Newsletter June 2018
Dates for your Diary!
The Play’s the Thing
The next ESU/Fringe Play-Reading will be held on Tuesday, 19th June 2018. Time: 7.30-9.30pm at “Colette’s”, 2/F, The HK Fringe Club, 2 Lower Albert Road, Central, HK. The play this time : Mightier than the Sword : Shakespeare and Zhu Sheng Hao - hot off the press ! a new musical play by our own James Middleton. All welcome, whether as listeners or volunteer readers, but please note the play has an adult theme.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR OUR ENGLISH-IN-ACTION PROGRAMME
Volunteers are still needed urgently for our “English-in-Action” Programme. YES! You will surely want to improve your Putonghua (your Cantonese is already very good), but you may feel that you would also like to brush up your English. In this programme, small groups of three or four participants meet with ESU volunteers for four one-hour sessions at venues to be agreed between the volunteer leader and you, or at coffee shops. These sessions provide opportunities for practicing conversational English in a relaxed atmosphere with one of our volunteers.
A group is now meeting on Wednesdays, 7-8pm in Kowloon Tong.
Please contact ESU Office at 6903-2639 if you believe that you can help as discussion leader in future groups.
(Fee for ESU Members: HK$350 for four one-hour sessions.
An additional HK$150 for non-members as registration fee for this programme for one year.)
INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC SPEAKING COMPETITION
A new British General Election will be held in June 2017 and much of the British media expects the Conservative Party to win with a very sizeable majority. Perhaps of more immediate interest to Hong Kong are the experiences of two Public Speaking candidates in London. Ms. Jane Easton (the Director-General of the English-Speaking Union of the Commonwealth) wrote in an introduction to the Competition for newcomers: “It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the English-Speaking Union's International Public Speaking Competition (IPSC) in 2017. Now the largest public speaking competition in the world, the IPSC involves 40,000 students in over 50 countries. Not only does the Competition provide students with an opportunity to develop the vital skills that will enable them to speak with confidence in public, but through the International Final in London, students from around the world have the opportunity to meet, engage with and form friendships and understanding that will last a lifetime.”
READING PROGRAMME ACCEPTED BY “SCOLAR”
It is gratifying to report that the ESU has been asked by the Government (SCOLAR) to submit an "English in Action" programme for secondary and primary schools in the 2017/18 and 2018/2019 school years. The programme will be offered to both primary and secondary school students. In Primary schools, the ESU team will focus on the age group, 6 to 9 years and will suggest that, with close home-school cooperation, progress can be made in improving children’s reading literacy in English. At the secondary level, the programme will focus on the three compulsory strands, Interpersonal, Knowledge and Experience, and students will be helped to master Listening, Speaking and Writing skills in, for example, “Learning English through Drama”.
If you would like to brush up your English, this is a very good way to do it. Four participants meet with an ESU volunteer for four one-hour sessions at a venue to be agreed between the volunteer leader and you, or at a suitable coffee shop, away from the barriers. The charge is: ESU Members: HK$350 for four one-hour sessions.
An additional HK$150 for non-members as registration fee for this programme will be payable for one year. We are in need of a discussion leader for Tuesdays, 7-8pm. Please contact Venni at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are able to help.
MEET AT THE ESU
Mr Adam Forrester, Lecturer at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, will speak from 6.45pm-8pm on the topic, “Creating an Educational Video in 8 Steps.” Members are cordially invited to attend and arm themselves with questions about this fascinating topic.
Venue: Unit 707, AXA Centre, 151 Gloucester Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong.
Ms. Caithin Feenstra will be the speaker on Monday, 8 June. Her topic will be announced.
THE PLAY'S THE THING
The Play this time:
Mightier than the Sword : Shakespeare and Zhu Sheng Hao - hot off the press ! a new musical play by our own James Middleton.
This month’s play-reading is unusual inasmuch as we won’t be reading the work of a famous playwright- although the play is about both a world-famous playwright and a Chinese translator whose work deserves to be better known. Zhu Shenghao (朱生豪) (February 2, 1912 – December 26, 1944) is the translator translator in question and James Middleton is the Play-reading group’s very own dramatic author! Born in Zhejiang, China, Zhu was among the first few in China who translated the works of William Shakespeare into the Chinese language; many people think his translations were also the best. He translated a total of 31 of Shakespeare’s plays, 27 of which were published before the founding of the People's Republic of China. Due to the social turbulence that occurred between the 1950s- 1970s, it was not until the late ‘70s that Zhu's complete Shakespeare texts in Chinese were finally published in Beijing. Today his translations are highly respected by domestic and overseas scholars. His organisation of the texts followed the rationale of genre classification, i.e. comedy, tragedy, historical, miscellaneous.
James’s musical play version focuses on his life during the Japanese occupation and his relationship with Song whom he later married - with Shakespeare’s help, according to James’s play! Forced out of Shanghai - and out of his employment as a journalist - by the Japanese army, Zhu makes it his mission to produce the first Chinese translation of Shakespeare's plays. His work is impeded by having to evade the Japanese, who destroy his manuscripts, and by his deteriorating health. Yet, working at furious pace, supported by a few loyal friends, and inspired by an entirely unexpected companion, he comes tantalisingly close to completing the task, along the way marrying (at last) the love of his life, Song Qingru, two years prior to his untimely death from tuberculosis at the young age of 32 - although the play ends on a happier note. New Zealand composer James Middleton has worked at a slightly less frenetic pace, writing the script, songs and lyrics of the musical in a little over two years. The script is still a work in progress, as translations of Zhu Sheng Hao's poetry and his wartime articles will continue to prompt re-editing.
All are welcome.
Facilitator and Introducer: James Middleton
Come an enjoy the play as a reading. All welcome. There is no need to read if you don't wish to. If you prefer, you are welcome just to listen. However, all who wish to read will have the opportunity to do so.