Cao Yu and China's modern drama after the Thunderstorm -Commemorating Cao Yu's Centenary

Dr Li Ruru,  Department of East Asian Studies, University of Leeds

04.Oct.2010 13.00 - 14.00
University of Leeds - Leeds
This seminar is being given as part of the School of Performance and Cultural Industries regular seminar series.


Cao Yu (1910-96) is recognised as 'the most significant figure in the development of modern drama in China' (The Guardian January 16 1997). He is credited with aiding the non-indigenous type of spoken drama reach a degree of maturity in both form and audience reception in the mid-1930s. His early plays gained canonical status largely due to their artistry and skilful fusion of contemporary political themes.

Throughout China the 'Cao Yu Centenary' is being marked by a year of events including symposia, lectures, an international conference, exhibitions in mainland China, Hong Kong and Japan. 24 September was his 100th birthday and therefore the month saw the release of a TV documentary series Dramatic Poet Cao Yu, the publication of Cao Yu's pictorial biography, chronology, and a set of commemorative stamps. In addition to spoken drama productions of his works, performances of adaptations in ballet, opera and regional operas will continue until the end of the year.

Why is Cao Yu significant for modern Chinese drama? To what extent does his personal life affect his career? Where does modern drama stand in the 21st century? The speech will attempt to answer these questions. Participants will also have the opportunity to view three short clips of the spoken drama productions: Thunderstorm and Peking Man by Cao Yu, and WWW.COM by Yu Rongjun, a play depicting the urban life in today's Shanghai.