SOAS University of London

SOAS scholar explores UK and China relations through Shakespeare and Tang Xianzu

10 March 2016

Dr Tian Yuan Tan, Reader in Chinese Studies at SOAS University of London, has co-edited a book that explores cross-culturally the worlds of theatre in the time of William Shakespeare and Tang Xianzu.

1616: Shakespeare and Tang Xianzu's China, co-edited by Paul Edmondson, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and Shih-pe Wang, National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan, focuses on a year of significance in the history of both Chinese and English theatres. Leading playwrights Tang Xianzu and Shakespeare both died in 1616. This was also the same year that saw the publishing of the Chinese drama anthology Yuanqu xuan (Selection of Yuan plays) and Ben Jonson's (1572-1637) First Folio, which changed our impression of drama writing in both countries. Four hundred years on and Shakespeare is now an important meeting place for Anglo-Chinese cultural dialogue in the field of drama studies.

The book was the result of a conference ‘Brave New Theatres: 1616 in China and England’ held in June 2014 (the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth). SOAS, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the National Chung Cheng University of Taiwan gathered 20 scholars together to reflect on the theatrical practice of four hundred years ago and to ask: what does such an exploration mean culturally for us today?

This ground-breaking study offers fresh insights into the respective theatrical worlds of Shakespeare and Tang Xianzu and asks how the brave new theatres of 1616 may have a vital role to play in the intercultural dialogue of our own time.

For more information visit the official website for the book.