Commemorating the centenary of the spoken drama's introduction into China in 1907, the essay takes up several major themes in Chinese theatre over the last hundred years, such as its political and social implications and the tension between foreign and indigenous influences. The essay argues that drama in China during these years can be viewed largely as a microcosm of history, with politics having more impact on drama than the other way around. It also argues that change outweighs continuity, with foreign influences being stronger than indigenous and becoming more so, despite the persistence of nationalism.

This article is the text of the Asian Theatre Journal Lecture, given in New Orleans on 27 July 2007 as part of the Association for Asian Performance Conference, itself part of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education Conference.


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