INFORMATION

HUA HUA ZHANG, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

     Hua Hua Zhang graduated from the Beijing Performing Arts Academy where she was trained as a performer in the ancient art of Chinese puppetry. From 1974 to 1995 she toured nationally and internationally with the China Puppet Arts Troupe of Beijing. She received many awards for excellence in performance and direction.

     In the mid-90's Ms. Zhang worked on a U.S./China joint venture television production, The Adventures of Hua Hua and Morley. Then, in 1996 she joined the international association of Puppet Artists (UNIMA - Union Internationale de la Marionnette) in Budapest, Hungary. Through her research and contacts, she has helped China to become a member of this international organization.

Hua Hua
     In that same year, Hua Hua enrolled as a student in the University of Connecticut's School of Fine Arts, the Department of Dramatic Arts, to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree in Puppetry, the highest degree attainable in a production-related field. She studied fine art design, sculpture, puppet construction, direction, production, and many forms of western performance. Hua Hua Zhang is the first and only Chinese to have earned an MFA degree in Puppet Arts from this program. She also received the distinguished University of Connecticut Fine Arts Award for Excellence.
     Hua Hua Zhang has appeared in several New York Theaters, as well as two appearances in the Jim Henson International Festival of Puppet Arts in New York City. Ms. Zhang designed, constructed and performed puppets for a national U.S. television program, Between the Lions. She has also collaborated with Masque Theatre and the Ming Ri Theatre of Hong Kong in Playing With Klee, a U.S./China joint venture production. In early 2000, Hua Hua Zhang joined with Tan Dun in his multimedia opera, The Gate. (Click here) Using her abilities in design, sculpture, construction and performance she created the puppet representing the Japanese character of Koharo. Combining eastern and western ideas, and many of her own, Ms. Zhang has discovered the essence of the character, bringing a rich, new interpretation to Tan Dun's production. She has performed to worldwide audiences including those in China, the U.S.A., Canada, Belgium, France, England, Germany, Holland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, Brazil and Singapore. Recently, The Gate was recorded on CD and DVD with the Flemish Radio Orchestra in Belgium.

     Hua Hua formed her own nonprofit company -- Hua Hua's Visual Expressions -- to continue to develop her visions of the performing arts and to develop an art education program to share Chinese culture and puppet art with American audiences and students. Since 2000, the company has mounted four productions which have toured throughout the United States: The Bell, a site mounted production using local artists, which premiered at The University of Connecticut; East Meets West, a family-oriented production which has been performed in numerous venues including The Smithsonian Discovery Theater in Washington, D.C., The Boston Children's Museum in Boston, Massachusetts and many schools and local theatres; and Butterfly Dreams, a mature audience production which premiered at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival and has been performed at La Mama E.T.C. in New York and, in 2003, the show was presented at The Worldwide Festival of Puppet Theatre in Charleville-Mezieres, France.
     Hua Hua's new show, Reflections, premiered at The Sayre Theatre, Sayre, PA, on March 11, 2005. The show was developed in collaboration with the director of the University of Connecticut Puppet Art program, Bart Roccoberton, and students from the UCONN Puppet Art Program. The show received excellent reviews and won a grant in 2006 from the Jim Henson Foundation. Besides working in the theater, Ms. Zhang has been teaching puppet art at elementary, middle, secondary and university levels with the intention of using her unique skills, abilities and visions to enrich the possibilities of theatrical expression.
     Hua Hua's Visual Expressions also received a Jim Henson Foundation award for creating puppet theater in 2002 and a Fellowship Grant from Pennsylvania Council of the Arts in 2003. She has also been continually supported by grants from Terry and Anita Duvall and other contributors.


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