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Key Moments in Chinese Drama History

1906 The Spring Willow Drama Club formed by Chinese students studying in Japan is considered the foundation of Chinese modern drama.

1907 The club puts on a trial performance of the third act of the classic The Lady of the Camellias - the first drama performed by the Chinese in the Chinese language. The club premieres a five-act play based on the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin , and establishes an unprecedented form of drama in China: the first drama script and the first complete drama performance.

1918 Xin Cun Zheng is regarded as the first modern drama in China in terms of realism.

1928 Modern Chinese drama derived from Western theatre is named Hua Ju (spoken drama), designed to be distinguished from traditional Chinese operas.

1934 Chinese drama gains new levels of popularity in July with the publication of Thunderstorm in Literature Quarterly Volume 1 No.3. The author, Cao Yu, later to become China's most renowned drama artist, is just 22 and the play is his debut drama work. It's estimated that Thunderstorm is the most performed play in China. It is a full-length modern drama that features complex relationships among the members and servants of a large well-off family, and focuses on family disintegration as a result of corruption in old China. The son, Zhou Puyuan, has an affair with the family maid, Shi Ping, and she bears him two children. After he marries a wealthy woman he keeps the son, Zhou Ping, and drives Shi Ping away with the daughter, Si Feng. Shi Ping marries a butler, Lu Gui, and they struggle to raise Si Feng. Unconscious of their consanguinity, Zhou Ping and Si Feng fall in love with each other. A tangled family history is played out only to culminate in a tragic end.

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The Dramatic Story of Drama
Modern Chinese drama was born in a tough time when China's old and stumbling feudal society was collapsing and a new one was not yet built. Many young Chinese intellectuals were endeavoring to create a new culture with the help of Western ideas. Hence modern drama was employed as a weapon to express their political and social demands
Theater Needs a Lifeline
The birth of modern drama, once considered an alien art form, and its evolution in China, are a mirror of the social changes the country has gone through
Cultural Fusion on Stage
BPAT's localization of foreign plays has been so successful that it has attracted a large number of followers, but imitators have struggled to reach the same level of popularity
College Theatre Festival: Dramatic Dreams
"The future master of Chinese drama will probably emerge from college theatre enthusiasts. In other words, caring for them means protecting Chinese drama," said Yang Qianwu
Pu Cunxin: Realizing the Chinese Dream
In an exclusive interview with Beijing Review, Pu Cunxin speaks about his love for theatre and expresses his undying solidarity towards this ancient art form
Lin Zhaohua: Theatre Without Boundaries
Director Lin Zhaohua of the BPAT shares his views on Poet Li Bai and Chinese theatre, in an exclusive interview with Beijing Review
Directing Plays in Beijing
A group of French and Chinese theatre lovers share their passion for acting
“I will keep on directing plays as long
as I can move. And I will be in the
audience seats when I am too old to
move,” Lin once said.
As for myself, I believed my breakthrough would be in redesigning stage art by rebelling against existing rules.
The playwright remains the soul of a play. A good tradition of Chinese plays is putting a focus on real life.

Now the stage is short of excellent comedies and excellent stage comedians. We hope we can create more plays and cultivate a generation of comedy talent.

One good thing about stage performance is that it can inspire quick progress in acting in a short period of time.
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