UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Yellow Earth and Future Generation : correlations in British East Asian and Asian Canadian drama Leung, Parie Pui Yee


Since 1995 and 2002, London’s Yellow Earth Theatre (YET) and Toronto’s fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre Company have been producing work under the identity labels of “British East Asian theatre” and “Asian Canadian theatre” respectively. Emerging out of different socio-cultural contexts, the companies have nonetheless produced plays that address similar themes around mixed-race identities, immigration, and the experiences of first- and second-generation East Asians living in Britain and Canada. Despite burgeoning research on Asian Canadian theatre and British Chinese culture—developments that echo the pioneering directions of Asian American theatre scholarship—studies have tended to focus exclusively on cultural work produced by East Asian artists within the national boundaries of America, Canada and Australia. Inspired by two emotionally charged events that I attended in Toronto and in London that drew attention to the parallels between ethno-national theatre produced in different western cultures, this thesis investigates the background, mandates, and key works of two leading theatre companies in order to compare their dramatic strategies. Using data from published and unpublished scripts, published reviews and interviews, archival video where available, and the companies’ press and public material through their websites, this thesis argues that comparing theatre companies across ethno-national contexts can reveal insights about how familiar dramatic strategies such as the absurd, fantastical, spectral, and audience interaction, have additional import in identity-centred work.

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