Culture\Music and Theater

Bringing old art form to new viewers

By Fang Aiqing | China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-26 07:21

Bringing old art form to new viewers

Performers from the Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe interact with people in Tianzifang, one of Shanghai's most visited spots, to promote the traditional Chinese art form. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Closer to audience

Since 1998, Gu and Zhang have both been actively promoting Kunqu Opera among the younger generations, especially students.

After 20 years of work they are encouraged by the response.

During this year's May Day holiday, some performers from the Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe went to Tianzifang, one of Shanghai's most visited spots, showing people how to put on makeup, performing excerpts from plays and interacting with people.

They also went to the Bund, shopping malls and communities to promote the opera form.

The idea came from Gu's personal experience of advertising her plays in subways, tour spots and where people assembled in 2004, when Kunqu Opera was not very popular.

On the other hand, Zhang promotes his work with a monthly crowdfunding program called 1+1+1 Action, which combines lectures, gatherings and performances.

At the events, audiences sip traditional Chinese rice wine and listen to Zhang speaking about Kunqu Opera and then enjoy his performance.

The tickets for the event are sold in sets of three.

So, to attend the program, one has to take along two companions.

"Thus, it's not simply a ticket-buying process, but also about disseminating the culture of Kunqu Opera and influencing others," says Zhang, whose ultimate intention is to turn his personal efforts into a social movement.

The 66 sets of tickets for the first program in September were sold out in 14 days and the show was also live streamed.

Speaking about the opera form, Chen Yani, 25, a fan of Kunqu Opera who has enjoyed more than 60 Kunqu Opera performances in theaters in the past five years, says: "Compared with other traditional opera forms, Kunqu Opera attracts more young audiences."

For Gu and Zhang, the campus is the key to promote the opera form.

Supported by the local government, the Shanghai Kunqu Opera Troupe gives at least 130 performances every year at schools in Shanghai.

And, according to Zhang, he will launch an experimental course on Kunqu Opera for students of second grade in a Shanghai primary school in November.

In recent years, the Chinese have been more willing to step into theaters and enjoy Kunqu Opera.

The Shanghai show of The Palace of Eternal Life in September saw box-office revenue of 1.5 million yuan ($226,000). It was five times the box-office revenue from the same show that spanned four nights at the same place seven years earlier.

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349