Online art project on Vietnamese theatre takes the stage

An online art project launched by a group of young people to preserve Vietnamese theatre is off to a good start, attracting thousands of viewers in Viet Nam and abroad.
Online art project on Vietnamese theatre takes the stage
A current highlight of the online art project 'Truong Ca Kich Vien' (The Epic of Theatre) is an exhibition featuring photos and videos of 'tuồng' - a form of Vietnamese theatre that began in the 17th century. (Photo courtesy of the project)

The project, Truong Ca Kich Vien (The Epic of Theatre), is created and managed by Nguyen Huu Duong and his staff, who have got together from different universities and colleges across the country.

It aims to introduce and expose young people to many genres of Vietnamese theatre including tuong or hat boi (classical drama), cai luong (reformed opera) and cheo (popular opera). The project also encompasses the preservation and propagation of traditional music genres like nha nhac (royal music) and hat xam (blind busker’s singing), which are features often in traditional theatre.

Water puppetry, a 1000-year-old folk art where the stage is a pool of water, is also included in the project which collects and propagates information, paintings and photographs featuring performers and plays, as also traditional instruments and attires used in different theatre genres.

The fanpage of the project’s website, http://truongcakichvien, has attracted more than 4,000 views to date.

The web has three sections: The Arts, Exhibitions and Stories.

‘Exhibitions’ displays photos, pictures and videos on seven genres of Vietnamese theatre and folk arts.

Currently highlighted photos and videos feature tuong – a form of Vietnamese theatre that originated in the 17th century in the central region before expanding to southern Viet Nam, particularly the Mekong River Delta.

Books and documents by cultural researchers and veteran artists of tuong are also included in the exhibition section.

“Our online project provides young people with better knowledge of Vietnamese theatre and folk art,” said founder Duong, who studied in Australia, said.

“Through the project, we hope people around the world can learn more about traditional songs, tunes and dances used in Vietnamese theatre and folk art," he added.

Duong’s love for Vietnamese theatre began when he was at school. It led him to research the various genres and explore them in greater depth.

He and his staff are working to release videos featuring plays and performances. They also plan to release talks and writings by artists as well as fans.

They are working with the state-owned Tran Huu Trang Cai Luong Theatre, one of the southern region’s leading institutions of its kind.

Meritorious Artist and cai luong actor Le Thien of the HCM City Theatre Association has welcomed the initiative shown by the young people.

“The online project Truong Ca Kich Vien encourages youth to discover Vietnamese theatre, which is part of their heritage and some of the arts that are hundreds of years old", he said.

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(Source: VNA)