A growing interest on the body as a starting point of discourse is seen in the past decades. Even theatre studies has been involved on scrutinizing the body as an important performance aspect. In Western theatre practice, physical theatre is a well-articulated practical approach for understanding the body vis-à-vis theatre and performance. However, the increasing number of the most influential theorizations and conceptualizations has primarily, if not exclusively, focused on how the cultures in the West (Europe and the Americas) conceive it.
Taking cue from Bryan Turner and Zheng Yangwen, it is important to note that peoples in Asia have experienced colonization, decolonization and now globalization albeit different modalities. These contexts, as suggested by Turner and Zheng, are important socio-political and historical factors for understanding the Asian body. With this, Bodies in/and Asian Theatres is envisioned to contribute to the study of the body, particularly its functions and placements in the different performances in the Asian region.
On the occasion of Katha-wan [a contraction of katha (creative creation) and katawan (body)] or the celebration of the UP Diliman Month 2018 vis-à-vis the National Arts Month in the Philippines, Bodies in/and Asian Theatres invokes the Asian bodies as creative and critical entities.
The Joint 2018 Asian Theatre Working Group Colloquium and International Federation for Theatre Research Regional Conference (IFTR-Asia) attempts to answer these general questions: what do we mean when we talk about bodies in Asian theatres and performances? What do we mean when we talk about Asian bodies in different performances outside the region? How does theatre affect the way we think about the bodies of Asians?