Theater festival in North China returns with vigor and charm
Photo: Lou Kang/GT
Following the Metaverse Theater Festival, Saturday witnessed the comeback of another theater festival in China’s rising comprehensive art space – Aranya, a seaside art community located in Qinhuangdao, North China’s Hebei Province.
The forthcoming festival – set to kick off on June 15 – will have a total of 38 performances scattered across 15 theaters in the art zone, said the festival’s organizers.
The 2023 festival will focus on themes such as environmental protection and sustainable development.
Director Liu Chang introduced his unique drama Migratory Birds 300, a work improvised by 300 artists who have spent 300 hours together.
“The most challenging thing is that we don’t know what kind of performances will be presented next. All performances are random, non-reproducible, and impromptu at the same time,” said Liu.
The director added that everyday performers gather and communicate at the seaside, where everything happens naturally.
“We hope to advocate topics including environmental protection and sustainable development through this work.”
In addition, this theater festival focuses on the public role of art and the social topics it can tackle. Before the festival, an art exhibition for children with autism is currently being held in Aranya.
During the festival, many artists and experts will be invited for seminars and forums as well as multicultural exchanges made possible due to today’s globalization.
The art community, first built in 2013, is located on an ultra-long golden coastline in Qinhuangdao. Over the past few years, a number of architects have been invited to create many art spaces for this community, including libraries, recital halls, concert halls and dozens of theaters.
Art installations can be seen everywhere on the streets and exhibition halls along the streets are always ready to welcome visitors, evidence of the efforts of insiders and artists to create a unique public art community in China.
For industry insiders, the growing popularity of the Aranya Theater Festival stems from the increasing enthusiasm that young people have for the cultural market, giving many artists confidence in the health of the domestic art market.
“A show I had a while ago sold out in half an hour, which used to be the case many years ago. The booming domestic theater market represents young people’s pursuit of art, which is something that will continue,” dancer Wang Yuanyuan told the Global Times.
The theater festival covers four major sections: theater art, life art, crossover art and public art. Works will vary from sci-fi musicals to the story of famous domestic novelist Eileen Chang, known as Zhang Ailing in China, and the exploration of human nature in a recreation of Shakespeare’s Othello.
Among all the performances, 14 works from 12 foreign countries including Germany, France, Italy and Belgium will be performed in China for the first time. The upcoming international theater performances are also a sign of the strong recovery of overseas performances in China.
The upcoming international theater performances are also a sign of the strong recovery of overseas performances in China.
In March, China resumed accepting applications for international commercial performances in the country, showing the country’s commitment to embracing international cultural exchanges. Experts say that this will undoubtedly inject vitality into the global cultural market and also signals the end of the three-year suspension of Chinese performances going abroad.