Peking Opera Immersion Program, Summer 2020, Shanghai, June 8-26, 2019

The Princeton University Summer 2020 Peking Opera Immersion Program in Shanghai (June 8-June 26, 2020) application process will be available by November 18, 2019.  

The program provides an unprecedented opportunity for Princeton students to engage in three weeks of intensive study, training and performance of the Northern style of Chinese drama (called “Peking Opera”) at the Shanghai Peking Opera Company (SPOC) based in Shanghai. Students will be trained in all areas of Peking Opera performance-- Song, Speech/Acting, Dance, Combat/Acrobatics. 

Normally, the minimum requirement for admission is two years of college-level instruction in Chinese; students with equivalent abilities are also eligible. The program will award certificates, but no Princeton credit will be given.


SPOC is providing fellowship support for tuition, fees, lodging, and breakfast. To cover the additional expenses for transportation to and from Shanghai and some meals (totaling up to $2,000), funding will be provided by Princeton University to students accepted into the program. Awards will be administered through the Student Activities Funding Engine (SAFE). Up to twenty fellowships will be awarded.

The Shanghai Peking Opera Company (SPOC) (also known as Shanghai Jingju Theatre Company 上海京剧院) is a government-sponsored cultural enterprise established in 1955, with Peking Opera master Xinfang ZHOU as the first principal. This theater company enjoys a stellar reputation throughout China. Immersed in the southern city of Shanghai, SPOC has developed its own style of propagating Peking Opera culture.


Teachers are nationally-certified Peking Opera performers. Normally, instruction and discussion will take place in Chinese (Mandarin).

Board and Lodging

Students will be housed double-occupancy at Ji Hotel (1881 Tianyaoqiao Road, Shanghai), a three-star business hotel located across the street from the teaching space of the Shanghai Peking Opera Company. Numerous restaurants and cafes are within walking distance for meals.


Classes run for three weeks, from June 8-26, 2020. Students should arrive in Shanghai on June 6 and depart on June 27. Classes meet for 6 hours per day, 5 days per week, with some additional time on weekends and evenings for observing performances. The curriculum is divided into three sections.

Section 1: Introduction to Peking Opera, 15 hours. Senior scholars use text and images to introduce the history, basic features, and aesthetics of Peking Opera.

Section 2: Taste of Peking Opera, 65 hours. Following their interests, students are divided into small groups focusing on excerpts of specific operas, like Farewell My Concubine. Different excerpts emphasize Song, Speech, Dance, and Combat/Acrobatics. At the end, each group presents a 10-minute performance.

Section 3: Live Observation, 10 hours. During the weekends, we will attend special performances of the Shanghai Peking Opera Theater, including behind-the-scenes and post-performance meetings with performers.

At Princeton, half-day forum. Following the program upon return to Princeton in the fall, students will participate in a forum on Chinese Opera presented by the Music Department in which they will have an opportunity to share the results of their study.


Eligibility. All Princeton University undergraduates and graduate students in good standing, from any major or department, are eligible to apply. Applicants must be highly motivated to study traditional Chinese opera and culture. Intermediate-level ability in modern Chinese language (Mandarin) is required. Normally, the minimum requirement for admission is two years of college-level instruction in Chinese before the start of the program; students with equivalent abilities are also eligible.

Application. Applications should be submitted through the GPS (Global Programs System) portal-- Final deadline for submission is TBA. Applications require submission of three parts: 1) a paragraph explaining why you wish to attend and how the Opera Program fits into your educational goals; 2) a short budget detailing your request for transportation and meals in Shanghai; 3) a short statement about your Chinese language abilities: if you’re enrolled in Chinese language study, list your courses at Princeton or Princeton-in-Beijing or elsewhere; if, instead, you have language experience outside of Princeton courses, describe your abilities in speaking and understanding Mandarin.

Recommendation. A letter of recommendation from a current Princeton faculty member is also required. Recommenders will be prompted by GPS to submit letters. 

Deadlines. Applications and all supporting materials must be submitted by TBA; earlier applications are welcome. Those with language expertise gained outside of Princeton courses who are accepted into the program will be asked to schedule a 10-minute Mandarin language discussion/test in February. Notifications of acceptance will be given to applicants by TBA.

Questions? Contact Jenny Liu or drop by Frist 219.

Program brochure can be downloaded PDF icon( .