Ancient love and corruption

The Autumn of Han
The Autumn of Han

A new adaptation of a traditional Chinese play for the European stage is coming to north Northumberland later this month.

Red Dragonfly Productions’ The Autumn of Han revives one of the most beautiful and tragic love stories ever told and is being performed at Whittingham Memorial Institute on Saturday, February 28 at 7.30pm.

MaoYanShou, a corrupt minister, is given the task of selecting new concubines for the Emperor’s harem.

When one of them, a beautiful woman called ZhaoJun, refuses to supply him with his usual bribe, he hides her away in a forgotten wing of the palace.

ZhaoJun, however, is a resourceful woman and with the help of Little Yellow Gate, a eunuch, she engineers a chance meeting with the Emperor.

When the Emperor sets eyes on her, he immediately falls in love and this sets off a chain of events that sees all their lives changed forever.

Forming part of Highlights Touring Scheme’s Spring Season, The Autumn of Han is a historical drama, adapted by playwright Ross Ericson and performed in English by a talented ensemble using sumptuous costumes and traditional music.

Ross said that in his version he tried to retain the authenticity and spirit of the story, while making it more familiar and understandable to a European audience.

Geoff Hoskin, promoter at Whittingham Memorial Institute, said: “We are very much looking forward to hosting this beautiful play – the only performance in Northumberland.

“The costumes are gorgeous. It is an opportunity to glimpse another culture in another time. Another great night out on your doorstep.”

Tickets are £8/£7 conc, £4 child, £18 family and available on 01665 574 964 or