Theatre, Technology and Humanity Converge in Chinese-UMD Theatre Collaboration

Photos by Dylan Singleton

The National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts (NACTA) and the School of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies (TDPS) embarked on a new collaboration on October 28 as part of the five-year partnership that created the bi-lingual co-production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

A NACTA contingent, including two junior professors and one graduate student will spend three weeks working in the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center with TDPS faculty, students and production staff, sharing each culture’s fundamental approach to theatrical production, stage management and theatre technology.  

The Chinese visitors will teach TDPS about their centuries-old approach to theatre training, which evolved from ancient customs that place high value on longevity and preservation of the Eastern Chinese Opera art form. The UMD team will share their stage management process, which typically includes a stage manager or technical director, freeing the director to focus on the performance and story-telling elements of the production.

“Seeing the one’s art from the lens of a different culture allows our students a rare perspective into their shared humanity and creative potential,” said Leigh Wilson Smiley, director of TDPS. “That insight makes us all better able to appreciate the transformative energy intrinsic to the performing arts.”

In the fall of 2014 the NACTA-TDPS partnership will continue with a theatre technology symposium in Beijing, which will include the Yale School of Drama and London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.