The Merchant of Venice receives warm welcome in China

By Zhang Chunyan (

Updated: 2016-10-09

<EM>The Merchant of Venice</EM> receives warm welcome in China

The Shakespeare's Globe Theatre brings The Merchant of Venice to China in September, 2016. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The Merchant of Venice, one of the glitziest works of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London, won audiences' hearts during its tour in China.

First staged at Guangzhou Opera House on September 1-4, it then travelled to the National Center for Performing Arts in Beijing, Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre and finally to Poly Theatre in Nanjing during the month-long tour in September.

"We are taking The Merchant of Venice around the world...We had a great experience touring China before, and really wanted the Chinese audience to see [the] work from The Globe," Tom Bird, executive producer of the Globe, told China Daily.

The Merchant of Venice is a play written by William Shakespeare in which a merchant in 16th century Venice must default on a large loan provided by an abusive Jewish moneylender. It is believed to have been written between 1596 and 1599.

Though classified as a comedy in the First Folio, a collection of William Shakespeare's plays published in 1623, and sharing certain aspects with his other romantic comedies, the play is most remembered for its dramatic scenes, and is best known for Shylock and the famous "Hath not a Jew eyes?" speech. Also notable is Portia's speech about "the quality of mercy".

"Obviously it is fantastic having Jonathan Pryce with us to play Shylock, and also great to have his daughter Phoebe Pryce pay his on-stage daughter Jessica," Bird said.

"We also have a very strong ensemble company to help create one of the richest and most complex plays ever written," he added.

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