Manhattan Theatre Club Announces American Premiere of 'Golden Shield' by Alumna Anchuli Felicia King '18

BY Amanda Breen, January 27, 2021

Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC) has announced that Golden Shield, written by Dramaturgy alumna Anchuli Felicia King ’18 and directed by Danya Taymor, will have its American Off-Broadway premiere in 2021—22. The performance dates will be announced at a later date, dependent on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Golden Shield presents storylines from across the world, weaving them together as it explores the personal and political ramifications of corporate greed with razor-sharp and irresistable humor. A young lawyer named Julie Chen enlists her sister’s help as a translator as she leads a class action lawsuit against a major American tech company involved with the Chinese government’s internet firewall, Golden Shield. 


The play was commissioned and developed as part of MTC’s Next Stage Writers’ Program. Funded by a $4.6 million joint investment between MTC and MTC Playwrights’ Giving Circle, the program aims to present new, stage-ready works via ongoing engagements with playwrights and their work. 


In an interview with BroadwayWorld, MTC’s Associate Artistic Director Sarah Goodes said, “Golden Shield is one-part thriller, one-part human drama about translation and how we communicate amongst the overwhelming hum of the digital world. Reading Felicia's brilliant play, I was captivated by its investigation of cross-cultural values and philosophies of our information age, while the bilingual characters illuminate the frequently fraught lines of human interaction. It is an astounding new play by a very exciting new voice.”


According to King, “The play is really about our failures to communicate on all fronts—not only between different languages and cultures, but between technologies, judicial systems, family members and lovers. It looks at the art of translating not only literal text, but also subtext and context, to reveal the total sum of semiotic misfires that can happen when two parties try to bridge a communicative chasm. I really hope that what people take away from the play is that the attempt to translate, as fraught as it is, is what really counts—that as multivalent and impossible as communication is, we have to keep trying because it's the best mechanism we have.” 


As a graduate of the School of the Arts’ Dramaturgy program, King’s success embodies the program’s multidisciplinary approach to ready students for an array of ambitious careers spanning literary management, production dramaturgy, directing, producing, and institution-building. Students take classes in dramatic theory, history, and literature, with opportunities to delve into screenwriting and film and television project development. 


King is a playwright, screenwriter, and multidisciplinary artist of Thai-Australian descent. Her plays explore linguistic hybrids, digital cultures, and globalization and have been produced by the Royal Court Theatre (London), Studio Theatre (Washington D.C.), American Shakespeare Center (Staunton), Melbourne Theatre Company (Melbourne), Sydney Theatre Company, National Theatre of Parramatta, and Belvoir Theatre (Sydney).


Currently, King is a screenwriter on The Baby, a dark horror comedy produced by Sister Pictures for HBO/Sky. She is also writing on TV projects in development for AMC, Amazon, Warner Bros, Netflix, Matchbox, Easy Tiger, Lucky Chap Entertainment, Hoodlum Entertainment, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Her awards, commissions, and residencies include the Sydney Theatre Company Patrick White Fellowship, 2020; Mona Brand Emerging Writer Award, 2020; Royal Court Theatre Commission, 2019; Manhattan Theatre Club Commission, 2019; Melbourne Theatre Company Next Stage Commission, 2019; Ars Nova Play Group 2018—19; Ensemble Studio Theatre Youngblood Member 2017—2024; Roundabout Theater, Space Jam Program (ongoing); Space on Ryder Farm Finalist, 2018; and Playwriting Australia National Play Initiative Winner, among others.