Environmental Theatre

Selected Asian models

Authored by: Kathy Foley

The Routledge Companion to Scenography

Print publication date:  October  2017
Online publication date:  September  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138917804
eBook ISBN: 9781315688817
Adobe ISBN:


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The advent of purpose-built theatres (especially indoor theatres) in many areas of Asia was relatively rare prior to the eighteenth century, but we do find early open-stage models discussed in India’s N??ya??stra (Book of Dance/Drama, 200 bce–200 ce). Often open-air stages existed in temples for dasiattam (ritual temple female dance) in India, in shrines or palaces for bugaku/gagaku in Japan from the seventh century or for n? from the fourteenth century, or for various forms of Chinese regional xiqu (traditional opera) especially during the Ching Dynasty (1644–1911). Outdoor markets, a square in front of a palace, temple grounds, dry riverbeds, and other sites were multi-use spaces where performers presented on the ground or a raised platform. In some cases a whole village/city might, during a festival period, be repurposed to highlight religio-, political-, historical-dramas. In most areas processional performances were popular.

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