Digital Library of Chinese Theatre — 中国戏剧资料库

Nouvelle ressource en ligne sur le théâtre chinois, Digital Library of Chinese Theatre est un site créé et maintenu par Staging China, un réseau de recherche international basé à l’université de Leeds.

Chinese theatre is an exciting subject with dynamic complexities. Different theatre styles (see the diagram below) including Western-inspired spoken drama, the indigenous or traditional song-dance forms (including nearly 300 codified local genres) and other theatrical forms present daunting problems. Differences in language and culture raise barriers not found in dance and music.

Compared to the increasingly successful discipline of Chinese cinema that emerged in the 1980s, primary sources in Chinese theatre are largely inaccessible for researchers, theatre practitioners and the general public. This pilot of the Digital Library of Chinese Theatre offered by ‘Staging China’ attempts to see if electronic stage productions with bilingual annotation/ critical essays would be useful for non-Chinese native speakers or Chinese speakers with limited knowledge of theatre to further a preliminary interest in the subject. The pilot mainly offers samples of the Western-inspired form of modern spoken drama and the indigenous/traditional song-dance theatre.

There are 4 main works in the pilot:

  • The Story of Gong and Drum Lane (spoken drama, bilingual-subtitled).
  • A scene from The Orphan of Zhao (yueju or shaoxingxi, one local genre in xiqu, the large family of the traditional song-dance theatre, bilingual-subtitled)
  • The Sun is Not for Us (2011 & 2012). This is a newly created work in English based on the stories of female characters in 4 canonical plays written by Chinese dramatist Cao Yu to commemorate the playwright’s centenary. It was performed in Leeds, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and toured China.
  • A Midsummer Night’s DREAMING Under the Southern Bough (2016). This production in English was co-produced by University of Leeds (UK) and University of International Business and Economics (China) to celebrate the 400 years of cultural legacy of two great playwrights: William Shakespeare and Tang Xianzu. The Chinese side adapted Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, while the British group worked on a contemporary response to Tang’s Nanke Ji.

Each production contains its own available documents, such as programmes, critical reviews, images and so on.

Surrounding these 4 major productions, there are introductions to 1) huaju, the Western-inspired modern spoken drama and 2) xiqu, the indigenous/traditional song-dance theatre.

Consulter le site


Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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