Abstract: The adoption and development of zhivaya gazeta (lit. ‘living newspapers’) in China follows a trajectory common to many forms of artistic expression that were introduced into that country by the Soviets in the early decades of the twentieth century. While the Soviet heritage of this theatre was at first celebrated, the Chinese Communist Party sought to tailor it to particular needs and to present it as a specifically Chinese innovation, rechristening it ‘huobaoju’. Despite dying out in the Soviet Union by the late 1920s, ‘living newspapers’ continued to be produced in China from the 1930s through until the Cultural Revolution (1966‐76), with the form being employed in tandem with specific campaigns or attempts at mass mobilisation. Indeed, the very nature of Chinese communism under Mao provided the perfect environment in which this form of theatre could thrive.
Keywords: China, theatre, Soviet, culture, revolutionary, huobaoju