Xiqu (“Chinese opera”) is often associated with religion, but seldom with Christianity. Over the last twenty years, troupes in the Taiwanese genre of gezaixi, funded by Protestant churches, have sought to find new audiences through the performance of bible stories. This article considers these productions, known as “gospel” gezaixi, considering a conscious effort on the part of Taiwanese Protestants to eliminate the barrier still presumed between Christianity and “local culture.” Christian organizations also represent an important new source of sponsorship for the genre, whose audience is ageing. These newly-written plays suggest both the desire of local Protestant churches to develop increasingly localised profiles and the adaptability of gezaixi troupes in a challenging but eclectic market.
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University of Helsinki China Studies
Kielikeskus Juhlasali, University of Helsinki