Shakespeare Captured Live in Hong Kong Cinema


Research output: Other Conference ContributionsAbstractpeer-review


Film-theatre hybridity in the form of broadcast-live digital relays of performances of plays, operas and ballets via the cinema screen has captured the imagination of audiences worldwide, not least in the former British colony of Hong Kong. Since arriving in Hong Kong cinemas in recent years this commercial practice of 'Event Cinema', has mushroomed in 'Asia's World City'. Although outside the U.S. and the U.K. such putatively 'live' performances are in reality recorded and edited for the global market, in HK, as in other cities across the world, screenings of NT Live, RSC Live and Globe on Screen performances appear
to retain their 'virtual liveness' when screened in Hong Kong cinemas, raising fascinating ontological and phenomenological questions about the quality of 'liveness' and the interpretation of attendance and presence. Philip Auslander's (Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture) and Martin Barker's (Live To Your Local Cinema: The Remarkable Rise of Livecasting) will inform the theoretical analysis of my paper.

The purpose of the paper is to explore the interface between Shakespeare performances live in theatres and Shakespeare performances ‘live’ in cinema in HK compared with the UK experience, with reference to concepts including mediativity, intermediality, cultural mobility and Shakespearean iconicity It will also discuss whether aesthetic/artistic criteria for audiences, as well as knowledge of texts in a second language, are necessarily subordinate to those of actor star-status - naturally prominent in the publicity - and a sense of cultural elitism/superiority among Anglophone audiences. In the process it will consider questions of Chinese language subtitling, as mandated by the city's trilingual, biliterate public policy, and assess the extent to which the practice contributes to the city's sense of cosmopolitan identity.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2017
EventESRA Conference 2017: Shakespeare and European Theatrical Cultures: AnAtomizing Text and Stage - University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk, Poland
Duration: 27 Jul 201730 Jul 2017


ConferenceESRA Conference 2017
OtherEuropean Shakespeare Research Association (ESRA)
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Accepted abstract.


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