The Musical Theatre Encounter: Chinese Consumption of a Western Form of Entertainment

Lu, Xiao. 2021. The Musical Theatre Encounter: Chinese Consumption of a Western Form of Entertainment. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

The genre of western musical theatre resembles the collaborative style of traditionalChinese theatre, and this has led to its increasing popularity among Chinese audiences. A growing number of Chinese emerging middle-class consumers demonstrate their economic and cultural capacities for cultural consumption, and thus they have become significant consumers of western musical theatre since the twenty-first century. The aim of this thesis is to study the behaviour and consumption patterns of Chinese audiences attending musical theatre performances. The study has found that 69% of Chinese respondents are willing to watch a musical theatre production with a British or American origin. Participation in digital platforms stimulates Chinese audiences to co-create meanings and experiences with musical theatre, and Chinese engagement with online communities demonstrates their behaviour as fans, and as theatre-goers who value the memory of a particular performance. This thesis recommends a collaborative strategy for audience engagement between theatre producers, arts marketing professionals, and Chinese cultural policy-makers. Theatre producers could create musical theatre productions by appropriating theatrical content and new technologies to deliver hybrid experiences for a broader audience; arts marketing professionals could make the most of social media tools to enhance the audiences’ digital engagement. Furthermore, marketing should be directed effectively to foster a confident and active audience for long-term musical theatre attendance. The government policies should highlight the role of arts education through online and offline platforms and deepen the autonomy of arts and cultural organisations to import and stage musical theatre productions in China. This thesis offers an insight thatChinese audiences’ experiences are a key feature showing how musical theatre becomes a popular entertainment choice.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Musical Theatre; audience research; theatre experience; arts marketing; cultural consumption; China

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute for Cultural and Creative Entrepreneurship (ICCE)


31 January 2021

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

23 Jun 2021 13:36

Last Modified:

07 Sep 2022 17:19


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