SOAS University of London

SOAS China Institute

Brave New Theatres: 1616 in China and England

Brave New Theatres: 1616 in China and England
Tian Yuan Tan (SOAS, University of London), Paul Edmondson (Shakespeare Birthplace Trust), Shih-pe Wang (National Chung Cheng University)

Date: 5 June 2014Time: 9:00 AM

Finishes: 6 June 2014Time: 6:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: 116 and G3

Type of Event: Conference

The main theme of the conference is centred around 1616, a year of significance in the history of both Chinese and English theatres. Leading playwrights Tang Xianzu 湯顯祖 (1550-1616) and William Shakespeare (1564-1616) both died in 1616. England was then ruled by King James I (r.1603-1625). The rough counterpart of 1616 in the Chinese calendar was the 44th year of the Wanli reign period of Emperor Shenzong (r.1573-1620) of the Ming Dynasty. This was also the same year that saw the publishing of the drama anthology Yuanqu xuan元曲選 (Selection of Yuan plays) and Ben Jonson's (1572-1637) First Folio, which changed our impression of drama writing in both countries.

This conference seeks to engage cross-culturally with how theatre and the art of playwriting had by 1616 reached exciting new heights of accomplishment in late Ming China and Renaissance England. The conference will analyse Early Modern Chinese and English drama across cultures through a selection of theatre-related themes by involving scholars working on similar fields and periods, but on two different regions and coming from different scholarly traditions. The conference consists of ten panels each containing two papers on the same theme, one from the perspective of English theatre and one from that of Chinese theatre, each engaging with various aspects of theatre practice using the year 1616 as its point of focus.

Papers of the conference will be published as a book by the Bloomsbury Publishing Plc under its Arden Shakespeare series.

Programme *
Thursday, 5 June
9:00-9:30Welcome Notes
Morning Panels
9:30-10:30Panel 1: The Blockbusters and Popular Stories
10:30-11:00Tea Break
11:00-12:00Panel 2: Making History
Afternoon Panels
13:30-14:30Panel 3: The State and the Theatre
14:30-15:30Panel 4: The Transmission of Dramatic Texts and Printing
15:30-16:00Tea Break
16:00-17:00Panel 5: Audiences, Critics, and Reception
Friday, 6 June
Morning Panels
9:00-10:00Panel 6: Music and Performance
10:00-10:30Tea Break
10:30-11:30Panel 7: The Concept of Theatre and Its Performance Spaces
11:45-12:45Panel 8: Dramatic Authorship and Collaboration
Afternoon Panels
14:00-15:00Panel 9: Localities
15:00-16:00Panel 10: Drama, Poetry, and Other Literary Genres
16:00-16:30Tea Break
16:30-17:30Comments and Group Reflection
17:30-18:00Discussion on book manuscript preparation

 *subject to change

  1. Anjna Chouhan (The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust)
  2. Janet Clare (University of Hull)
  3. Helen Cooper (University of Cambridge)
  4. Paul Edmondson (The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust)
  5. Wei Hua (Chinese University of Hong Kong)
  6. Wilt L. Idema (Harvard University)
  7. Peter Kirwan (University of Nottingham)
  8. David Lindley (University of Leeds)
  9. Xiaoqiao Ling (Arizona State University)
  10. Regina Llamas (Stanford University)
  11. Kate McLuskie (University of Birmingham)
  12. Jason Scott-Warren (University of Cambridge)
  13. Patricia Sieber (Ohio State University)
  14. Mei Sun (National Central University)
  15. Tian Yuan Tan (SOAS, University of London)
  16. Will Tosh (Shakespeare’s Globe)
  17. Nick Walton (The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust)
  18. Ayling Wang (National Sun Yat-sen University)
  19. Shih-pe Wang (National Chung-Cheng University)
  20. Stanley Wells (The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust)
  21. Stephen West (Arizona State University)
  22. Yongming Xu (Zhejiang University)

Invite Only.  Registration is now closed (over subscribed). 

Sponsored by:
  • The Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange
  • SOAS Faculty of Languages and Cultures
  • SOAS China Institute
  • National Chung-Cheng University
  • Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Organiser: SOAS, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, National Chung Cheng University

Contact email:

Contact Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4892/3