Throughout her adventurous journalism career, one story has intrigued Jane Hutcheon more than any other: the story of her mother Beatrice’s turbulent childhood in pre-Communist Shanghai. It’s the tale of an ordinary Eurasian family in extraordinary times, set against a backdrop of fading colonial opulence and looming war.
“The story that’s haunted me and that I keep coming back to is much closer to home.” - Jane Hutcheon
After visiting Shanghai in 2018, Jane began to search for the truth of her mother’s difficult beginnings. Lost in Shanghai is her family’s story of survival. Beatrice becomes a journalist at the South China Morning Post in the 1950’s, perhaps setting a precedent for her daughter. Using projected images from the family archive curated by renowned photographer William Yang and music composed and performed by Dr Terumi Narushima, Jane narrates the moving story of Lost in Shanghai in her own words. Co-Directed by William Yang and Tasnim Hossain, Lost in Shanghai adds to the rich collection of theatrical storytelling works from Contemporary Asian Australian Performance (CAAP), such as Double Delicious, The Backstories, In Between Two, Who Speaks for Me and Stories Then and Now.
Top image credit Hutcheon/Greaves family archive. Inset image credit Stephen Hutcheon
When I was a kid, my friends debated whether I was a banana or an egg (depending on whether you identify with being ‘yellow on the outside, white on the inside' or 'white on the outside, yellow on the inside’). My mixed-race mum Beatrice - born in Shanghai in the roaring 1920s - was called Eurasian. I’ve always wrestled with identity and belonging. Much of that was bound up with the events of my mum’s traumatic early life. I was too busy travelling the world as a journalist, telling other people’s stories, to unravel the story tucked away in my photo albums and family notes. A visit to Shanghai in 2018 changed everything. Lost in Shanghai is the story of how I found my Mum - and myself - in the process.
- Jane Hutcheon
Contemporary Asian Australian Performance (CAAP) is Australia’s only performing arts company with a remit for producing, developing and enabling Asian Australian works and artists to reach main stages nationally. Through highly valued productions and initiatives, CAAP is regarded as a crucial leader and catalyst in the ongoing shift to greater cultural diversity and inclusiveness in the arts. CAAP provides the scaffolding for Asian Australian artists to thrive in a more equitable and representative industry. In all that we do, we work to transform the Australian theatre landscape.
I’ve been doing monologues with image projection and music in the theatre for over 30 years and now I simply call it storytelling. I did my first production with Contemporary Asian Australian Performance (then Performance 4A) in 2010 with Stories East and West, (six storytellers). This storytelling format has been successful for us at CAAP and has been the backbone of many of our shows. My method needs images and fortunately most of Jane’s family’s life has been well documented.
- William Yang
I challenge anyone not to be moved by this beautiful and moving tribute. Theatre Travels
Touring in 2024
Writer/Performer Jane Hutcheon
Co-Director William Yang
Co-Director/Dramaturg Tasnim Hossain
Composer/Musician Terumi Narushima
Lighting Designer Susan Grey Gardner
If you are interested in touring get in contact!
Arts on Tour
02 8038 1880
Arts on Tour is based in Redfern NSW and we respectfully acknowledge the Gadigal people as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the unceded land on which we work.
As we tour artists and productions across these vast lands, we pay our respect to all First Nations Elders, past, present and future.
We celebrate their continuing connection and contribution to culture, country and community, and thank all First Nations peoples for their wisdom in caring for the land, the sky, the rivers and the sea.