Zhen Yu (Victor) Yao is an Australian-born Chinese theatre artist based in New York City. He is currently pursuing a MA Arts Politics degree from the NYU Tisch Department of Art and Public Policy. He is a recent graduate of the BFA Drama program at Playwrights Horizons Theatre School (PHTS) at NYU Tisch. He is invested in leveraging theatre and visual arts disciplines to create fully immersive experiences as a means of engaging audiences and grappling with changes in the world. These conversations frequently include the questioning of racial and social identities, or the mapping of the interconnective presences of individuals that serve as connective tissue between different lives, or the architecting of shared dreamworlds between individuals that ultimately collapse. The tensions that surface in these forums are ultimately situated against the backdrop of the transnational, taking place both in New York and Shanghai.
His work includes directing the first Mandarin production MAN OF LA MANCHA in the US at Symphony Space. He has built targeted student welcome programs, including PRECIPICE: THE ESCAPE ROOM EXPERIENCE for NYU Welcome Week 2017. He also served as the project manager for NYU Shanghai’s REALITY SHOW three years in a row, a devised musical sketch comedy advocating health and wellness resources at NYU for incoming first years, created by Elizabeth Swados and currently directed by Preston Martin. His projects ultimately serve as the catalyst for conversations, giving audiences an opportunity to engage with others using these forums.