Hsiung Shih-I

Hsiung Shih-I (Chinese: 熊式一; also S. I. Hsiung or Xiong Shiyi; 1902–1991) was a writer and playwright in Beijing and London. He was the first Chinese person to direct a West End play, and the founder of Tsing Hua Academy in Hong Kong.[1]


Hsiung was born in Nanchang on October 14, 1902, and educated at Beijing University (then Peiping University). As a professor and writer in China, Hsiung translated plays by George Bernard Shaw and J.M. Barrie.[2] He also published a successful Chinese translation of The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.[3] He taught at universities in Beijing and Nanchang as well as Nanyang University in Singapore.[1]

In 1932, he moved to England, studying English literature at Queen Mary College, University of London and translating Chinese plays into English.[4] After the success of Lady Precious Stream in 1934, however, he abandoned his studies.

In 1935, Hsiung's Lady Precious Stream, based on the Chinese folklore Wang Baochuan and Xue Pinggui, was performed at the Little Theatre in John Street, London, by the People's National Theatre, directed by Nancy Price and Hsiung, and ran for 1,000 nights.[5] The play was also later performed on Broadway at the Booth Theatre in New York, produced by Morris Gest.[6] It was adapted for television in 1950.[7]

Hsiung's subsequent works were also successful, but did not match the success of Lady Precious Stream.[8]


Hsiung's wife, Dymia Hsiung, was the first Chinese woman in Britain to author a fictionalized autobiography.[9] They shared a flat in Hampstead with fellow expatriate Chiang Yee, author of The Silent Traveller series.[10]


  • Lady Precious Stream: an old Chinese play done into English according to its traditional style by S.I. Hsiung (Wang Pao-ch'uan), 1935
  • The Romance of the Western Chamber, 1935 (trans.)
  • The Professor from Peking, 1939
  • The Bridge of Heaven, 1943
  • The Life of Chiang Kai-Shek, 1948


  1. Zhou 2002, p. 121.
  2. Pronko 1967, p. 51.
  3. Yeh 2014, p. 22.
  4. Godwin, George (1939). Queen Mary College, an adventure in education. London: Queen Mary College and The Acorn Press. p. 64.
  5. "Episode 8: Artistic pursuits". Chinese in Britain. 9 May 2007. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
  6. Hsiung, S.I. (1962). Lady Precious Stream. p. 3. ISBN 9780573611391.
  7. "Lady Precious Stream (TV movie 1950)". IMDB. Retrieved 2015-01-04.
  8. Yeh 2014, p. 93.
  9. Yeh 2014, p. 3.
  10. Victoria and Albert Museum, Digital Media webmaster@vam ac uk (8 August 2012). "The silent traveller: Chiang Yee in Britain 1933-55". www.vam.ac.uk. Retrieved 2 July 2019.

Works cited

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