“Kunqu Masters on Chinese Theatrical Performance” Won Translation Award


American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR) recognizes Wintergreen Kunqu Society (WKS) sponsored English-book Kunqu Masters on Chinese Theatrical Performance with an Honorable Mention award under the 2023 Translation Prizecategory.

The award ceremony is held on November 10, 2023 at the ASTR annual conference in Providence, Rhode Island.  Chang Tong-Ching, president, and Charles Wilson, vice president, of the WKS presented at the ceremony to receive the award on behalf of the editor Josh Stenberg of the book.  

ASTR is a professional theater and performance academic research organization based in the United States. The recognition of this book at its annual conference award ceremony will increase people’s awareness of the art form of kunqu andattract scholars, teachers, and students of Asian performance, theatre, and dance to learn about kunqu performance.

Kunqu theatre is one of the oldest and most refined performing art with a history of 500 years in China, commonly known as the mother of Chinese classical theater. But it is still little known to the Western theatre community. The first milestone of Kunqu made in the Western performing art history was Lincoln Center’s 1999 production of a large kunqu play The Peony Pavilion” in New York.  It took 19 hours in 3 days to perform 55 episodes and caused a sensation in New York. The second milestone was the recognition of kunqu by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2001 as “a masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

The book Kunqu Masters on Chinese Theatrical Performance consists of translated performer narrations that illuminate how kunqu has been taught andtransmitted over the past century. This is the first English book focused on kunqu theatrical performance published in the West.  ASTR’s recognition of this kunqu book would be the third milestonekunqu will no longer be absent from the world theatrical stage

The purpose of WKS sponsored this translation is to create a record and faithfully present the development of kunqu performances and unique oral teaching process to Western art communities in English-language. In the past, this information was only available to those who are familiar with Chinese language and Chinese traditional theatre. Offer such information in English can provide useful teaching materials about kunqu to academic researchers, performers and theater lovers who do not understand Chinese language. This book demonstrates that the existing kunqu plays and performances in China are the brainchild of successive generations of artists, rather than the masterpieces of a few artists.

Kunqu Masters on Chinese Theatrical Performance obtained permission by Hong Kong Master Studio and selected 12 representative lectures from the 110 lectures of the Chinese edition published in 2015, covering the master actors of the four major kunqu troupes, funded and supervised by the Wintergreen Kunqu Society in the United States, and edited by Josh Stenberg who currently teaches at the University of Sydney in Australia and organized a team of 4 translators.  The translation began in 2016 and the book was published in September 2022.  It took the team six years to complete. Being recognized by the ASTR for the team’s hardwork is our biggest prize.


Language: English

Hardcover: 468 pages  

Price: £120.00 / $195.00

ISBN-10: 178527807X

ISBN-13: 978-1785278075

Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.6 x 22.86 cm

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