Women in Asian Performance: Aesthetics and politics, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Women in Asian Performance

Aesthetics and politics, 1st Edition

Edited by Arya Madhavan


206 pages | 3 B/W Illus.

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Women in Asian Performance offers a vital re-assessment of women's contributions to Asian performance traditions, focusing for the first time on their specific historical, cultural and performative contexts.

Arya Madhavan brings together leading scholars from across the globe to make an exciting intervention into current debates around femininity and female representation on stage. This collection looks afresh at the often centuries-old aesthetic theories and acting conventions that have informed ideas of gender in Asian performance. It is divided into three parts:

  • erasure – the history of the presence and absence of female bodies on Asian stages;
  • intervention – the politics of female intervention into patriarchal performance genres;
  • reconstruction – the strategies and methods adopted by women in redefining their performance practice.

Establishing a radical, culturally specific approach to addressing female performance-making, Women in Asian Performance is a must-read for scholars and students across Asian Studies and Performance Studies.

Table of Contents


Arya Madhavan



The woman thing: issues and advances for women in Sundanese performance

Kathy Foley

Women in a man’s world: gender and power in Japanese noh theatre

Barbara Geilhorn

"Just like a woman": female impersonation, gender construction and role playing in Begum Barve

Angelie Multani

Feminist Asian cosmopolitanism in Singapore tango clubs

Shzr Ee Tan

Stars on the rise: the jingju actresses in Republican China

Xing Fan



Between roars and tears: towards the female kathakali

Arya Madhavan

"Ruined by several actresses who added lewd elements": the popularity of emerging actresses in Chinese jingju (Beijing opera) and the censorship of two plays

Siyuan Liu

Theatre of Kishida Rio: towards re-signification of "home" for women in Asia

Nobuko Anan

Foreign female interventions in traditional Asian arts: Rebecca Teele and Cristina Formaggia

Margaret Coldiron

An unexpected voice: performance, gender, and protecting tradition in Korean mask dance dramas

CedarBough T. Saeji



Rasatrialogue: the politics of the female body in Asian performance

Sreenath Nair

Nangiar kuthu: interference, intervention and inheritance

Diane Daugherty

Women in British Asian theatre

Graham Ley

About the Editor

Arya Madhavan is Senior Lecturer in Performing Arts at the University of Lincoln, UK, and a practising kutiyattam performer.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / General