This volume is the first concise introduction to the splendid variety of the Chinese theatrical tradition. It presents a rounded perspective on the development of Chinese theater by considering all of its major aspects—history and social context, performance, costume, makeup, actors, playwrights, and theaters—and by discussing all the major forms of Chinese theater, including the Beijing opera, which arose in the eighteenth century, and the spoken play, an entirely twentieth-century form.
Its contributors are uniquely qualified to write about the Chinese theater. They have enjoyed an intimate relationship with their subject, both as academics and as theater workers, and they have combined a deep knowledge of Chinese theater with a high regard for its long tradition and continuing vitality.
The book is intended for general as well as more specialized readers. Those with an interest in theater as a worldwide phenomenon and those wanting a new light on Chinese culture and society will find it equally useful. To those with a particular interest in Chinese theater, it will be a rich and important resource.