BMO Lab Performance Infrastructures Series: Tarryn Li-Min Chun

When and Where

Friday, January 26, 2024 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Room H-12
BMO Lab, University College
15 King’s College Circle, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H7


***This event has been CANCELLED and will be rescheduled at a yet to be determined future date.***

Professor Tarryn Li-Min Chun will share a talk drawn from her forthcoming book, Revolutionary Stagecraft: Theatre, Technology, and Politics in Modern China (U Michigan Press, 2024), as the first event in the “Performance Infrastructures” series at the BMO Lab, coordinated by Douglas Eacho. CDTPS Professor Xing Fan will serve as a respondent. 

In this talk, Dr Chun will introduce her forthcoming book, Revolutionary Stagecraft: Theatre, Technology, and Politics in Modern China, which draws on a rich corpus of literary, historical, and technical materials to reveal a deep entanglement among technological modernization, political agendas, and the performing arts in 20th century China. This unique approach to Chinese theatre history combines a close look at plays themselves, performance practices, technical theatre details, and behind-the-scenes debates over “how to” make theatre amid the political upheavals of China’s revolutionary century. The book begins at a pivotal moment in the 1920s—when Chinese theatre artists began to import, use, and write about modern stage equipment—and ends in the 1980s when China's scientific and technological boom began. Overall, it argues for the importance of thinking Chinese theatre through technicity and situating material stage technologies equally in relation to their technical potential, their human use, and the social, political, economic, and cultural forces that influence them. In each of its case studies, Revolutionary Stagecraft reveals the complex and at times surprising ways in which Chinese theatre artists and technicians have envisioned and enacted their own revolutions through the materiality of the theatre apparatus.

The 2024 BMO Lab Winter Lecture Series, “Performance Infrastructures,” aims to broaden our conceptualization of the technological to include the broad array of tools, practices, and techniques that have determined the course of the modern performing arts — and our performative world. Guests will discuss the politics and aesthetics of theatre architecture, costume design, childcare, and lighting. In doing so, we hope to wrest upon the images of what kind of theatre counts for thinking about “media,” and which theatre artists count as engaging with “emerging technologies.”

Tarryn Li-Min Chun is Assistant Professor in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre at the University of Notre Dame. She is author of Revolutionary Stagecraft: Theater, Technology, and Politics in Modern China (University of Michigan Press, forthcoming June 2024) and co-editor with Xiaomei Chen and Siyuan Liu of Rethinking Socialist Theaters of Reform: Performance Practice and Debate in the Mao Era (University of Michigan Press, 2022). Her work has appeared in as Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, Prism, Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, TDR, and Asian Theatre Journal, and several edited volumes. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (USA) and numerous other awards. 

Please RSVP to attend this event. 

diagram of theatre lighting


15 King’s College Circle, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H7