One of the preeminent voices in the contemporary Chinese theatre, Stan Lai has been called “the best Chinese language playwright and director in the world,” (BBC) “Asia’s top theatre director,” (Asiaweek), and “Asia’s flagship playwright.” (China Daily)
Lai’s work helped revolutionize modern theatre in Taiwan in the 80s, and later, through performances throughout China, has influenced a generation of theatre artists as well as helped create a viable audience base for contemporary theatre in China. His 35 original plays to date include many iconic works of the Chinese language theatre. The New York Times calls his Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land (1986) “the most popular contemporary play in China.” The Beijing News calls his The Village (2008) “the pinnacle of our era of theatre.” China Daily calls his epic 8 hour A Dream Like A Dream (2000) “possibly the greatest Chinese-language play since time immemorial… the most elaborate theater work in Chinese history.”
Lai’s feature films received awards at the Tokyo, Berlin and Singapore festivals. His creation and direction of the 2009 Deaflympics Opening Ceremony in Taipei was acclaimed as “unforgettable.” (China Post) His book On Creativity (in Chinese only) has become a classic in creative studies. Lai holds a Ph.D. in Dramatic Art from the University of California, Berkeley, and has taught extensively at the Taipei National University of the Arts, and at Berkeley and Stanford. In 2013 Lai co-founded the Wuzhen Theatre Festival, which has become China’s top festival. In 2015 he opened Theatre Above in Shanghai, dedicated to the performance of his works. In the western world, he has directed his Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and Dream of the Red Chamber at the San Francisco Opera.