Red Dragonfly Theatre, Chinese Theatre in UK

The Empress and Me


Touring UK 2020-2021

Lizzie Yu, daughter of a Chinese Diplomat and Eurasian mother, was raised in France to be every bit the Victorian Lady, but when her father is recalled home she suddenly finds herself living in the Forbidden City, entangled in the politics of the Chinese Court and lady-in-waiting to the infamous Empress Cixi.


Based on the amazing true story of the Princess Der Ling who, following her unique experience of life at the Manchu court and close relationship with the Empress Dowager, became an international celebrity.


"The Empress and Me" was first conceived and developed by actress Michelle Yim and Grist to the Mill Productions in 2017. The project was supported using funding from Arts Council England. The production debuted at Brighton Fringe 2017, and subsequently toured to Buxton Fringe, Edinburgh Fringe, Ognisko Polskie in London, and Adelaide Fringe. 

Check out Michelle's and Grist to the Mill's next female solo show about the first Chinese-American Hollywood Actress - the legendary Anna May Wong!

Southbank Empress and Me title2.jpg
Der Ling and Rong Ling 1900.jpg
Der Ling Chatawqua programme 1929.jpg

The Empress and Me  has visited:

Rialto Theatre, Brighton Fringe, 6,9,12 & 26 May 2017

Rotunda Theatre, Buxton Fringe, 9,12-13 & 19-21 July 2017

Assembly George Sq Studio, Edfringe, 3-28 Aug 2017

Ognisko Polskie, London 29 Oct 2017

Bakehouse Studio, Adelaide Fringe, 23,27 Feb & 2 Mar 2018

Blue Room, Southbank Centre London, China Changing Festival, 7 Oct 2018

Irving Studio, Everyman Theatre Cheltenham 9 & 11 Oct 2019

The Empress and Me Tour Schedule
Red Dragonfly Theatre, Chinese theatre in UK

Sun  15 Nov 2020        Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent      1:30pm

          Pre-booking essential due to limited numbers, and includes a Cream Tea. Please only visit with members of your household or support bubble with no more than 6 in a group. Face coverings are mandatory in the museum and theatre unless exempt.

The Empress and Me is tour-ready and available for 2020-2021. Contact us for dates!

Postponed Due to Lockdown 2

Meet the real-life Princess Der Ling!

Recently Tong Bingxue, who runs a twitter account on fascinating old and vintage photos and videos of China, posted a rare video of Princess Der Ling in America in 1930s.

Click on the picture below to check it out!

Screenshot of Derling video.png

'Full of ambition, politics and cultural tension'

​Adelaide Theatre Guide


'Absolutely fascinating – a window onto an early twentieth century culture now lost for ever.'


'Yim is a winning performer.'

The Stage​

'It is the message the audience takes away that is powerful... of a woman who is trying to find out who she really is in multiple cultures but in which she feels she doesn’t really belong.'

Stage Whisper​

'An interesting journey to an unfamiliar place, and an enjoyable insight into a remarkable tale.'


'An engaging manifestation of a fascinating woman who was clearly mistress of her own destiny in defiance of her times and culture'

Broadway Baby

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