Ahead of their show Lady Precious Stream premiering at the Flying Nun next week, the cast and crew of SLANTED THEATRE have taken the time to chat with us about putting together the production.

SLANTED aims to work with Asian casts and crew, create relevant and interesting work, eliminate tokenistic casting, improve representation and create conversations.

Joining us to chat about Lady Precious Stream from the cast & crew are: 

Tiffany Wong (Director)
Susanna Pang (Assistant Producer) 
Liangyu Sun (Dramaturg) 
Rachel Hui (Production/Costume Designer)
Tim Lim (Cast – Wang Yun & Old Man)
Mym Kwa (Cast – Silver Stream & Su)
Enoch Li (Cast – Hsieh Ping-Kuei)
Steve Lu (Cast – Golden Stream & Wei)
Susan L Young (Cast – Precious Stream)

What has been your favourite part of rehearsals and collaborating with this large team?

Tim – Realising that there are so many Asian Australian theatre makers out there that we haven‘t had the opportunity to see on stage and off stage.

Mym – Learning about Peking Opera and exploring the theatrical conventions and history of the artform.

What excites you about bringing an old play to new audiences, and what will surprise audiences that are already familiar with the play?

Enoch – I’m studying at drama school and we’re learning about Brecht, Chekhov, the classics. So it’s new and exciting to venture into non-Western theatre traditions, and bring those styles, history and culture to new audiences.

Tiffany – I’m excited by our experimentation, our blending of dramatic styles. We’re investigating the line between cultural appropriation and appreciation with this production.

Rachel – Mostly the nostalgic value. I grew up watching a lot of Cantonese opera with grandpa. It’s nice to be involved with a production that’s close to heart, familiar. A lot of other theatre productions tend to be Shakespeare and other Western classics, and I’m not familiar with a lot of them, so this is more comfortable.

Steve – Exploring Chinese history and traditions, and digesting something that is familiar to audiences plot wise, but so rich in how it’s communicated. It's a simple story that isn’t trying to make you think about some deeper message, but just to have fun. It’s very different to your Chekhovs, but not shallow – trying to make you laugh, but in a complicated way.

Susan – It is great to explore Asian theatre archetypes and different styles of movement. It’s a very different kind of physicality. I’m starting to appreciate more about Asian storytelling as well. I had no idea that any Chinese person had taken a Chinese story like this and made it into a play, in English in the 1930s, or that it was such a big hit. It shows that there has historically been success for Asian stories.

We’re not actually taught about that, but it’s something that we can be proud of. We’re not just aspiring to create something from the ground up – someone has already done it before us.

Susanna – The original production in London was put on by white actors playing Chinese roles. I think it’s interesting for us to recontextualise the work in contemporary Australia, with an all-Asian team.

Liangyu (Dramaturg) – It’s interesting how pioneers often don’t think of themselves as pioneers. Hsiung (the playwright) didn’t set out to specifically bring this traditional story to Western audiences, but it ended up being a hugely successful and groundbreaking work at that time. 

We’ve all been raised in different diasporas, so a lot of the traditional cultural elements in the play are important to each of us for different reasons

Adapting work is a difficult thing to approach, as well as choosing the right time to resurface an older work. What felt right about bringing this show to audiences in 2022?

Susan – The cultural landscape is changing, and more people are keen to see all kinds of faces in anything. We now have much more aware audiences who want to see all types of storytelling, diverse faces, they want to get a better feel of the broadness that’s out there, not just the same things getting rehashed.

Tiffany – There’s so much contemporary Asian Australian work coming out, so it got me thinking, are they following the ancestry/genealogy of Australian work, or Asian work? Simply because, I feel like a lot of 20th century Asian work has been lost in our Western theatrical canon. So is there a missing link between these older works, and the contemporary work that’s being performed on our stages?


You're on a train, someone sees a flyer for Lady Precious Stream and wants to come along, but this is their stop. You have 20 seconds to explain it. What do you say?

Lady Precious Stream is an unlikely phenomenon – a Chinese play based on a traditional

 story, written in English. Premiering in 1934, it went on to become hugely successful in the UK and on Broadway. Almost 100 years later, this production will flip tradition on its head, in a fusion of theatre of East and West.

What have been some of the challenges in getting this work ready for an audience?

Tiffany – The biggest challenge has been learning a new theatrical style, and realising not everyone has the same cultural vocabulary. We’ve all been raised in different diasporas, so a lot of the traditional cultural elements in the play are important to us for different reasons, ranging from discovering a new style, a gesture or a bit of history.

Tickets are still available to Lady Precious Stream, Friday 1 April and Saturday 2 April!
Book tickets here.

Rehearsal images by Liangyu Sun