2007 was the centennial year of Chinese spoken drama (/huaju/), western-style theatre that was imported from Europe and the United States, initially via Japan. By its very nature, Chinese modern drama is an intercultural form, and due to its unique circumstances in turbulent 20th century China, it has been highly politicized and censored. This lecture will provide an overview of the development of modern drama in China, emphasizing some of its key moments as well as the impact of recent economic reforms on the fate of artists in Beijing and Shanghai who make their living in the theatre.

Claire Conceison is a top international expert on Chinese theatre. She received her PhD from Cornell University, her MA from Harvard University, and her BA from Wesleyan University. Her research specialty is contemporary Chinese theatre practice. Her first book, Significant Other: Staging the American in China was published in 2004 and her new book Voices Carry: Behind Bars and Backstage during China's Revolution and Reform is a collaborative autobiography of the late actor, translator, and statesman Ying Ruocheng. For the past 17 years, Claire has divided her time between the academic community in the US and the theatre communities of Beijing and Shanghai. In addition to her scholarship, she is also an active translator and director. She has taught at Tufts University for the past 5 years and will join the faculty of Duke University this fall.

Venue: China Culture Center, Beijing, China.
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