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Before the Wall


1860, China, during the second Opium War.

The papers talk regime change and opium addiction. War crimes spark cultural vandalism. A small Anglo-French army finds itself before the walls of Beijing. How did it get there? More to the point, how will it get out?

Join us to meet the powerful characters Empress Dowager Cixi, Chief Minister Prince Gong, Lord Elgin, and Queen Victoria who held the fate of millions in their hands.

In an age of increasing Chinese global influence this original Anglo-Chinese production explores this little piece of mutual history, and how it contributed to much misunderstanding and resentment between China and the West. With a diverse cast, and powerful female characters calling the shots, ‘Before the Wall’ is very much a drama for our times.


In 2019 R&V was delighted to work with the writer Chris Ruffle and to develop and present his original theatre show ‘Before the Wall’ in the main auditorium at the National Museum of Scotland as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and in partnership with Gilded Balloon. The show enjoyed a successful 10 day run between 17th-26th August, and the Foundation is exploring plans for further performances...