Programme Details

[Cancelled] Contemporary Legend Theatre
Julius Caesar


In view of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the resultant closures of venues across the city, and concerns for the health and safety of participating artists and audiences, the Hong Kong Arts Festival (HKAF) has made the difficult decision to cancel the February and March performances of the 48th HKAF. All Young Friends (YFS) programmes and outreach activities within the above period, including in-school pre-performance workshops, will also be cancelled. Arrangements for YFS membership will be announced soon by email. For general enquiries, please email to

Peking opera pioneer Wu Hsing-kuo and his Contemporary Legend Theatre join forces with Zhang Jun, “the prince of kunqu”, for a daring adaptation of history’s ultimate betrayal. Witness the world premiere of the murder that rocked a republic on the coming Ides of March!




Two Chinese opera stars in a powerful play of duty, loyalty and bloodshed

Peking opera pioneer Wu Hsing-kuo and his Contemporary Legend Theatre join forces with Zhang Jun, “the prince of kunqu”, for a daring adaptation of Shakespeare’s dark historical saga. Wu and Zhang are Julius Caesar and Brutus, reimagined in a fusion of Chinese opera and contemporary theatre styles.

Wu is no stranger to Shakespeare and legends of epic scale. His company is devoted to integrating traditional Chinese opera with modern theatre in its adaptations of classic tales from around the world. His powerful rock opera trilogy The Water Margins, which blended Peking opera with pop music, attracted opera traditionalists and younger audiences alike. His past five Shakespearean adaptations have attracted international attention; The Tempest was directed by Hong Kong filmmaker Tsui Hark and a solo performance of King Lear led The Guardian to call him “the Taiwanese answer to Orson Welles”.

Zhang, too, pushes his 600-year-old art form in new directions, aiming to popularize the kunqu genre for audiences of a new generation—a pursuit that led to his designation as a UNESCO Artist for Peace in 2011. Among his outstanding artistic achievements have been the lead role in Tan Dun’s opera Marco Polo (2008) and the recent solo performance I, Hamlet, a dialogue between Shakespeare and the greatest Ming poets.

Wu and Zhang may both be old hands at Shakespeare, but Julius Caesar is the first collaboration of these two eminent artists from Taipei and Shanghai. This thrilling hybrid of opera, modern theatre and multi-media storytelling is their firm declaration that Chinese opera and Shakespearean drama are two compatible art forms that remain as relevant as ever.

The 14 Mar performance is sponsored by Taiwan Sotheby's International Realty

Approx 1 hr 40 mins with no interval
Performed in Putonghua with Chinese and English surtitles



Performed by
Zhang Jun
Wu Hsing-kuo

William Shakespeare

Adapted and Directed by
Wu Hsing-kuo

Lei Bi-qi

Xu Shuya

Lin Hsiu-wei

Costumes Designer
Chris Lai

With live music


Official Website of Contemporary Legend Theatre



    13 & 14 / 3 / 2020  20:00 &

    15 / 3 / 2020  15:00



    Lyric Theatre, The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts



    Pre-show in-school workshop (conducted in Cantonese) is available for this programme. 
    (Applicable to School Members)