Staging China
is a Project

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Collaborator There are 16 more objects.
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Has principal investigator Ruru Li
Has co-investigator Susan Daniels
Output There are 86 more objects.
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Impact Cultural and social impact is embedded in the engagement of policy makers, creative & cultural industries professionals, theatre audiences and school pupils. Given current global dynamics, cross-cultural understanding between China and the West is of unprecedented significance. The use of culture by the Chinese government as an efficient tool is more explicit than in the UK, and understanding this is important for those directly involved in government and corporate decision-making and for an increasing number of citizens who find themselves working together in diverse contexts. It is exemplified by the initial contact that the RSC made to the PI when the company was considering to produce a Chinese play. It is evident that a network like this is demanded by the arts sector. The project offers an efficacious mechanism to improve cross-cultural understanding in a genuinely transnational and dialogic setting. Understanding how theatrical translation can influence inter-national perceptions is a valuable tool for public and private organisations. The University of Leeds has robust and innovative methods for the support of knowledge exchange and impact activity. It has recently invested £850k in each of the PI and CI's Faculties to establish two transformational research projects - 'Arts Engaged' and 'Culture, Society, Innovation' - supported by a team of impact research fellows. These two projects are linked by a HEIF funded 'Creative Exchange Hub' and dedicated business manager who works with the School/Faculty Director of 'Innovation and Impact' to link research to business and public engagement. The system provides personnel and financial resources. Cross sector partnerships are a key strategy in the pursuit of the creation and dissemination of knowledge. For example, both Faculties are leading members of DARE the University's contractual partnership with Opera North, both have a successful record in AHRC collaborative doctorates, both provide regular consultancy t the cultural industries. Commercialisation opportunities - audience development, the application of drama within social/community education - are actively sought. Both PI and CI are experienced in working with partners from the third sector. Among the proposed activities, 1 and part of 2 will cover exhibition, workshop, and roundtable discussion of productions and interpretations of a classical Chinese play The Orphan including that of the RSC. Participants - school pupils, theatre professionals and the general public - will gain knowledge of the Chinese morality of sacrifice, friendship, bravery and justice, and be challenged to ponder the relevance of, and connections between, cultural heritage and contemporary life. Activity 6 focuses on two theatre companies in the UK and in China. By helping the West Yorkshire Playhouse and Sichuan People's Art Theatre achieve an intercultural production, individual artists and audiences will gain tremendous knowledge about the other's culture. The two companies will use the project to understand the ways in which such international development could be made an integral part of their respective structures and repertoires. Theatre in Education is a new and sought after aspect of drama in China. It is one of the strengths of the WYP and UoL, and the SPAT will particularly consider how the UK approaches can be transferred and sustained after the project. The Cao Yu project, in which the PI, CI and many partners have been involved, continues in the UK, North America and in China. Due to its variety of activities of exhibition, film screening, public lecture and performance, the project has impact on people at different levels. Initial dialogue has started between the network and the Shanghai cultural sector about adopting it as a model of culture outreach. The planned future development of repository of stage productions, which will be used by academics, theatre professionals and the general public, will sustain this impact.
Status Closed
Identifier AH/K003577/1
abstract Network partners The project is a cross sector partnership between universities and the theatre area of the cultural industries. The core institutions will be represented on the steering committee: the Universities of Leeds, Newcastle, Zhejiang, Nanjing, California Davis, British Columbia, and Queensland with the Royal Shakespeare Company, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Sichuan Peoples' Art Theatre. These institutions are leaders in their fields with international profiles which will be further enhanced by this proposed network. The RSC's first production of a Chinese play 'The Orphan of Zhao' (a 13th century classical play based on historical events during 600-500BC yet with period transcending themes) provides a good topic for the network to examine how China and Chinese culture are presented in intracultural, intercultural and transcultural theatre productions, and how languages and translations play a key role in stage productions to form or to alter people's perception of others' cultures. Academic outputs in the funding period (01/2013 - 08/2014) We will carry out conventional and practice-led research (University of Leeds is an international leader for both), workshops for the future plan of the repository of stage productions, development of curricula on translating Chinese drama, and practical work involving professionals and general public. Through these activities, the network attempts to seek answers to the following research questions and related issues, allowing for further definition, clarification or alteration during the course of the project. Primary question and related issues How is China constructed and projected through intra/inter/trans-cultural stage productions in Chinese (including different dialects) and in English, and how can research into languages and translations contribute to understanding of the perceptions of China? To answer the overarching question, the following will be addressed through proposed activities: 1. Why has the ancient play 'The Orphan' (first written in the 13th century based on historical events during 600-500BC) fascinated so many artists? What images do various Chinese productions (in the styles of indigenous song-dance theatre, Western-inspired spoken drama and Western opera) and now that of the RSC's attempt to create? How can a classical Chinese play be made relevant to today's British/ Chinese youth and how do we tackle language, culture and generation barriers? 2. Is 'translation' involved in theatre even within China's own territories? Does 'translation' only mean 'verbal rendition' and what happens when a written text transfers to performance and travels from one regional genre to another in different dialects and stage vocabulary? What levels of translation are involved when an English poet adapts 'The Orphan' to be directed and performed by British artists? How does the intracultural encounter contribute to the intercultural work? 3. How does theatre shape perception of China and Chinese culture through the languages and translations it involves? 4. What skills gaps exist in the UK, and what strategies exist to fill those gaps i.e. to help students build the capacity to tackle complicated language and culture issues in translations? The introduction of a new module 'Translating Chinese Drama' at Newcastle University will serve as a case study. 5. How can intercultural theatres develop, based on a genuine dialogue in the highly complex global cultural landscape, engaging issues from broader perspectives involved in languages and translations? 6. How can digital technology be used to share knowledge and expertise on Chinese theatre and to enrich international and intercultural engagement?
Type Project
Label Staging China
Title Staging China

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