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City creates Kunqu Opera performance group

By Zhou Furong And Cang Wei In Kunshan, Jiangsu ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-11-23 08:13:32

The city of Kunshan, the home of Kunqu Opera, has established its first professional Kunqu Opera performing group.

Called the Kunshan Modern Kunqu Opera Theater, it is China's eighth professional Kunqu Opera troupe.

Kunqu Opera, one of the oldest extant forms of the Chinese opera that dates back more than 600 years, was listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage in 2001.

The Kunshan Modern Kunqu Opera Theater is also the country's first Kunqu Opera theater supported by the local government and is one of the first to be run as if it were a private company.

The 13,000-square-meter theater, which also includes a demonstration center and office space, is equipped with 679 seats and can accommodate various opera shows as well as theatrical performances.

The theater group also undertakes research, training and playwriting.

For years, the Kunshan government has funded Kunqu Opera research institutes and local theaters to perform for free or at low ticket prices.

The city has been honored by the Ministry of Culture as the "Home of Chinese Folk Culture and Art". It has also received several medals because of its promotion of the opera, such as "the Prize for the Promotion of Chinese Kunqu Opera Art" and "the Bei Jinmei Prize for Kunqu Opera Education".

According to the city's Press and Publication Bureau of Culture, Radio and Television, Kunshan had 160,000 people working in 5,777 cultural enterprises as of November. The output value of the local cultural industry reached 20.8 billion yuan ($3.26 billion) in 2014, a 9.5-percent increase from the previous year.

In the first half of this year, output value of the cultural industry reached more than 10 billion yuan, which accounted for 7.1 percent of the city's GDP.

Since 2007, 11 cultural programs in the city have received more than 26 million yuan from the central government, and 31 programs received about 26 million yuan from the Jiangsu provincial government. City authorities have funded 114 programs with more than 65 million yuan.

Kunshan is currently home to five cultural industrial parks, two of which are national-level parks. The output value of the five parks reached 11 billion yuan last year.

The bureau said that in the future, more policies will be made and measures taken to promote the cultural industry, including more program-supporting funds and talks between cultural enterprises and the local government.

Contact the writers at zhoufurong@chinadaily.com.cn and cangwei@chinadaily.com.cn

 City creates Kunqu Opera performance group

Artists perform the classic Kunqu Opera drama Peony Pavilion. The Nantong government has supported the art form for years.Provided To China Daily

(China Daily 11/23/2015 page22)

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