1st Edition

Contemporary Chinese Queer Performance

By Hongwei Bao Copyright 2023
    170 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    170 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In this ground-breaking study, Hongwei Bao analyses queer theatre and performance in contemporary China.

    This book documents various forms of queer performance – including music, film, theatre, and political activism – in the first two decades of the twenty first century. In doing so, Bao argues for the importance of performance for queer identity and community formation. This trailblazing work uses queer performance as an analytical lens to challenge heteronormative modes of social relations and hegemonic narratives of historiography.

    It will be of great interest to students and scholars of theatre and performance studies, gender and sexuality studies and Asian studies.

    List of figures

    List of abbreviations

    Notes on translation, transliteration, and names



    Part I. Performing queer memory

    1. A queer way of life: Ren Hang’s photography
    2. Post socialist structures of feeling: Coming out in global queer cinema
    3. Part II. Mediating queer activism

    4. ‘Gently change the world with singing’: Beijing Queer Chorus and queer audibility
    5. Performing queer at the theatre–documentary convergence: Fan Popo’s screen activism
    6. Part III. Enacting intercultural communication

    7. Theatre of Cruelty: Performing queer desire in East Palace, West Palace
    8. About My Parents and Their Child: Intergenerational communication in transcultural documentary theatre
    9. Sharing food, vulnerability, and intimacy: The digital performance of the queer diaspora in a global pandemic




    Hongwei Bao is Associate Professor in Media Studies at the University of Nottingham, UK

    ''Offering in-depth analyses of a wide range of queer performance in the People’s Republic of China in the post-Mao era, Contemporary Chinese Queer Performance is an excellent project of queer theatre and performance in the contemporary PRC context. This interdisciplinary research makes a prominent contribution to the existing literature on LGBTQ identities and communities through the lens of performance culture. Ranging from theatre, performance art, music, photography, and digital media to social activism, the dynamic interplay between cultural texts and practices is closely examined to unravel the pivotal role played by performance in shaping contemporary queer public culture in China and the Chinese diaspora.''  Dy Siyang Cao, Feminist Encounters 

    'The thoroughly up-to-date and theoretically savvy book covers an ambitiously wide and heuristically diverse range of works, ranging from photography, narrative and documentary films, China’s music scene, theatre (with a case study of such renowned productions as East Palace, West Palace, one of the first publicly performed gay plays in China), documentary theatre, and digital performance in the diaspora during the pandemic of COVID-19 [...] Through these case studies, Hongwei Bao makes a case for the political and cultural significance of performing queer identities as well as of forming communities through such performances.' Dr Alexa Alice JoubinChinese Literature and Thought Today

    ‘Contemporary Chinese Queer Performance splendidly stands out in its cohesive and rigorous effort to de-westernize and decolonize queerness … As the first monograph on queer theatres and performances in PRC, this book spotlights the overlooked and marginalized materials in English and Chinese academia, opens a comprehensive, interdisciplinary, and intersectional conversation, and sets a foundation for further research.’ Zhen Cheng, Asian Theatre Journal

    New Books Network podcast about the book is available here