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Trans-Forum Theatre Criticism around the World #2: China

The Continuity after the Culture Fractures of the 1990s
—An observation of Chinese Contemporary Theatre Criticism

Wednesday 23 February 2022 11.00 (GMT)

What is Trans-Forum?

This online forum organised by the AICT/IATC Japanese section aims to initiate a vigorous discussion about theatre criticism with global members to enhance our international partnership. In so doing, we would like to seek what we, theatre critics, can do for theatres that have continued to experience a challenging time since the pandemic began. Every two months, we invite a guest speaker nominated among our international members to share the current climate of theatre criticism in their country. Two discussants from the Japanese section also accompany the online symposium.

Guest Speaker

ZHU Ning (PhD, Associate Professor China Centra Academy of Drama)

As a theatre professor and critic, ZHU Ning published many articles, such as Shakespeare on Chinese Traditional Xiqu Stage, A Gaze From The Live To The Dead-Kantor’ Death Theatre, The Revival of the Classic, From The Peeper In The Darkness to the Conspirators In the Theatre, The Feminism On The Western Stage, From ‘Textural’ Catharsis to ‘Physical ’Catharsis, etc. She also worked as playwright/dramaturg. Her works include: The Peach Blossom Fan (produced by China Central Academy of Drama, selected into the state project “Introducing Classic Arts into Campus” in 2019), Romance of The West Chamber (musical,2018), I Love Fables (child play, starring by Chinese renowned Kidvid host and hostess,2014), Dandelion (as script planner,2018)


As Chinese theatres have welcomed an optimistic development in the second decade of the 21st century before the pandemics, the theatre criticism became active unexpectedly. Comparing with that in the previous two decades, the theatre criticism of status quo has some new phenomena. Critics are not a separate small circle any longer, and theatre criticism has not been limited in a small academic world, as it used to be. It has attracted more and more readers. Many of the readers, even writers, are not theatre practitioners. We could not neglect the culture fractures in the 1990s before the thriving of theatre criticism around 2008, at the time theatre criticism was at low tide. How do we understand the new phenomenon of Chinese theatre criticism? What is the connection before the culture fractures in the 1990s and the prosperity before the pandemics?



TANAKA Nobuko has been a full-time theatre journalist for more than 20 years since gaining an M.A. in Arts Management from the City University in London in 1999. She has been writing stage reviews and features regularly for The Japan Times, Japan’s top-selling English-language daily newspaper, since 2001. She also writes Japanese- and English-language articles for stage magazines, other publications and websites, and translates and contributes to theater programs. In addition, she is currently the company manager for several Japanese artists who will perform in a Japan Festival at the Coronet Theatre in London in 2022. Her bilingual website is at www.jstages.com. Her Japanese theatre review blog is at https://ameblo.jp/nobby-drama.


MORIYAMA Naoto is a theatre critic, and a professor of Japanese modern and contemporary theatre at Kyoto University of Art and Design; a senior Researcher of Kyoto Performing Arts Center (KPAC), and a co-editor of Performing Arts (published by KPAC). He was the chair of the executive committee of KYOTO EXPERIMENT (Kyoto International Performing Arts Festival) from 2012 to 2019.

Zoom Link

Please join the online forum by clicking the link below.


Meeting ID: 836 9257 3108
Passcode: 831703

Programme Coordinators: Seki Tomoko, Terao Ehito, Takehito Mitsui (takehito.mitsui@me.com) AICT/IACT Japanese Section