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Asian Shakespeare Association invites Preeshl to present at 2018 conference in Manila 

The Secretariat of the Asian Shakespeare Association invited Artemis Preeshl, assistant professor of performing arts, to present “Bangsawan and the Bard” on The Theatrical Trade panel at the Shakespeare, Traffics, Tropics conference next year in Manila, The Philippines. 

The Secretariat of the Asian Shakespeare Association invited Dr. Artemis Preeshl to present “Bangsawan and the Bard” on The Theatrical Trade panel at the Shakespeare, Traffics, Tropics conference to be held next year in Manila, The Philippines.

The biennial conference features leading Shakespearean scholars and theatre practitioners from around the globe with a keen interest in Shakespeare as produced in and by Asia and a mini-festival of Shakespearen performances from Japan, Malaysia, and the Philippines at the Ataneo de Minalia University and the University of the Philippines Diliman from May 28-31, 2018.

In “Bangsawan and the Bard”, Preeshl identifies how Shakespeare’s plays inspire retellings, parodies and adaptations in theatre, cinema and especially in improvised Malaysian opera, Bangsawan. Drawing on photos and videos of Malaysia and Singapore, Shakespeare’s Globe, Royal Shakespeare Company, and National Theatre performances, and international films, Preeshl examines how Southeast Asian directors, actors, and audiences interpreted Shakespeare in Bangsawan in the early-to-mid-20 century.

In 1879, the British army imported Bangsawan from Bombay to entertain its Hindi-speaking soldiers in Malaysia. Although the first Bangsawan troupe disbanded in 1880, the Malay theatrical and musical communities adapted the Bangsawan form to the multiethnic Malaysian culture. According to Asian theatre expert James Brandon (1997), Mohammad Pushi presented Malaysia’s first Bangsawan company on Penang in 1885. Bangsawan included Hindu, Muslim, Persian, Chinese, Malay and English-speaking stories, including Shakespeare, and contemporary events into Bangsawan.

During Japanese Occupation, Bangsawan was used as propaganda in World War II. By the 1950s, Sandiwara, a modern theatrical form, scripted Bangsawan plots. In 1972, the Malaysian government reconstituted and reclaimed Bangsawan. Bangsawan is a prototype of theatrical globalization. The universal themes in Shakespeare’s plays transcend time and place to impact Malaysian and Singaporean directors, actors, and audiences today.

In 2007, Shakespeare’s Globe selected Preeshl as an International Actor Fellow in London. In 2008, she taught master classes in Commedia dell’arte, Acting and Directing as a Visiting Professor at the Universiti Technologi MARA in Shah Alam. In 2009, her master classes in Commedia dell’arte and Fitzmaurice Voicework led to staging Commedia dell’arte scenes from "The Taming of Shrew" at the Universiti Malaysia Sabah in Kota Kinabalu, Borneo.

As a visiting professor who teaches acting, dialects, movement, and improvisation at Elon University, Preeshl integrates Shakespeare, improvisation, and Asian theatre in her upcoming paper, “Bangsawan and the Bard”, at the Asian Shakespeare Association in Manila in May 2018.


Artemis Preeshl,
11/9/2017 10:20 AM