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Chinese Theatre Works
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Circuit Productions Inc. (CPI) is supported, in part, with public funds from New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.






Chinese Theatre Works

Chinese Theatre Works (CTW) was created in 2001 out of the merger of two non-profit institutions with long histories of bringing traditional and contemporary innovative Chinese performing arts to local New York City, national and international audiences. These two companies, The Gold Mountain Institute for Traditional Shadow Theatre (founded 1975) and Chinese Theatre Workshop (founded 1990), were dedicated to the mission of preserving and promoting traditional Chinese performing arts, and creating new works that bridge Eastern and Western theatrical aesthetics and forms. Chinese Theatre Works carries forth their mission and presents programming drawn from their combined repertoire.


The Gold Mountain Institute was founded in 1975 by Jo Humphrey to perform traditional Chinese shadow theater for U.S. audiences. Inspired by the work of Pauline Benton and her Red Gate Players, who in the 1930s were the first to bring this artistic tradition to the U.S., Ms Humphrey created duplicates of shadow figures in the collection of the American Museum of Natural History, and developed a repertoire of adaptations of Chinese literary classics and folk tales. That project, the Yueh Lung Shadow Theatre, soon grew into a larger performance and educational company under the Gold Mountain Institute name, introducing audiences of all ages to traditional Chinese shadow puppetry.

Kuang-Yu Fong founded Chinese Theatre Workshop in 1990 to continue her work bringing together Chinese and Western performance styles and techniques, as well as to support the traditional Chinese performing arts in the U.S. and beyond. The company provided educational programming and informative lecture/performances in English, and also produced both traditional original shows on Chinese cultural themes for general audiences. Its original productions mixed Chinese Opera and shadow puppetry with modern dance, Downtown performance art, European folk tales, toy theater, and object theater, drawing on Chinese folk tales and literary classics as well as aspects of the contemporary Chinese experience from slowly changing gender roles to immigration to the U.S.
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The two companies began to come together in 1998, when Ms Fong, who had previously been a performer and teaching artist with Gold Mountain Institute, became Executive Director of the company. Three years later, the companies merged to create Chinese Theatre Works. The present company carries on both its predecessors’ missions, as well as their commitments to education as a key part of our work. Chinese Theatre Works’ programs cut across ethnic and cultural boundaries, and aim at sparking interest in Chinese cultural traditions among the wider public as well as reinforcing it in Chinese Americans who have not had access to this part of their heritage.

Chinese Theatre Works puppetryChinese Theatre Works has won the highest honor in U.S. puppetry, a Citation of Excellence from UNIMA-USA, for Toy Theater Peony Pavilion. The company has also been featured at many festivals and conferences across the world – most recently the Puppeteers of America’s 2003 National Biennial Festival; the Puppet Power 2003 conference in Calgary, Canada; the American Association of Theater Educators 2003 Conference in New York City; and the first annual DALA Festival in Seoul, Korea (2003). In the coming year, we will appear at the Taipei Children’s Theater Association’s 2004 festival in Taiwan, the second DALA Festival, and the Puppeteers of America’s Northeast Regional Festival.
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About the Artists


Chinese Theatre Works' performing company is made up of classically trained Chinese opera artists and skilled puppeteers, reflecting our commitment to maintaining the highest artistic standards in all of our performances. Similarly, our Arts in Education program is staffed by teaching artists who together have nearly a century of classroom experience with students of all ages.

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