A HAMPSTEAD THEATRE WORLD PREMIERE

THE KING OF HELL'S PALACE

By FRANCES YA-CHU COWHIG
Directed by MICHAEL BOYD

Running time: 2 HOURS 30 MINUTES INCLUDING AN INTERVAL

It doesn’t matter if the cat is white or black. As long as it catches mice, it is a very good cat

Main Stage

5 Sep - 12 Oct 2019

Box Office: 020 7722 9301

'A medical-scandal drama that we can't afford to ignore' | ★★★★ Telegraph
‘Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s ambitious new play… opens one's eyes... An epic story' | The Guardian
‘A gripping and sobering story’ | Financial Times
'Spellbinding' | Time Out
'Roxana Silbert begins her artistic directorship in an adventurous fashion' | The Stage
'A modern parable' | WhatsOnStage


Henan Province, 1992. China is laying the foundations for global wealth and power - business is booming. Yin-Yin, a young Ministry of Health official, finds herself recruited into a new and unusual trade that boasts infinite stock and infinite demand. But amidst the hype and the soaring profits, she rapidly uncovers an unimaginable secret that will test to the limit her loyalties to her profession, to her family and to her country… 

Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s blazing new thriller is based on the true story of a whistleblowing heroine and her extraordinary mission to expose a cover-up of epic proportions. Her previous plays include Lidless (Trafalgar Studios), The World of Extreme Happiness (National Theatre) and Snow in Midsummer (RSC).

Michael Boyd, former Artistic Director of the RSC, makes a highly anticipated return to Hampstead Theatre following the acclaimed 2016 hit, The Intelligent Homosexuals Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures by Tony Kushner.

The cast includes Aidan Cheng, Celeste Den, Tuyen Do, Christopher Goh, Togo Igawa, Vincent Lai, Kok-Hwa Lie and Millicent Wong.

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  • The Telegraph

    'Roxana Silbert inaugurates her reign as the artistic director of Hampstead Theatre with a hot potato. According to recent newspaper reports, the Chinese authorities don’t want The King of Hell’s Palace to go ahead. The reason? American-born Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig has dramatised the story of a doctor who tried to expose an emerging Chinese health crisis in the Nineties...'

    'In Michael Boyd’s busy production, presented against a range of brick walls with a moving walkway extending from the stage into the stalls, conveying a sense of irresistible forces at work... an East Asian cast of eight tackle 22 characters. We get introduced to two migrant worker brothers (Kuan and Wen), seeking new means of making money, flower-growing to the fore; then another set of siblings, health officials Wang Wei and Shen, who spy gold in the prospect of “harvesting” plasma, and build up a rapacious company, tapping the life-force and compromising the life chances of the willing poor for a few quick yuan.'

    '... foregrounding the battles and personal anguish of infectious disease specialist Yin-Yin (played... by the American actress Celeste Den) grips and appals in equal measure as rural dupes succumb to fatal illness and the suits close ranks. We can’t afford to be smug here – we’ve had our own terrible health scandals. But as global power continues to shift to Beijing, we ignore this parable at our peril.'

    The King of Hell’s Palace, Hampstead Theatre, review: a medical-scandal drama that we can't afford to ignore
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Artistic team

writer

FRANCES YA-CHU COWHIG

DIRECTOR

MICHAEL BOYD

Designer

TOM PIPER

LIGHTING

COLIN GRENFELL 

Sound and ComposER

NICOLA CHANG 

Assistant Director & Dramaturg

MINGYU LIN

voice and dialect coach

REBECCA CUTHBERTSON

MOVEMENT

LIZ RANKEN

FIGHT DIRECTOR

RACHEL BOWN-WILLIAMS & RUTH COOPER-BROWN OF RC-ANNIE LTD

casting

GINNY SCHILLER CDG 

Cast

WOMAN'S HOUR INTERVIEWS DR SHUPING WANG AND FRANCES YA-CHU COWHIG

Posted on 19 September 2019

On Thursday 9 May playwright Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig and Dr Shuping Wang, the real-life whistleblower who inspired 'spellbinding' (Time Out) new thriller The King of Hell's Palace, appeared on Woman's Hour (BBC Radio 4).

THE KING OF HELL'S PALACE: PRESS NIGHT PHOTOS

Posted on 13 September 2019

Thursday 12 September brought Press Night for Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig's epic new play The King of Hell's Palace and marked Roxana Silbert's first Main Stage Press Night as Artistic Director.

THE KING OF HELL'S PALACE: ★★★★ FROM THE TELEGRAPH

Posted on 13 September 2019

Dominic Cavendish awards Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig's new thriller four stars.

From Beijing to Hampstead: How tale of HIV Whistleblower is rattling the Chinese State

Posted on 8 September 2019

Chinese security officials have been accused of targeting a whistleblower’s family and friends in a campaign to force Hampstead Theatre to abandon a play based on her case.

MICHAEL BOYD: OUR FAVOURITE PRODUCTIONS SO FAR

Posted on 28 August 2019

With The King of Hell's Palace just around the corner, we took a look back at just some of Director Michael Boyd's epic career highlights to date.

Meet the whistleblowing heroine who inspired The King of Hell’s Palace: Dr Shuping Wang

Posted on 23 August 2019

Dr Shuping Wang, the real life whistleblower who inspired our next Main Stage production The King of Hell's Palace, talks to Hampstead in this extraordinary Q&A about her motivations for speaking out and her emotions ahead of seeing the play for the first time.

FULL CAST ANNOUNCED FOR THE KING OF HELL'S PALACE

Posted on 31 July 2019

The cast for Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig's blazing thriller includes Aidan Cheng, Celeste Den, Tuyen Do, Christopher Goh, Togo Igawa, Vincent Lai, Kok-Hwa Lie and Millicent Wong.

NEW SEASON ANNOUNCEMENT

Posted on 23 July 2019

Ahead of its 60th Birthday, Hampstead Theatre announces Roxana Silbert’s inaugural season as Artistic Director

2019 New Season Offer

Posted on 23 July 2019

For a limited time only, you can see all four new Main Stage productions in Roxana Silbert's debut season for the price of three - yes, see one show entirely for free!

Roxana Silbert's Debut Season: Statement

Posted on 23 July 2019

‘I am excited to introduce my debut season as Artistic Director of Hampstead Theatre.

Previews, Mondays and matinees 
Full price: £30/£27/£18
Under 30s/Students: £15/£10
Seniors* (matinees only): £25/£20
Groups: For every 9 tickets get the 10th free
Access: £16

*Ages 60+

Tuesday – Saturday evenings 
Full price: £37/£32/£25
Under 30s/Students: £15/£10
Groups: For every 9 tickets get the 10th free
Access: £16

All prices are subject to change. Book early for the best price.

Video and Image Gallery

TOGO IGAWA, CELESTE DEN, MILLICENT WONG, AIDAN CHENG, TUYEN DO & VINCENT LAI TOGO IGAWA, CELESTE DEN, MILLICENT WONG, AIDAN CHENG, TUYEN DO & VINCENT LAI
KOK-HWA LIE, VINCENT LAI, MILLICENT WONG, CHRISTOPHER GOH & AIDAN CHENG KOK-HWA LIE, VINCENT LAI, MILLICENT WONG, CHRISTOPHER GOH & AIDAN CHENG
AIDAN CHENG & MILLICENT WONG AIDAN CHENG & MILLICENT WONG
TOGO IGAWA TOGO IGAWA
MILLICENT WONG, TUYEN DO, CELESTE DEN, AIDAN CHENG, VINCENT LAI & TOGO IGAWA MILLICENT WONG, TUYEN DO, CELESTE DEN, AIDAN CHENG, VINCENT LAI & TOGO IGAWA
MILLICENT WONG & KOK-HWA LIE MILLICENT WONG & KOK-HWA LIE
CHRISTOPHER GOH & CELESTE DEN CHRISTOPHER GOH & CELESTE DEN
CELESTE DEN, TUYEN DO, TOGO IGAWA, AIDAN CHENG & VINCENT LAI CELESTE DEN, TUYEN DO, TOGO IGAWA, AIDAN CHENG & VINCENT LAI
CELESTE DEN & CHRISTOPHER GOH CELESTE DEN & CHRISTOPHER GOH
AIDAN CHENG, VINCENT LAI, TUYEN DO, MILLICENT WONG & TOGO IGAWA AIDAN CHENG, VINCENT LAI, TUYEN DO, MILLICENT WONG & TOGO IGAWA
VINCENT LAI & TUYEN DO VINCENT LAI & TUYEN DO
KOK-HWA LIE & MILLICENT WONG KOK-HWA LIE & MILLICENT WONG
CELESTE DEN CELESTE DEN
TUYEN DO, VINCENT LAI, CHRISTOPHER GOH, AIDAN CHENG, MILLICENT WONG, TOGO IGAWA, CELESTE DEN & KOK-HWA LIE TUYEN DO, VINCENT LAI, CHRISTOPHER GOH, AIDAN CHENG, MILLICENT WONG, TOGO IGAWA, CELESTE DEN & KOK-HWA LIE
FRANCES YA-CHU COWHIG (WRITER) & MICHAEL BOYD (DIRECTOR) FRANCES YA-CHU COWHIG (WRITER) & MICHAEL BOYD (DIRECTOR)
MILLICENT WONG, CHRISTOPHER GOH, CELESTE DEN & TOGO IGAWA MILLICENT WONG, CHRISTOPHER GOH, CELESTE DEN & TOGO IGAWA
AIDAN CHENG, TUYEN DO, CELESTE DEN, MILLICENT WONG, VINCENT LAI, TOGO IGAWA & CHRISTOPHER GOH AIDAN CHENG, TUYEN DO, CELESTE DEN, MILLICENT WONG, VINCENT LAI, TOGO IGAWA & CHRISTOPHER GOH
CELESTE DEN & TOGO IGAWA CELESTE DEN & TOGO IGAWA
KOK-HWA LIE, TUYEN DO, VINCENT LAI, AIDAN CHENG, TOGO IGAWA & CELESTE DEN KOK-HWA LIE, TUYEN DO, VINCENT LAI, AIDAN CHENG, TOGO IGAWA & CELESTE DEN
TOGO IGAWA & VINCENT LAI TOGO IGAWA & VINCENT LAI
CHRISTOPHER GOH CHRISTOPHER GOH
TOGO IGAWA, CHRISTOPHER GOH & CELESTE DEN TOGO IGAWA, CHRISTOPHER GOH & CELESTE DEN
KOK-HWA LIE, MICHAEL BOYD (DIRECTOR) & MILLICENT WONG KOK-HWA LIE, MICHAEL BOYD (DIRECTOR) & MILLICENT WONG
TOGO IGAWA TOGO IGAWA
FRANCES YA-CHU COWHIG (WRITER) FRANCES YA-CHU COWHIG (WRITER)
AIDAN CHENG AIDAN CHENG
TUYEN DO & VINCENT LAI TUYEN DO & VINCENT LAI
MILLICENT WONG, CELESTE DEN, TUYEN DO, VINCENT LAI, AIDAN CHENG & TOGO IGAWA MILLICENT WONG, CELESTE DEN, TUYEN DO, VINCENT LAI, AIDAN CHENG & TOGO IGAWA
TUYEN DO TUYEN DO
KOK-HWA LIE, TUYEN DO, VINCENT LAI, AIDAN CHENG, TOGO IGAWA, CHRISTOPHER GOH & CELESTE DEN KOK-HWA LIE, TUYEN DO, VINCENT LAI, AIDAN CHENG, TOGO IGAWA, CHRISTOPHER GOH & CELESTE DEN
TUYEN DO, MILLICENT WONG, AIDAN CHENG, VINCENT LAI & TOGO IGAWA TUYEN DO, MILLICENT WONG, AIDAN CHENG, VINCENT LAI & TOGO IGAWA
KOK-HWA LIE, MILLICENT WONG & AIDAN CHENG KOK-HWA LIE, MILLICENT WONG & AIDAN CHENG
MILLICENT WONG, KOK-HWA LIE & CHRISTOPHER GOH MILLICENT WONG, KOK-HWA LIE & CHRISTOPHER GOH
CELESTE DEN & CHRISTOPHER GOH CELESTE DEN & CHRISTOPHER GOH
AIDAN CHENG, TUYEN DO, KOK-HWA LIE & TOGO IGAWA AIDAN CHENG, TUYEN DO, KOK-HWA LIE & TOGO IGAWA