HighTide and Arcola Theatre present the World Premiere of The Sugar-Coated Bullets of the Bourgeoisie.

“All hail the indomitable spirit of the Chinese People!”

Revolution has stirred, China has stood up and Communism reaches Rotten Peach Village. Over the next sixty years, the villagers are battered by the waves of New China, lurching from the extremes of Maoism to the extremes of Capitalism. Yet amid all the change and turmoil, one thing does not alter: their willingness to fight.

This epic story, based on almost a decade of study, is about the ambition and unity of people who didn’t know what they had to lose.

Running Time: 2hr 20m with interval.

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Production Sponsor:
Lansons: Advice, Ideas, Results

Anders Lustgarten with Ha-Joon Chang – Post Show Discussion, 19th April
Join playwright Anders Lustgarten and Economist Ha-Joon Chang for this post-show discussion of China and The Sugar-Coated Bullets of the Bourgeoisie.

Before the show and after the post-show discussion, Anders Lustgarten’s Anthology Plays: I will be on sale for a discounted price of £15, courtesy of Bloomsbury publishing. Anders will also be available to sign play texts following the post-show discussion.

A play that confirms Lustgarten's status as our most internationalist dramatist

The Guardian

Striking and hilarious, Steven Atkinson's direction of the talent eight-strong cast is bold, and the production whips along

The Stage

Crisp and direct ... the play could scarcely be better done


Lustgarten has speared the essence of modern China so well that, whatever revelations are around the corner, this play will remain relevant for a long time to come.

The Reviews Hub

Offers some real insight into a profoundly complex country which is too often dismissed as simply inscrutable.


Cast & Creatives

  • Stephen Hoo Stocky Jiao/Thug
  • Andrew Leung Xu/Johnny
  • Wendy Kweh Lotus Blossom
  • Louise Mai Newberry Tang/Lawyer Liang
  • Lucy Sheen Mrs Gao
  • Siu Hun Li Mao/Landlord Zhang/Gao
  • Naomi Yichen Christie Horseface/Sange
  • Elizabeth Chan Xiaomei/Jiao's Wife
  • Anders Lustgarten Writer
    Anders Lustgarten has completed a BA, MA and PHD in Chinese language and politics. The Sugar-Coated Bullets of the Bourgeoisie is a take on his PHD topic. His play Lampedusa, about refugees and migration, was produced by HighTide last year and is being performed in seven countries in 2016. He recently adapted David Peace’s novel The Damned United for Red Ladder and the West Yorkshire Playhouse, and his play The Seven Acts of Mercy, about Caravaggio and violent compassion, will be produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Swan Theatre later this year.
  • Steven Atkinson Director
    Steven Atkinson is co-founder and the Artistic Director of HighTide. His directing credits for HighTide include In Fidelity (Traverse Theatre); The Sugar-Coated Bullets of the Bourgeoisie (Arcola Theatre); Those Who Trespass (Arts Educational Schools London); Forget Me Not (Bush Theatre); So Here We Are (Royal Exchange Theatre); Lampedusa (Soho Theatre); peddling (Arcola Theatre, Off-Broadway); Pussy Riot: Hunger Strike (Bush Theatre, Southbank Centre); Neighbors (Nuffield Theatre); Bottleneck (Soho Theatre, UK tour); ClockworkBethany; Incoming; Dusk Rings A Bell (Watford Palace Theatre); Lidless (Trafalgar Studios); Muhmah; The Pitch (Latitude). His other productions include Chicken (Paines Plough Roundabout) and The Afghan and the Penguin (Radio 4).
  • Lily Arnold Design
    Lily trained at Wimbledon College of Art. For HighTide: Forget Me Not (Bush Theatre); So Here We Are (HighTide Festival, Royal Exchange Theatre); peddling (HighTide Festival, 59E59 Theaters, New York City, Arcola Theatre). Theatre and Opera includes: The Fruit Trilogy (West Yorkshire Playhouse); Jeramee, Hartleby and Ooglemoore (Unicorn Theatre); Things Will Never be The Same Again (Tricycle Theatre); The Solid Life of Sugar Water (Graeae); The Box of Photographs, Minotaur (Polka Theatre); The Jew of MaltaKing Lear; Taming Of The ShrewThe Rape of Lucrece (RSC); Up and Out Christmas Sprout (Northern Stage); Tomcat (Papatango); Blake Remixed (Underbelly/National Tour); Beached (Marlowe Studios/Soho Theatre); The Edge of our BodiesGruesome Playground Injuries (Gate Theatre);  World Enough and Time (Park theatre); The Boss of It All (Assembly Roxy/Soho Theatre); A Season in the CongoThe Scottsboro Boys (Young Vic); Happy New (Trafalgar Studios); Opera Scenes (National Opera Studio); Red Handed (The Place, London).
  • Elliot Griggs Lighting
    Elliot trained at RADA. For HighTide: Forget Me Not  (Bush Theatre); Lampedusa (Soho Theatre/HighTide Festival/Unity Theatre, Liverpool). Theatre includes: Pomona (National Theatre/Royal Exchange/Orange Tree Theatre); Yen (Royal Court/Royal Exchange); The ArgumentDeluge (Hampstead Theatre); Martha, Josie and the Chinese Elvis (Hull Truck/Bolton Octagon); Chicken (Eastern Angles); Tether (Edinburgh Festival); buckets (Orange Tree Theatre); Hansel and Gretel (Belgrade Theatre Coventry); Contact (Bravo 22); Benefit (Cardboard Citizens); Fleabag (Soho Theatre/UK Tour); Henry IV (Associate Lighting Designer, Donmar Warehouse); CommonWealth (Almeida Theatre); Defect (Perfect Pitch); He Had Hairy HandsThe Boy Who Kicked Pigs (The Lowry, Manchester/UK tour);  Marching On Together (Old Red Lion); My Eyes Went DarkRachel, John Ferguson, The Soft of her Palm, And I and Silence (Finborough Theatre); Infanticide (Camden People’s Theatre); Belleville Rendez-Vous (Greenwich Theatre); Meat (Theatre503); Lagan (Oval House Theatre); Love Re:Imagined (Only Connect); Folk Contraption (Southbank Centre).    Awards: Best Lighting Designer (Off West End Awards 2014); New Talent in Entertainment Lighting (Association of Lighting Designers 2014); Francis Reid Award (Association of Lighting Designers 2011); ShowLight Award (NSDF 2009).
  • Giles Thomas Sound
    Theatre includes: As Composer and Sound Designer: Correspondence (Old Red Lion); I See You (Royal Court); Yen (Royal Court/Royal Exchange Theatre); Pomona (National Theatre/Royal Exchange Theatre/Orange Tree Theatre); Sparks (Old Red Lion); The Titanic OrchestraThis Will End Badly; Allie (Edinburgh); Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against The Eunuchs (Southwark Playhouse); Outside Mullingar (Theatre Royal Bath); Back Down (Birmingham Rep); The Wolf from the DoorPrimetimeMintPigeonsDeath TaxThe President Has Come to See You (Royal Court); Lie With Me (Talawa); The Sound of Yellow (Young Vic); Take A Deep Breath and BreatheThe Street (Oval House Theatre); Stop Kiss (Leicester Square Theatre). As Sound Designer: The Snow Queen (Southampton Nuffield/Northampton Royal & Derngate); Orson's Shadow (Southwark Playhouse); Defect (Arts Ed); Betrayal (I Fagiolini, UK Tour); A Harlem Dream (Young Vic); Khandan (Birmingham Rep/Royal Court); Superior Donuts (Southwark Playhouse); Three Men in a Boat (Original Theatre Company/UK Tour); King John (Union Theatre); It's About Time (Nabokov Theatre Company/Hampstead Theatre); Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat (Royal Court/Gate Theatre/Out of Joint/Paines Plough/National Theatre); House of Agnes (Paines Plough). As Associate Sound Designer: Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (National Theatre); Henry IV (Donmar Warehouse/Tour); Henry V (Michael Grandage Company); 1984 (West End/UK Tour). As Music Producer: An Appointment with the Wickerman (National Theatre of Scotland). Screen includes: Aurelia (Jade Edwards) Ident (Anaya Productions); CERN Hadron Collider Exhibition (Science Museum); Street Spirit (Tom Bailey); Last of the Oaks (Luis Baron). Giles has also assisted with music technology and keyboard programming on many West End musicals including Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryWickedSinging in the RainMatilda. Giles was nominated for Best Sound Designer - Offie Awards 2015 - for his work on Pomona.
  • Struan Leslie Movement
    Struan Leslie is a director, movement director and choreographer. He founded the movement department at the Royal Shakespeare Company and was Head of Movement there until 2013. During that time he both created work and supported all areas of the company’s work onstage, training and outreach.  Productions include: As You Like It; MacbethTwelfth NightMorte D’ArthurThe City Madam; Julius Caesar; Much Ado About Nothing and also directed Song of Songs and FlashMob Romeo and Juliet. Prior to his appointment his work at the RSC included: Merchant of VeniceCyrano de BergeracBeckett ShortsSlaughter City; Easter. Movement and Choreography for Theatre and Opera includes: Much Ado About NothingWomen of TroyThe SeagullIphigenia at AulisIvanovThe Oresteia (National Theatre); The Woman Hater; The Lady’s TrialGalatea (Edward’s Boys/The Other Place RSC 2016/Wanamaker Theatre/Shakespeare’s Globe/University of Montpelier/Kings College Chapel London) Owen Wingrave (Edinburgh International Festival/Aldeburgh Festival) thethesatewearein; me:eating (Trinity Laban Conservatoire); The Hook; Regeneration; Tale of Two Cities (Royal and Derngate/National Tour); A Life of Galileo (Birmingham Rep/RSC) Everybody Loves a Winner (Manchester International Festival/Royal Exchange); Paul Bunyan (Bregenz Festival/ Luzerne); Jephthah (ENO/WNO, Copenghagen), The SacrificeKatya KabanovaCosi Fan Tutti (Welsh National Opera); St Matthew Passion (Glyndebourne); Oliver Twist (Lyric Hammersmith/UK Tour/American Repertory Theatre/Theatre for a New Audience, NYC/Berkeley Rep); OedipeLe Nozze Figaro; Die Reise Nach Reims (Theatre Bielefeld); Long Time Dead (Paines Plough/Traverse); If Destroyed True (Paines Plough/Dundee Rep/Menier); Julius Caesar; The Maids (Young Vic); Solemn Mass For a Full Moon in Summer (Traverse); The Country (Royal Court); Easy Virtue (Chichester Festival Theatre); Attempts on Her Life (Piccolo Teatro di Milano); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre); Endgame (Donmar Warehouse). Movement direction for screen includes: Sleuth (Sony Pictures) and Casanova (BBC). Directing credits include: My Case is Altered; (University of Illinois/Christopher Newport University/Willamette University, USA); A Suit To Travel In (Paul Smith Design/London Collections Men/Paris Menswear/Far East Tour/Moscow/Dubai/Harrods) Hōp (London Wonderground) Silver Anniversary Gala (National Centre for Circus Arts, Artistic Director) English Skies (QEH London/Amsterdam Festival); Circus Maximus (Udderbelly London); Song of Songs (Royal Shakespeare Company); There’s Me and There’s You (Matthew Herbert Big Band/London Jazz Festival/British Council 75th Anniversary Concert/Barbican/Glastonbury Festival); Guys and Dolls (Also Choreographer - Theatre Bielefeld, Germany); Carmen (Welsh National Opera).
  • Louis Hammond CDG Casting Director
    For HighTide: Harrogate (HighTide Festival) Theatre includes:  The 5 Plays Project (Young Vic); Inkheart (HOME Manchester); The Distance (Sheffield Crucible/Orange Tree Richmond); Romeo and Juliet (Sheffield Crucible); Creditors (Young Vic); The Funfair (HOME Manchester); PrimetimeViolence and Son; Who CaresFireworks (Casting Associate at the Royal Court); Romeo and Juliet (HOME Manchester); Amadeus (Chichester Festival Theatre); The Winter’s Tale (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre); The History Boys (Sheffield Crucible); Driving Miss Daisy (UK Tour); Batman Live (World Arena Tour); The Trial of Dennis The Menace (Southbank Centre); The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Liverpool Playhouse/Nottingham Playhouse); Blue/Orange (Arcola); Von Ribbentrop’s Watch (UK Tour); Mrs Reynolds and The RuffianBrighton Beach MemoirsAbsent Friends (Watford Palace); All My Sons (Curve, Leicester); 50th Anniversary Season of 50 Rehearsed ReadingsCaryl Churchill SeasonInternational Residencies and new writers’ Rough Cuts presentations (Royal Court); The Member of the WeddingDirty ButterflyThe Indian Wants the Bronx (Young Vic); Loot (Tricycle Theatre); Blowing Whistles (Leicester Square Theatre); Testing the Echo (Tricycle Theatre/Out of Joint Tour); The Importance of Being Earnest (UK Tour/Vaudeville); Donkeys’ Years (UK Tour); Rock’n’Roll (Royal Court/Duke of York’s Theatre); Jus’ Like That (Garrick). Screen includes: Head of Casting at The Bill (Thames TV), and also cast films Arsene LupinNe Quittez PasBeyond Re-Animator; and Mirrormask.
  • Andrew Twyman
    Andrew Twyman was Associate Director at HighTide from 2016 - 2018 and an Associate Artist at Live Theatre Newcastle. Andrew will be directed the world premiere of Kanye the First by Sam Steiner at HighTide Festival 2017 For HighTide as Associate Director: Sugar Coated Bullets Of The Bourgeoisie (Arcola Theatre). For HighTide as Assistant Director: Those Who Trespass (The Arts Educational Schools), Forget Me Not (Bush Theatre). Theatre includes:Kanye The First (HighTide), Machinal (The Arts Educational Schools), Odd Shaped Balls (Old Red Lion/Edinburgh Festival/Space UK) Don’t Smoke In Bed (Finborough Theatre); Te Karakia (Vibrant 2015 at Finborough Theatre), ; Reason and Force (King's Head Theatre); Fair Exchange (Tabard Theatre). As Assistant Director: A Further Education (Hampstead Theatre); Berenice (The Space). As Associate Director: King Of The Fuckin' Castle (VAULT Festival). Andrew was also a member of the writing programme at the Live Theatre, Newcastle.