Taipei National University of the Arts (formerly known as the National Institute of the Arts) not only diligently works to cultivate a professional skill level in the field of theatre education, but it also works toward a goal of establishing a new, higher level of contemporary Taiwanese theatre.  In regards to on-campus theatre pieces, the three originators of the digital collection, Yi-Wei Yao, Chi-Mei Wang, and Stan Lai focused on two aspects. The first aspect was to provide an environment of theatrical learning and development, the other aspect was to provide a theatrical form and style by connecting students to the pulse of Taiwanese theatre across the island.  Even though Yi-Wei Yao used collected historical materials from the Song Dynasty and the Spring and Autumn Period in his plays The Emerald Bodhisattvas 1985 and The Crown Prince Shen-Sheng1991, he was able to create a clever balance between the traditional and contemporary.  And in his pieces Let's Start Again 1995and Suitcase2007, he was able to expose a new reflection on people’s inner-orientation through his methodical use of metaphor and symbolism. Chi-Mei Wang’s The Orphan of the World1987 and Children of the Good Earth1989stirred their audiences’ hope for their homeland through their explorations on the theme of caring for Taiwan’s land and peoples. The length and breadth of historical writing seen in her Tales of the Mountains and the Seas1994 and Remember Hong Kong 1997, two plays that strive to bring more focus to Taiwanese aboriginal mythology and the 100-year colonization and return of Hong Kong in 1997 respectively, is rarely encountered in the Taiwanese theatre world. The “collective improvisation” method used by Stan Lai to develop such works as We All Grew Up this Way1984, The Passer by1984, Bach Variations1985 and Pastorale 1986  became extremely popular in 1980’s Taiwan theatre and remains very influential in Taiwanese theatre to this day.  At the turn of the 21st century he wrote his epic work A Dream Like a Dream2000 to create a summary of his life’s work thus far and in the process created a new style of theatre.  This collection of their works is not just an attempt at recording the history of their performance pieces throughout their careers.  It is also an endeavor to trace the development of contemporary theatre in Taiwan so that the precious memories and knowledge contained within these works can be expressed into Taiwan’s future.


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Taipei National University of the Arts

School of Theatre Arts