The Sun is Not for Us (TSINFU);《太阳不是我们的》

The Sun is Not for Us (Taiyang bushi women de)

Genre: drama (in English)

Produced by stage@leedstouring, University of Leeds, Britain

Director: David Jiang (Jiang Weiguo)

Introduction to one of the main works in the Pilot

In 2011 Li Ruru at University of Leeds organised a set of events to celebrate the centenary of the canonical Chinese playwright, Cao Yu, her stepfather. One event was the presentation of a devised play, The Sun is Not for Us, based on the female characters from four of Cao Yu's plays. This production was directed by professional director and honorary research fellow in the School of Performance and Cultural Industries, David Jiang. The students (from different programmes including Chinese Studies, Theatre and Performance, and English and Drama) undertook the project as a co-curricular activity, and it was their first encounter with Chinese drama, and for those non-Chinese students, it was their first opportunity to learn about Chinese culture.

The production was well received. Later in 2011, Li Ruru (producer), Director David Jiang and Artistic Director of stage@leeds Theatre Steve Ansell (who helped the technical side of the production) decided to make a new version with a different cast (most of the 2011 version cast members had graduated).

The 2012 version by stage@leedstouring performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and was invited by the Shanghai International Contemporary Theatre Festival to be one of its opening shows. It played for three nights, 6-8 November, to full houses (200 each). On the third night the Vice Chancellor of the University of Leeds and other senior staff attended. Part of the production and the Vice Chancellor's speech were reported by Shanghai television, on the internet, and in newspapers.

A seminar on renditions of Cao Yu's plays, involving scholars, educators, theatre practitioners and critics, took place in Shanghai on 9 November 2012. This was jointly organized by the Shanghai Theatre Academy, the National Association of Dramatists Shanghai Branch and stage@leedstouring, University of Leeds.

The play went on to perform in Qianjiang (Cao Yu’s ancestral town) and in Chengdu. Both venues were located in University colleges and the play was enthusiastically received by packed sitting and standing audiences. In Qianjiang attendance was approximately 1,000 and in Chengdu, 1,400. At each institution lectures were given and drama workshops held.

The performances in each city were followed by discussion, with the whole company returning to the stage for an interaction with the audience. Questions ranged from queries about the rationale for the interpretation of specific characters to the suitability of the play for foreign/Chinese audiences and whether an audience needed prior knowledge of Chinese culture and/or of the original plays.

The performances were accompanied by an exhibition of twenty pop-up banners about the playwright Cao Yu. At the end of the China tour, these banners were presented to the Cao Yu museum in Qianjiang city for their loan and exhibition collection.

Performances in Shanghai and Chengdu were included in the UK Now project organised by the British Council.


The Sun Is Not for Us is a newly devised work exploring love, hatred, adultery, incest, hope, frustration and struggle from a Chinese women’s perspective. What happens when a Chinese woman, after imprisoned in an eighteen-year arranged marriage, falls in love with her stepson? Why does a girl leave university to become a courtesan? How can a woman reconcile primitive passions, sexual deprivation and a defiant courage for life? After losing love and dignity is death the only escape? The production’s poignant splendour, poetic style and its profound sentiments help audiences see Chinese women’s long and painful journey in the early 20th century - denied the sun and bereft of hope.







这部作品第一版演出以后反响很好。2011年下半年,李如茹(制作人)、导演蒋维国和利兹舞台艺术总监Steve Ansell(后来在演出中为舞台部门工作) 决定采用不同的演员另外制作一部全新的作品(2011版的大部分同学都毕业了)。










Title Genre Production Company
The Sun is Not for Us (TSINFU) China 2012; 太阳不是我们的 - 中国 2012 Drama;戏剧 stage@leedstouring;利兹舞台巡演团
The Sun is Not for Us (TSINFU) Edinburgh 2012; 太阳不是我们的 - 爱丁堡 2012 Drama;戏剧 stage@leedstouring;利兹舞台巡演团
The Sun is Not for Us (TSINFU) Leeds 2011; 太阳不是我们的 - 利兹 2011 Drama;戏剧 stage@leedstouring;利兹舞台巡演团