Contemporary Asian Australian Performance

Lost in Shanghai

Written by Jane Hutcheon
Directed by William Yang
Artistic Director Annette Shun Wah

Lost in Shanghai is the moving story of journalist Jane Hutcheon's family - the story of her mother Beatrice’s turbulent childhood in pre-Communist Shanghai, set against the backdrop of fading colonial opulence and looming war.  Told by Jane Hutcheon with projected images from the her family archive and music composed and performed by Terumi Narushima. 


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 Eurasion family in extraordinary times, set against a backdrop of fading colonial opulence and looming war.

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


Contemporary Asian Australian Performance (CAAP) is the only professional arts company dedicated to bringing exceptional contemporary Asian Australian works and artists to main stages nationally and internationally. 

Since 2013 CAAP's work has been programmed by major festivals and regional and metropolitan venues across Australia. Its mission is to give a powerful voice to the contemporary Asian Australian experience through live performing arts of the highest quality that attracts, and resonates, with diverse audiences. CAAP’s hip-hop storytelling show In Between Two was a finalist for Tour of the Year in the 2019 Drovers Awards.  Its recent food-storytelling show Double Delicious has had sold out seasons at Sydney Festival and Asia TOPA in 2020, and OzAsia Festival 2021.


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


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

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