The Impostor

By Sha Yexin

10 September 1987 – 26 September 1987 St Martins Youth Arts Centre

Playbox Theatre Company, Spoleto Melbourne Festival of the Arts,


A 1979 Chinese satirical play written by Shanghai-based playwright Sha Yexin (沙叶新), and actors Li Shoucheng (李守成) and Yao Mingde (姚明德). The play is inspired by the March 1979 arrest of Zhang Quanlong (张泉龙), a young man who impersonated the son of Li Da, deputy of the People's Liberation Army General Staff Department.

As the play exposed corruption in the establishment and lampooned the impostor's "victims", there was considerable debate among the literary circles on whether it should be performed publicly. In January 1980, Communist Party of China's propaganda chief Hu Yaobang put an end to the debates by openly criticising the play as failing "to reflect the true spirit and moral perception of Chinese youth during the New Period", effectively banning its public performances.


Images that contain past practices that are harmful have been withheld from this production. For further information, please see the About The Archive page.



Sha Yexin

Sha Yexin


John Romeril

John Romeril


Shaun Gurton

Shaun Gurton


Geoff Hooke


Robert Taylor

Robert Taylor

Production Manager

David Schultz

Lighting Designer

Jenny Enilane

Stage Manager

Ross Murray

Assistant Stage Manager

Frances Farmer

Costume Co-ordinator

Simon Dennis

Assistant Stage Manager

Daniel Kane