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Red Dragonfly Theatre, Chinese Theatre in UK

The Empress and Me


Available 2024-2025

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 bestowed the title of Princess, 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 in 2017.

Check out Michelle's other solo shows about the pioneering Chinese-American Hollywood Actress Anna May Wong and the legendary Chinese warrior Mulan.  

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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

Aberdeen Arts Centre, Aberdeen Confucius Institute 27 Sept 2023

International School Aberdeen, Aberdeen 28 Sept 2023

The Empress and Me Tour Schedule

Sat  09 March 2024            Capstone Theatre           2:30pm

                Hosted by Confucius Institute of the University of Liverpool

                As part of the Angel Field Festival, Liverpool Hope University

Tue 14 May 2024   The Rotunda Theatre, Regency Square   6pm

                                         Brighton Fringe Festival


​Wed 15 May 2024   The Rotunda Theatre, Regency Square   6pm

                                         Brighton Fringe Festival

​Wed 22 May 2024   The Rotunda Theatre, Regency Square   6pm

                                         Brighton Fringe Festival

Fri 05 July 2024   The Rotunda Theatre, Langton Green   6pm

                                         Tunbridge Wells Fringe Festival

Fri 12 July 2024   The Rotunda Theatre, Langton Green​   7:30pm

                                         Tunbridge Wells Fringe Festival

Sun 14 July 2024      The Rotunda Theatre, Langton Green   6pm

                                         Tunbridge Wells Fringe Festival

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

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!

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'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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