Chinoperl 36.1

CHINOPERL: Journal of Chinese Oral and Performing Literature No. 36.1 (July 2017)
Special Issue: Chinese Opera, Xiqu, and New Media, 1890s-1950s
Edited by XU Peng and Margaret Wan

To access abstracts and download the essays, link here:



Hearing the Opera: “Teahouse Mimesis” and the Aesthetics of Noise in Early Jingju Recordings, 1890s-1910s XU PENG

Qi Rushan, Gewu (Song-and-Dance), and a History of Contemporary Peking Opera in Early Twentieth-Century China HSIAO-CHUN WU

Locating Theatricality on Stage and Screen: Rescuing Performance Practice and the Phenomenon of Fifteen Strings of Cash (Shiwu guan, 1956) ANNE REBULL Continue reading

HK in Transition programme

Hong Kong in Transition: Asian City-to-City Collaboration and Performing Arts Exchange, 1997-2017
9-10 September 2017, SOAS University of London

This two-day programme co-presented by the SOAS China Institute and Zuni Icosahedron marks the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from the UK to China with a series of events focusing on intercultural exchange and city-to-city collaboration in the performing arts. Participants will reflect on Hong Kong’s cultural exchanges with London and several Asian cities over the past twenty years, as well as discuss proposals, opportunities, strategies, and challenges for the next two decades.

Academic Symposium – Hong Kong Theatre in Transnational Perspective: New Directions and Discourses since 1997

Saturday 9 September, Senate House Lecture Theatre (SALT), 9am – 5pm.

  • This symposium will explore aspects of theatre production in Hong Kong in the post-1997 period from a transnational perspective, including intercultural and cross-genre collaborations with other Sinophone and Asian performance cultures from Singapore, Taiwan, China, and Japan, Cantonese opera in the diaspora, experimental and political performance, and intersections between indigenous and foreign theatrical forms.

Continue reading

China’s theatre bubble

Source: American Theatre (May/June, 2017)
China’s Theatre Bubble
Most stage works don’t attract mass audiences or enjoy long runs—but there can be strength in the shadows.
By Raymond Zhou

The cast of Beijing Joyway Culture’s “Mr. Donkey.”

Unlike China’s film industry, which is constantly in the limelight, Chinese theatre enjoys the benefits of the shadows, so to speak. Without the tight scrutiny of the public or the censors, it has mushroomed into an art form with an almost unimaginable range of diverse works. On the other hand, most of these have failed to find even a limited audience, let alone commercial viability.

According to an official report, Beijing alone saw 24,440 live performances for the year 2016, registering 1.7 billion yuan ($247.7 million) in box-office receipts and 10.7 million total viewers. Pop concerts accounted for 593 million yuan, the biggest category, followed by various dramatic arts, with 260 million yuan. Continue reading

Theater, Art, and the CR talks

Theater, Art, and the Cultural Revolution: A Presentation featuring Zheng Shengtian and Chen Xiaomei
Wednesday, March 29, 6:30-8:00pm
China Institute
40 Rector Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10006

Tickets $5 each, please Register Here

Beginning in 1966, China’s Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution was a mass movement that shook the foundations of Modern China to its core. The movement’s ubiquitous presence disrupted all aspects of Chinese society, and has had a lasting impact on Chinese culture that continues until today. Continue reading

Digital Library of Chinese Theatre

Dear all,

The Pilot of Digital Library of Chinese Theatre is ready to be viewed:

I hope this will be of some use for your teaching, research and practical work in the theatre.
The project is supported by the AHRC grant for the Leeds-based international research network ‘Staging China’ and the ‘Language and Culture for the New Generation of Leading Researchers in East Asian Studies: Partnerships, Networks and Training’.

There are only 40 productions covering about 20 theatrical genres (since it is merely a pilot) but there are a few highlights, for example,

1.    There are 11 different productions of The Orphan of Zhao, including modern spoken drama, regional song-dance theatre, opera and covering works from 4 countries, China, Nigeria, Korea and Britain (Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2012-13 work). Continue reading

AAP 2017–cfp

Association for Asian Performance 17th Annual Conference
August 2-3, 2017 | Las Vegas, NV

The Association for Asian Performance (AAP) invites submissions for its 17th annual conference. The AAP conference is a two-day event, to be held at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, NV preceding the annual ATHE (Association for Theatre in Higher Education) conference. Proposals are invited for papers, panels, workshops and roundtable discussions. Learn more about the AAP at

The deadline for proposals is March 15, 2017. (Proposals from foreign applicants may receive early consideration as needed for visa arrangements.) Proposals for the following formats are welcome: Continue reading

Du Zichun to return to the stage

Source: Global Times (12/25/16)
Hit black comedy stage play to return to Beijing’s Gulou West Theater on December 29

Black comedy Du Zichun will return to the stage at the Gulou West Theater in Beijing from December 29.

Debuting in September of 2012 at the Beijing Fringe Festival, the play was a huge success.

The play is based on a short fantasy story written during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) that focuses on the character of Du Zichun.

From a rich family, Du loses his wealth after his parents pass away. Shortly after he is given several treasures from an immortal. Selling these treasures he becomes rich, but soon after once again finds himself falling into poverty after all his friends and close relatives “help” him spend his fortune. Eventually, Du learns to rise above material desires and begins following the path to become an immortal. Continue reading

AAP emerging scholar panel 2017–cfp

AAP (Association for Asian Performance) Emerging Scholar Panel 2017-CFP

The Association for Asian Performance (AAP) invites submissions for its 23rd Annual Adjudicated Panel to be held during the Association for Asian Performance annual conference in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 2, 2017, which precedes the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) conference. Selected papers will be strongly considered for publication in Asian Theatre Journal – an official publication of AAP. Eligibility is open to all (current and recent graduate students, scholars, teachers, artists) provided they are: 1) early in their scholarly career OR new to the study of Asian performance; 2) have not published in Asian Theatre Journal; and 3) have not previously received an AAP Emerging Scholars Award. We welcome submissions from past applicants. Papers (8-10 double-spaced pages) may deal with any aspect of Asian performance or drama. Preparation of the manuscript in Asian Theatre Journal style, which can be gleaned from a recent issue, is desirable. Up to three winning authors will be selected and invited to present their papers at the upcoming AAP conference. Paper presentations should be no longer than twenty minutes. A $100 cash prize will be awarded for each paper selected, to help offset conference fees. AAP Conference registration fees are waived for the winners, who also receive one-year free membership to AAP.  Receipt of award is contingent upon attendance at the AAP conference. All paper submissions will receive written feedback from the selection committee. Continue reading

Wuzhen Theatre Festival (1)

Here’s more, from the NYT, on the Wuzhen Theatre Festival and the rebirth of Wuzhen as a cultural destination.–Kirk

Source: NYT (11/9/16)
Ancient Town in China Enjoys Profitable Rebirth as a ‘Beautiful Stage’

Canals in Wuzhen, a town of about 50,000 that has become a wildly successful example of tourism development in China. Nearly seven million tourists visit every year. CreditGilles Sabrié for The New York Times

WUZHEN, China — On a drizzly afternoon, Liu Hongfei plopped into an empty baby stroller in Wuzhen, a picturesque town in eastern China.

He was wearing dark clothes and red sneakers, his face painted white, a kazoo perched in his mouth.

“Hello?” he rasped, addressing the tourists streaming past. “Is anyone listening?” Continue reading

Wuzhen Theatre Festival

Source: Global Times (10/24/16)
Wuzhen Theatre Festival striving to become the world’s best
By Sun Shuangjie

Street performers pose for a photo during the Wuzhen Theatre Festival in October in Wuzhen, Zhejiang Province. Photo: Courtesy of Wuzhen Tourism Co., Ltd

Street performers pose for a photo during the Wuzhen Theatre Festival in October in Wuzhen, Zhejiang Province. Photo: Courtesy of Wuzhen Tourism Co., Ltd

If “China speed” has become a synonym for ground-breaking and tremendous economic growth of the country since its reform and opening-up, then “Wuzhen speed” is very likely to become an epitome of the city’s ambitious changes in the field of culture and art in the future.

From October 13 to 22, the 4th Wuzhen Theatre Festival staged a total of 79 performances by 22 invited productions, half of which came from Europe, at 13 theaters, while also expanding its regular programs to include two exhibitions and five forums about theatrical art and the theater industry. Participants at the forums included members from the International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC), 16 artistic directors from central and eastern Europe, as well as art festival directors and cultural officials from seven Arabian countries. Continue reading

Rethinking the Princess Wencheng story

Source: Washington Post (10/11/16)
In Tibet, History bows down before propaganda in the tale of a royal romance
By Simon Denyer

It is an epic tale of love between a teenage princess and a noble emperor, of the first bonds of friendship between China and Tibet that sprung up more than 15 centuries ago. It is a tale of how China brought civilization to its barbarous west, rendered in lavish operatic form.

But this is more than an operatic romanticization of ancient history, it is a deliberate attempt, experts say, to rewrite history in the service of propaganda. Continue reading

Association for Asian Performance–cfp

Association for Asian Performance (AAP) Sponsored Sessions
at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) 2017 Conference

AAP invites full paper panel and multidisciplinary session proposals that explore the 2017 ATHE theme and its manifestations in Asian performance, including but not limited to performance traditions of Asian regions and the theory, practice, and/or pedagogy of Asian performance from transnational and multidisciplinary perspectives. We encourage and welcome creative engagements with the 2017 ATHE theme. To learn more about the AAP and membership benefits please visit the AAP website:

Conference Dates and Location
August 3 to 6, 2017
Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino
Las Vegas, Nevada

Submission Deadline
November 1, 2016 (complete session proposals and technology requests; direct submission to ATHE)
Guidelines for submission (with link to online form) is at

Conference Theme:
Spectacle: balancing education, theory, and praxis #ATHE2017OfBreadAndCircuses
(See complete statement of conference theme at Continue reading

Interview with Stan Lai

Source: Sinosphere, NYT (9/13/16)
Theater’s Evolving Role in China and Taiwan


A scene from a production of “A Dream Like a Dream” by Stan Lai in Beijing. The play has audiences sitting on swivel chairs in the center of the stage. Credit: Gao Yan Bing

Over the past few decades, Stan Lai has established a reputation as one of the most celebrated Chinese-language playwrights and directors. His works include more than 30 original plays, two feature films and four operas. Mr. Lai, who was born in the United States and is based in Taiwan, has written classics like “Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land” (1986), now an iconic play in contemporary Chinese theater, while still continuing to experiment with new forms, as seen in his eight-hour epic “A Dream Like a Dream” (2000), which has audiences sitting on swivel chairs in the center of the stage. Continue reading

Shakespeare and Tang Xianzu

University of Leeds news and media call (For immediate release: 01/06/16)
Global theatre collaboration celebrates Shakespeare and his Chinese counterpart

This year marks not only 400 years since the death of Shakespeare, but also that of the great Ming dynasty playwright Tang Xianzu.

dreamingWilliam Shakespeare and Tang Xianzu: Celebrating a 400 Year Legacy, is a unique global collaboration organised by the University of Leeds to create a new stage production to commemorate both anniversaries, featuring university students from both the UK and China.

Working around the common theme of dreams, students in Beijing and Yorkshire have been simultaneously rehearsing on opposite sides of the globe and will come together this summer for back-to-back performances of contemporary adaptions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Tang’s Nanke-ji (A Dream Under the Southern Bough) in Leeds (where it will premiere in late July), at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and major cities in China including Fuzhou – Tang’s birthplace.

This event will be a chance to see an open rehearsal for the Yorkshire half of the performance, with UK students preparing DREAMING Under the Southern Bough, an adaption of Tang Xianzu’s play. Continue reading

Pop Goes the Avant-Garde review

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of Claire Conceison’s review of Pop Goes the Avant-Garde: Experimental Theatre in Contemporary China (Seagull Books, 2012), by Rossella Ferrari. The review appears below, but is best read at its online home:

My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk A. Denton, editor MCLC

Pop Goes the Avant-Garde:
Experimental Theatre in Contemporary China

By Rossella Ferrari

Reviewed by Claire Conceison
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright June, 2016)

Rossella Ferrari, Pop Goes the Avant-Garde: Experimental Theatre in Contemporary China. London: Seagull Books, 2012. 365pp., 40 Halftones. ISBN: 13 978 0 8574 2 045 9. Paper: $25.00

Rossella Ferrari, Pop Goes the Avant-Garde: Experimental Theatre in Contemporary China. London: Seagull Books, 2012. 365pp., 40 Halftones. ISBN: 13 978 0 8574 2 045 9. Paper: $25.00

Rossella Ferrari is a bright light in the field of Chinese theatre and contemporary Chinese cultural studies, and Pop Goes the Avant-Garde is the most significant book in recent years about theatre in China. It is a valuable contribution to the disciplines of theatre studies, performance studies, cultural studies, Sinology, and Asian studies more broadly. Compellingly written and impeccably researched, it succeeds in providing a long-overdue assessment of the avant-garde in late twentieth and early twenty-first century Chinese culture and art circles and records the first comprehensive study of the pioneering theater work of Meng Jinghui 孟京辉 and his singular impact on the avant-garde in China. Published by Seagull Books and distributed by University of Chicago Press, Pop Goes the Avant-Garde offers superb analysis and production context for some of the plays that will soon be available in an anthology of five of Meng Jinghui’s works in English published by the same press.[1] Beyond this, Ferrari provides valuable theoretical context, performance reconstruction, and behind-the-scenes details of the development of experimental theater in contemporary China, especially that of Meng, its most acclaimed enfant terrible. Continue reading