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QUORUM Postgraduate Drama Seminar: Ashley Thorpe – Wednesday 28 March 2018

28th March 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Quorum welcomes Dr Ashley Thorpe (Royal Holloway, University of London) on Wednesday 28th March 2018. All Quorum events are free and open to everyone. Drinks and snacks provided.

Queen Mary University, London
Arts One Building, RR2

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The Arts Britain Utterly Ignored: Or, Arts Council Funding and State Intervention in British East Asian Theatre in the Late 1990s and Early 2000s

This paper maps the simultaneous existence of two British East Asian (BEA) theatre companies: Mu-Lan Theatre, which was founded in 1988 and folded in 2004, and Yellow Earth Theatre, which was launched in 1995 and continues into the present. It argues that by ending the funding for Mu-Lan in 2002 and revenue funding only one BEA theatre company (Yellow Earth Theatre), not only were Arts Council policies on diversity tokenistic, but they also seeded frustration amongst BEA practitioners about the narrow possibilities for participation in British theatre. The paper suggests that the logic of the “diversity of diversity” – a cornerstone of Arts Council policy – was not enacted. Until recently, an ongoing lack of funding for BEA theatre practitioners has paradoxically resulted in a growing plurality of voices, but as many continue to work without even basic expenses being covered, the paper suggests that BEA performance practice remained one of the arts that Britain has utterly ignored. The paper concludes by raising questions about Arts Council policy as it embarks on a new funding initiative for BEA theatre.

Ashley Thorpe is Senior Lecturer in Theatre in the Department of Drama, Theatre & Dance at Royal Holloway, University of London. He has published the monographs Performing China on the London Stage: Chinese opera and global power, 1759-2008 (Palgrave 2016), and The Role of the Chou (‘Clown’) In Traditional Chinese Drama: comedy, criticism and cosmology on the Chinese stage (Edwin Mellen Press, 2007). He is the co-editor of Contesting British Chinese Culture (forthcoming, Palgrave 2018) and British East Asian Plays (forthcoming, Aurora Metro, 2018). The co-founder of the Noh Training Project UK (in 2011) and member of the theatre company Theatre Nohgaku, he has also written an English language Noh play on the suffragette Emily Wilding Davison, which will be performed on Royal Holloway’s own Noh stage in May 2018.


28th March 2018
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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