This book adopts a refreshing approach by examining Hokkien theatre in a region connected by maritime networks, notably southern Fujian, Taiwan, Kinmen and Singapore. It considers how regional theatre is shaped by broader socio-cultural and political contexts and the motivation to stay relevant in an era of modernisation and secularisation. Political domains are often marked out by land boundaries, but the sea concept denotes fluidity, allowing theatrical forms to spread across these 'land-bounded' societies and share a common language and culture.
"This is an insightful theatrical study on the web of Chinese cultural networks in southern China and Singapore, and by extension, between China and Southeast Asia in the twentieth century and beyond. Using diverse sources in multiple languages and extensive field ethnography, this is a ground-breaking study which is both didactic and inspiring."
- Lee Tong Soon, author of Chinese Street Opera in Singapore (University of Illinois, 2009).
"Focusing on Hokkien theatre, this book offers new insights into how Chinese performing art responds to geographical, temporal, and social changes. Historical sources in different languages are widely used to give access to the cultural characteristics of Hokkien theatre, offering valuable ethnographic reports on the contemporary practices of Hokkien theatre in Taiwan, Kinmen, and Singapore. The book comments on the changing ritualistic significance of Hokkien theatre, and help us understand how societies remember the past of a performing tradition, and shape its present."- Luo Ai Mei, Co-Editor of A Preliminary Survey of the Cantonese Eight Song Cycles in South China: History and Sources (2016)