Insight Development Grants: February 2020 Competition

SSHRC Insight Development Grant

Professor Xing Fan was recently awarded a SSHRC Insight Development Grant for her project, “When the Classical Meets the Avant-Garde: Experimental Theatre in the Academy of Chinese Traditional Theatre.”
Xing’s project will fill in a missing chapter in Chinese contemporary theatre studies by examining productions at the Academy of Chinese Traditional Theatre as case studies for experimental theatre in the realm of traditional theatre. ACTT is the only post-secondary institute dedicated to traditional theatre in China. Experimental traditional theatre, despite its impressive popularity, is rarely featured in Anglophone scholarship on Chinese contemporary experimental theatre or in China’s state-sponsored media. This neglected domain can lead to exciting discoveries regarding contemporary Chinese people, society, and culture. For instance, how do we approach the marginalization of these productions in China’s public discourse, in juxtaposition with their actual mass appeal? How are such notions as “avant-garde,” “experimental,” and “little theatre” perceived and manifested when Chinese artists work with stylized, sometimes codified, traditional performing arts? How do we interpret the Academy’s active role in sponsoring experimental productions in the context of the avant-gardist reputed inherent anti-institutional intention?