Circling Beyond the Pacific: Asian Canadian Theatre and Performance

“Circling Beyond the Pacific: Asian Canadian Theatre and Performance”

Moderator: Siyuan Liu

The breadth and depth of Canadian theatre scholarship in the twenty-first century indicates a healthy interest in work that speaks of intercultural and transnational realities, migration, and notions of belonging and citizenship. Asian Canadian theatre is a ripe field for investigating such topics; it operates, on the one hand, within the dominant lingua franca (English), and on the other hand, offers audiences a range of cultural narratives, representations and metaphors not often found within the Euro-Canadian theatre. As a relatively new field, Asian Canadian theatre has already revealed its potential to renew theatre aesthetics while fostering a more inclusive Canadian theatre culture.

Asian Canadian theatre has moved deftly between genres and forms, integrating technology in a manner that audiences have found appealing and innovative. Tetsuro Shigematsu’s Empire of the Son and One Hour Photo and Ins Choi’s Kim’s Convenience (stage version and TV-series) have literally and figuratively proved that a single-run “shelf-life” for new Canadian plays need not be accepted as de rigueur. Asian Canadian theatre seems not only able in its ability to attract audiences and build alliances but also seems well-positioned to address issues of representation and inclusion. To this end, this curated panel examines productions through typical modes (semiotics, dramatic or performance analysis) while also encouraging critical reflections and contextualizing of the field itself.

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