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Catalyst Exhibition at the Playhouse for The Merchant of Venice

Catalyst is a project we've been working on with Liverpool Confucius Institute and True Bridge. Funded by Arts Council England, Catalyst promotes Chinese culture through cross-cultural events including a regular Chinese Arts Forum, theatre visits, pre-show introductory sessions and volunteer activities.

The below images are part of an exhibition to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, a date shared with China’s famous playwright Tang Xianzu from the Ming Dynasty. Depicting characters from The Merchant of Venice, their gestures reflect the emotion in each line in traditional Beijing Opera style.

The coloured faces identify character traits:

White faces with pink eyes portray female characters and lovers; Portia and Bassanio.
White faces with pink eyes portray female characters and lovers; Portia and Bassanio.

Red denotes courage, uprightness and loyalty shared by The Duke of Venice.
Red denotes courage, uprightness and loyalty shared by The Duke of Venice.

White suggests cunningness, craftiness and treachery which depicts Shylock’s character.
White suggests cunningness, craftiness and treachery which depicts Shylock’s character.

Blue is more neutral with elements of stubbornness and reflects Antonio’s melancholy.
Blue is more neutral with elements of stubbornness and reflects Antonio’s melancholy.

Models: Jing Zhou, Shuang Yang, Siyu Chen, Wang Dan, Yao Mei, Yifan Chen
Movement Director: Mrs Mei Xia Li, Pagoda Arts
Photography: Gieesio and Jingwen Zhang (with support from Jon Dawe at Periscope Productions CIC)
Artwork: Jon Dawe at Periscope Productions CIC
Face painters: Gill Smith and Holly Rice