Wong Ho-yi was an active and longtime member of Hong Kong theatre. His wife Vivian Chow is the daughter of Beijing Opera master Zhou Xinfang. In the early 1980s, Wong acted in many drama series on ATV and in the mid-1990s, he was appointed by Television Broadcasts (TVB) to the role of Creative Consultant. Wong has also served as screenwriting consultant for Cinema City.
In 1983, Wong and Vivian Chow founded Spotlight Productions and the Hong Kong Youth Theatre Company. Spotlight was the first private theatre company to spearhead a new wave of independent theater companies in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mainland China. He was instrumental in nurturing multiple generations of theater professionals, including many of the top thespians and lighting designers in Hong Kong today.
Debuted in 1986, Wong’s Cantonese adaptation of David Mamet’s American Buffalo was considered a milestone in Hong Kong theatre. It held the record as the longest running show and with the most performances in the history of Hong Kong. He had written, translated, produced and directed over 40 plays, from Shakespeare to 20th century contemporary American, from Chekhov to Chinese period dramas. One of his key approaches was adapting foreign plays to Chinese contexts that relate to his audience.
Wong had written many film scripts and had written, directed and acted in the feature film Thunderstorm (1996), a controversial adaptation of a Chinese stage classic.
He relocated to the United Kingdom in 1997 and acted in The Secret Laughter of Women (1999), starring Colin Firth. Wong was also featured in several Hollywood movies, including the Brad Pittvehicle Spy Game (2001) and the James Bond movie Die Another Day, featuring Pierce Brosnan.
In 2000, he appeared in a production on London’s West End, his performance in the musical The King and I lauded by the critic Sheridan Morley. From 2002 to 2004, Wong directed a series of plays in Shanghai, starting with the British classic An Inspector Calls and including Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, staged in 2005.
Wong was formerly the Dean of the Academy of Performing Arts at the Shanghai Institute of Film Arts (2004-05). He was a Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) member for the Jing’an District of Shanghai and a representative of the theater arts at the Hong Kong Arts Development Council.
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