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Training program to boost stage talent

By CHEN NAN | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-18 10:17
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Feng Yuanzheng, veteran actor and president of the Beijing People's Art Theatre, gives the first class.[Photo provided to China Daily]

"From January, we started to recruit students for this training program. Our goal is clear: scriptwriters and directors, who have already staged work, and who were born after 1990," says Feng. "A growing proportion of the audience, who come to our shows at the Beijing People's Art Theatre, are very young, born after 1990 and even 2000. We want to train these talented young scriptwriters and directors because they understand what the young generation is interested in, and what they want to experience in theaters."

Feng also adds that young people have always been the main force for the theater. For example, Cao Yu's debut play, Thunderstorm, was published in 1934 when he was 24. Arguably China's greatest 20th century playwright, Cao wrote the play during his final year at Tsinghua University. It has become a great success and a classic production of the theater.

The first class was given by Feng, who introduced the history of the Beijing People's Art Theatre. A director himself, Feng taught the students how to communicate with actors and scriptwriters.

"I can still remember my beginning years after joining the Beijing People's Art Theatre. I was young and ambitious. Many veteran artists, like Feng, coached me and supported me. They used their own experience in theaters to allow me to grow and develop fast," says director Xu Ang, who also teaches in the new training program. "But it's true that a great scriptwriter or a great director cannot be taught. Besides talent, they also need to be creative, curious and full of imagination."

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