Joint International Federation for Theatre Research Regional Conference (IFTR-Asia) and Asian Theatre Working Group Colloquium 2018

A growing interest in the body as a starting point of discourse is seen in the past decades. Even theatre studies has been involved on scrutinising the body as an important performance aspect. In Western theatre practice, physical theatre is a well-articulated practical approach for understanding the body vis-à-vis theatre and performance. However, the increasing number of the most influential theorizations and conceptualizations has primarily, if not exclusively, focused on how the cultures in the West (Europe and the Americas) conceive it.

Taking the cue from Bryan Turner and Zheng Yangwen, it is important to note that peoples in Asia have experienced colonisation, decolonization and now globalisation albeit different modalities. These contexts, as suggested by Turner and Zheng, are important socio-political and historical factors for understanding the Asian body. With this, Bodies in/and Asian Theatres is envisioned to contribute to the study of the body, particularly its functions and placements in the different performances in the Asian region.

On the occasion of Kat(h)awan [a contraction of katha (creative creation) and katawan (body)] or the celebration of the University of the Philippines Diliman Month 2018 vis-à-vis the National Arts Month in the Philippines in February, Bodies in/and Asian Theatres invokes the Asian bodies as creative and critical entities.

The Joint 2018 Asian Theatre Working Group Colloquium and International Federation for Theatre Research Regional Conference (IFTR-Asia) attempts to answer these general questions: What do we mean when we talk about bodies in Asian theatres and performances? What do we mean when we talk about Asian bodies in different performances outside the region? How does theatre affect the way we think about the bodies of Asians?

Possible sub-themes include but not limited to the following:

  • The Spectacularization of the Body in Asia (What does it mean when we think of the acrobatics in China, the thaipusam devotees in Malaysia and Singapore, ta’ziyeh devotees in the Middle East, the magdarame or self-flagellants in the Philippines as actors/performers? What is the implication of associating Asian rituals involving bodily spectacles or self-inflicted pains as theatre and performance?)
  • Performing Queer Asian Bodies (What does it mean to be an "Asian Queer" vis-à-vis theatre and performance? What is the relationship of the queer and the body in Asian performances?)
  • Performing Displaced Bodies (Issues on representing the Asian immigrant/emigrant in theatre and performance. What is the implication of being Asian in Euro-American theatre?)
  • Gendered Bodies. (What are the representations and ideologies of the masculine and feminine bodies in Asian Theatre and Performance? What does it mean when the masculine body is performed by a female body or vice versa?)
  • Asian Bodies Recuperated (Many theorizations in theatre, performance and cultural studies took inspiration from performing bodies of Asians, issues and implications of such theories in general critical thinking)
  • Disembodiments (What does it mean when a body is treated as a formless creature in Asian societies?)
  • The Body as Medium (When the body is treated as a "medium" in theatre and performance, what does it mediate?)
  • Asian Corporeality and/in Choreography (Body-centered performance practices in Asia also provide vital sites for exploring the convergence of thought and action)
  • The Asian Body as Method (Exploring the possibility of the body – the Asian body – in performance as a starting point of philosophising and intellectualising)

Dates to Remember:

Submission of Abstract 15 August 2017 to 15 September 2017

Notification of acceptance begins on 2 October 2017

Registration opens on 1 November 2017

Conference dates 20 - 23 February 2018

For inquiries, please contact Dr. Sir Anril Pineda TIATCO at For members of the Asian Theatre Working Group, please contact Dr. NAGATA Yasushi at

Asian Theatre WG Sao Paulo Meeting Program

11 July, Tuesday, 9:00~ 11:00  

Meewon Lee

De-territorialization of Traditional Theatrical Forms among China, Korea and Japan: the Joint Production of the Story of Choonhyang

Galia Petkova

Theatricalities of Power and gender in Traditionla Japanese Drama and Balinese Performance

12, July, Wednesday, 11:00~ 12:30

Kumara Swamy

Making of THR MONKEY KINGS: Experienceing Inter Asian Theatre Ciltures through practice

12:30~14:00  General Meeting WG

12, July, Wednesday, 14:00~15:30

Sir Anril Pineda Tiatco

Performing the Contemporary in Manila: Representing the Domestic Helper or the Dilemma in Staging Social Problem Play

Raina M.K.

Bhands of Kashmir and terrorism

14, July, Friday, 11:00~ 12:30

Tsu-Chung Su

Fillip Zarrilli’s Asian Formula: A critical Study of His Psychophysical Approach to Acting

Yasushi Nagata

Trans-Geographical Trials of the Jokyo Theatre Comapny



We just finished Asian Theatre Working Group Stockholm Meeting!
The WG meeting was really exciting and greatly success. We received over 30 applicants at first this time, so we was forced to move many of these to other sessions, General Panel, WG curated panel and Joint panel with other WGs. It’s really pity we didn’t accept all papers in WG sessions, however, it became really useful, informative and learning one. It seems to me the papers were discussed in variable angles and concerns. And also the papers described not only Asian theatre’s drama, directing or acting methodology, but its intercultural discourse, postcolonial conciseness and a kind of inter-asian mythology. As a result, the papers, Asian theatres and performances past and present, have greatly expressed the diversity of their roots, faces and functions. Thank you again for your attending and discussion.
We will prepare next WG meeting in Jaipur, as we have talked about. We will make things detailed clear, we will inform all of you soon. Please wait for a while. And of course, I will finish editing an anthology in this summer, I’m so sorry to take such a long time to do this, you will could see this in this year. We talked about the next, means second anthology, at the last session, we think to go ahead next year. It’s happy to hold some papers in Singapore colloquium and Stockholm this time together to this second one. We will announce you all about this soon.
We will upload some reports and photos to Web site or FB, please wait a bit we will do these gradually over time. So thank you again, and see you next time!

Asian Theatre Working Group Stockholm Meeting, Program

13 June, Monday

  • 9:00~10:30
  • 11:00~12:30
  • 14:00~15:30

14 June, Tuesday

  • 9:00~10:30

16 June, Thursday

  • 10:30~12:30
  • 16:00~17:30

9:00~10:30, 13 June, Monday , Contemporary Asian Puppet and Marionette theatre

Lia Wenching LIANG

Taiwan, National Tsing Hua University

“March on, join bravely”: Wang Chia-ming’s first Journey with Shakespearei’s Richard III


Seokhun CHOI

South Korea, Yonsei University, South Korea

Breakdance, Video, and Stage Presence: The Role of Media in the Live Performance of The Marionette, a Popular Korean B-Boy Show



11:00~12:30, 13 June, Monday, Intercultural Asian Theatre Past and Present            

Shih-Lung LO

Taiwan, Paul Valery University-Montpellier III, France

From Adrienne Lecouvreur to Yun Caixia: Adaptation of French Well-Made Play on the Modern Chinese Stage


Tsu-Chung SU

Taiwan, National Taiwan Normal University

Asian Theatre or Otherwise: A Revisit of Peter Brook’s The Mahabharata



14:00~15:30, 13 June, Monday, Asian Aesthetic of theatre and Performance

Yingying XIAO

Chinese, University Normal of Nanjing

Who is and where is the real subject of perceive in the aesthetic process?



Republic of Korea, Korean Theatre Studies Association(Seoul, Korea)

Performing the Aesthetics of Zen Buddhism: Asian Performances of ‘Non-duality(不二)


9:00~10:30, 14 June, Tuesday, History of Asian Theatre and Modernity            

Jonah SALZ & Rachel Payne

USA, Ryukoku university

Borders and bridges: adventures in mapping Japanese theatre history



India, S N School of Arts & Communication University

Nationalism, Modernity and Knowledge Production: Shaping the Terrain of Modern Theatre in Post Colonial India


Meewon LEE

Korea (south), Korean National University of Arts

Modernization, the pivotal turning point of Korean theatre History



10:30~12:30, 16 June, Thurday, Traditional Theatre in Asia          

Hsiao-Mei HSIEH

Taiwan, National Taiwan University

Experimental Traditional Theatre in Taiwan: The Emergence of Taiwanese New Xiqu




Fictive Femininity on Stage Physical Techniques in Asian Classical Theatre and Dance Traditions


Hyunshik JU

South Korea, Institute of Media Arts Culture, Kyonggi University

Traditional Korean Masked Dance Drama and Historiography of Emotions


Tove Johanna Bjoerk

Finland, Saitama University

The Literacy of an Early Modern Kabuki Actor – Browsing the Library of Ichikawa Danjūrō II



16:00~17:30, 16 June, Thurday, Performing Asian Past and Society          


Iran, Islamic Azad University, Shiraz Branch

The role of theater in voicing Iranian history based on the analysis of Bahram Beyza’ee’s drama


Yasushi NAGATA

Japanese, Osaka University

Performing Asian Geographical Past: on Production of ‘Sealing Betal Palm’ by Karagumi, 1992


Kirstin PAUKA

German, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Contemporary Balinese =Wayang Listrik (shadow theatre) as an reinterpretation of the theatrical past: a case study of the UHM Asian Theatre Program production of “Subali-Sugriwa-Battle of the Monkey Kings”.








Joint Panel with Religion and Performance WG              

Kumara Swamy GADDA

Telangana Samskruthika Sarathi(TSS), India

Mythical Narratives clad in Ritual Performance, Configuring community identity: A study of Mallanna Katha(Stories) of Komuravelli in Telangana, India



Sponsored Panel, Presenting Korean Past in Post-colonial Age

Chair: Meewon LEE


Jung Gyung SONG

Yonsei University, South Korea

The Diasporic Trauma as a Cornerstone of Julia Cho’s The Architecture of Loss


Ka-eul YOO

Yonsei University, South Korea

Politics of Remembering the Dynamics of GI Towns in Korea in Ilgopzipmae


Sang Woo Lee, Korea University, South Korea

To Challenge the Conventions in Colonial Korea : The Case of An actress Yoon Shim-duk



Moving to General Panel                  

Chair: Yasushi NAGATA


Tapati GUPTA

Calcutta University, Indian

Performing Narrative: Tradition & Modernity



University of the Arts Helsinki – Theatre Academy, Finnish

The Heroic Body of Asia: Reflections on Presenting Asian Warriors on Western Stage


Hayato KOSUGE,

Keio University, Japan

Staging Past Disasters with Butoh Dance: Ohno Yoshito’s “Flower and Bird/Inside and Outside” (2015)