The Handan Dream

Combining bold design with drama, stagecraft and symbolism, this contemporary telling of a classic Chinese play is the story of a man who dreams an entire life only to wake up in the inn where he started.
The Handan Dream at Hackney Empire

Image: Performance Infinity


Genre: Drama
Venue: Hackney Empire
Started: Thursday 25 January 2018
Closed: Saturday 27 January 2018
Running time:1 hr 50 mins
Age suitability: 6+


In ancient China, the highest of ambitions was to pass the imperial examinations and become a civil servant.

Dejected protagonist Lu has tried and failed the exams three times.

On his way home Lu stops at an inn, but while waiting to be served his food he falls into a deep sleep in which he dreams of an entire well-spent life.

Lu studies for exams, earns a degree, falls in love, gets married and has children, is condemned to death, is cleared of all charges, and slowly grows old.

Just as his food is about to be served, the young man wakes and realises it was nothing but a dream.


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Postal address:
291 Mare Street
London E8 1EJ

Box office tel: 020 8985 2424

Box office email: Send Mail

Location map for Hackney Empire


Previews from:Thursday 25 January 2018

Press night:Thursday 25 January 2018

Closes:Saturday 27 January 2018

Performance days & times


Thursday ‑ 7‑30pm

Friday ‑ 7‑30pm

Saturday ‑ 7‑30pm





£10 to £35


Lu - Li He

Taoist Priest - Guan Dongtian (Invited)               

Prime Minister - Chen Zhirong

Eunuch - Zhu Min

Waiter/Old Maidservant - Sun Bo

Cui - Zeng Junhui

Donkey/Officer/Illegitimate Son - Wang Fang

Dog/Foreman/Eldest Son - Hu Wei

Rooster/Youngest Son - Wang Ping       

Fire/County Official - Chen Huanhuan

Fire/Xiao - Ma Junwen

Fire/Pei - Wan Jing


Author: Tang Zianzu, adapted by Yu Qingfeng, Qu Zhaojie
Composer: Dong Weijie
Director: Wang Xiaodi 
Set designer: Ji Qiao
Costume designer: Li Raying
Lighting: Xing Xin
Movement: Yao Xiaoming

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