Art vs. market? The cultural significance of theater arts in Taiwan and Great Britain

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The world theater has had many hats to wear: a form of popular
entertainment, a venture of artistic experiments, a site of ideological struggle, or
anything. In 1999, the new concept of ‘cultural industry’ knocked the ancient door of
the world theater, positioning it side by side with cinema, video game, or even
wedding photo-studio. This paper charts how the practice of “cultural industry” and
its primary economic concern have shaped and/or reshaped the cultural significance
of theater arts in the last decade.
I begin with the discussion of a field work research on “2008 Capital of Culture
in Liverpool,” in UK. I analyze how theater was employed as the means of crowd
attraction in the context of Britain in the 21st
century. I then make “thick
descriptions” of the oral history of some of Taiwan’s theater workers who began as
stage designer, actors, and even directors in the 1990s and continue to be so nowadays.
I probe into their changing discourse of theatre when facing the rising new concept of
“theater industry.” To chart the two modes of theater industry in Taiwan and in the
UK, I focus on how the British model of theater as part of the cultural industry is
adapted to Taiwan’s context and how it has been conceived of by the local theater
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 9 Dec 2009
EventInternational Conference on Visuality and Cultural Literacy: 視覺與文化識讀2009國際學術研討會 - Taiwan, Jhongli
Duration: 12 Dec 200913 Dec 2009


ConferenceInternational Conference on Visuality and Cultural Literacy


  • world theater
  • cultural industry


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