April 8, 2022

Song of the Female Textile Workers, Past, Present and the Future

U.K.-China Performance and the Creative Economy

Event Series: China and the West: Cultural Dialogues

Showing the Song of the Female Textile Workers, Past, Present and the Future Video

Song of the Female Textile Workers works with U.K.-China digital arts partners to create a filmed version of a mixed reality performance to test U.K.-China digital theatre compatibility and audience connectivity. This performance takes the audience through 100 years of China’s socioeconomic transformation via the love, passion, and experiences of three generations of Chinese women, set against an individual historical background. Following the pre-1949 rise of the textile industry and Yueju emerging as China’s first female working class art form, Mao Zedong’s era and Yueju’s nationwide expansion to the new millennium textile industry transformed art clusters, and Yueju evolved into China’s second largest and most popular opera whilst remaining the cultural symbol of China’s female working class. In this talk, Haili Ma discussed this project and the Chinese tradition of the all-female Yueju opera style.

This event was part of the China and the West: Cultural Dialogues series, sponsored by Georgetown University's Future of the Humanities Project (a partnership with Campion Hall, Oxford, and Blackfriars Hall, Oxford) in cooperation with the Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding in London.


Haili Ma is Reader in Performance and Creative Economy at the School of Performance and Cultural Industries, University of Leeds. Dr. Ma’s research focuses on the artistic evolution of intangible cultural heritage in the digital era and their contribution to sustainable socio-economic development. Trained in traditional Chinese opera from her early teens, Ma was a member of the Shanghai Luwan All-female Yueju Company, before coming to the United Kingdom in 1997 where she pursued her academic career. She is the author of Urban Politics and Cultural Capital: The Case of Chinese Opera (2015) and Understanding CCI through Chinese ICH (forthcoming).

Michael Scott (moderator) is Fellow and Senior Dean at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford. He is also senior adviser to the president of Georgetown University and leads the Future of the Humanities Project. He has previously served as pro vice chancellor at De Montfort University, Leicester, and was the founding vice chancellor of Wrexham Glyndwr University. His books include studies in Shakespeare and his contemporaries and in twentieth century theatre. He has been a fellow and visiting professor at two Chinese universities and published a book on King Arthur with the Foreign Research and Teaching Press in Beijing.