Theatre occupied a particularly important place in the life of the elite, for whom owning a theatre troupe was highly fashionable and for whom theatre performances were an integral part of formal gatherings, various rituals and ceremonies. Based on an exploration of original historical records, including comparisons with other forms of ancient theatre, Shen provides an overview of elite theatre in Ming China and examines the details of theatrical performance.

chapter 1|10 pages

Historical overview

chapter 2|11 pages

Previous scholarship

chapter 3|14 pages

Literati owners

chapter 4|9 pages

Actors’ backgrounds

chapter 5|13 pages

Actor training

chapter 6|10 pages

Owner–performer relations

chapter 7|7 pages

Sexist criteria

chapter 8|14 pages

The play as foreplay

chapter 9|10 pages

Singing and dancing

chapter 10|12 pages


chapter 11|18 pages


chapter 12|15 pages

Performance space

chapter 13|26 pages

Performance theory