous’s The Perjured City, and Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Kirsten has also taught English as a second language at Swinburne University to international students who are pursuing a pathway to academic studies in Australia. She recently returned to theatre practice and directed the highly acclaimed production of Grounded for Red Stitch Theatre, which will tour to Sydney in 2015. Currently, she is researching/adapting a Chekhov story with actors Alan Knoepfler and William Zappa.