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Western theatre tends to get most of our attention, but practically every culture has its own rich and vibrant performance tradition. Our guest Dr. Steven (Siyuan) Liu, of the University of British Columbia, is an expert in one such tradition: modern Chinese theatre. Developed as a response to the changing cultural and political landscape of twentieth-century China, spoken-word theatre, or huaju, became an important part of the country’s distinguished performing arts scene.

two ballet dancers on stage

Dancers Sifeng & Zhou Ping in a 1981 ballet adaptation of Cao Yu's renowned modern Chinese play Thunderstorm. Via the University of Leeds and courtesy of the Shanghai Municipal Culture, Radio Broadcasting, Film and Television Administration.


  • Explore some of the great works of Chinese theatre, from its earliest days to its modern masterpieces, at this site from the University of Leeds.

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