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Hongyi Hitting the Big-Time!

Playwright Hongyi Tian ('13) is finding his way at Columbia University.
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Denison alumnus Hongyi Tian (2013), who is currently finishing up his second year in the prestigious Playwriting Master of Fine Arts program at Columbia University, has recently secured a position which will put both his theatre experience and his fluency in English and Chinese to good use.

A leading Chinese publishing firm, Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, has engaged Hongyi to translate an American theatre text book into Chinese. The text, The Creative Spirit: An Introduction to Theatre by Stephanie Arnold, is published in this country by McGraw-Hill and is widely used by college and university Theatre Departments.

“They've given me six months to translate the whole book from English into Chinese,” Hongyi reports. “I'm confident that I'll complete the project on time, but it'll surely be a challenge because the book is 550 pages!” Hongyi’s experiences at both Denison (where he began his theatre and playwriting career) and Columbia make him ideally suited to the task.

This past month, as part of his master’s program in Playwriting, Hongyi saw production of his original script “Wutopia,” which had four performances at Columbia's Schapiro Theatre. The play’s cast, as well as the costume designer, composer, and graphics designer, were all New York City professionals, and the scenic and lighting designers were from the respected Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Hongyi and the play’s director, Ben Gougeon, created their own crowd funding campaign, raising $3,000 to cover the production costs.

Hongyi credits his Denison education with laying a solid foundation for both the work he's doing now and the work he hopes to do in the future. "The classes I took with Professors Peter Pauzé and Mark Evans Bryan equipped me with the knowledge and skills to set foot on the path of playwriting," he says. "Their guidance and support have prepared me well for my further studies at Columbia University."

May 6, 2015