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Guangxi celebrates 80th anniversary of theater extravaganza

By Chen Nan | | Updated: 2024-04-11 15:55
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The Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced on April 10 in Beijing that 39 Chinese theatrical productions will be showcased in Nanning and Guilin, located in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, from April 17 to May 23, to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Southwest Drama Exhibition.

Notably, Ouyang Yuqian, a celebrated Chinese playwright and director, who served as the first president of the Central Academy of Drama, had a significant connection to Guilin. In 1940, he spearheaded the establishment of the Guangxi Provincial Art Center, one of China's earliest professional theaters dedicated to staging plays, and served as its inaugural president. Ouyang played a crucial role in revitalizing Guiju Opera, a traditional Chinese opera form originating in Guilin during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and authored several Guiju Opera plays.

In 1944, Ouyang and Tian Han, a longtime friend and dramatist, jointly launched the Exhibition of Dramatic Arts, which brought together over 30 theater companies and more than 1,000 theater artists, presenting over 170 plays in nearly 100 days. Renamed the Southwest Drama Exhibition, the event became a phenomenon and garnered widespread acclaim, particularly for its role in uplifting spirits during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45).

The upcoming event will feature award-winning Chinese plays, such as Teacher Guimei, adapted from the real story of rural teacher Zhang Guimei, presented by the Yunnan Drama Theater, and The Homecoming, directed by Taiwan theater director Li Tsung-hsi. Additionally, smaller theater productions will also be showcased during the celebration.

Of the 39 works, 22 theatrical productions will be available for livestreaming online, providing a broader audience with access to this cultural extravaganza.

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