The State of Chinese Theatre

Meng Jinghui’s stage adaptation of the film “Love Is Colder Than Death,” on tour in Shanghai in 2009. (Photo by Claire Conceison)

The history of performance in China is inextricably linked to “opera,” while what we think of as “spoken drama” is only about a century old on Chinese stages—comparatively young for a culture with ancient roots. So what is the current state of expression on stages in Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, and Hong Kong? Who are theatre’s tastemakers, and what traditions are they continuing or challenging? And what is theatre’s impact and relevance to people in the world’s largest economy? Leading voices from and about China’s theatrical scene provide answers in this special international issue, American Theatre’s first to focus exclusively on East Asia.

Theatre scholar Claire Conceison and playwright David Henry Hwang served as consultants for this issue.

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