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Youth Theater: 45 years bringing art to young audiences
Ngo Minh 15:20, 2023/04/11
To satisfy the demands of young audiences, the Youth Theater has focused on innovative experiments, inviting international directors to create contemporary moving art pieces.

Since its inception 45 years ago (1978-2023), the Hanoi-based Youth Theater has consistently ventured into new experiments, inviting domestic and foreign directors to collaborate in the creation of artistic works that are geared toward young people, taking advantage of its membership in the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People (ASSITEJ).

The milestone was celebrated at the Hanoi Opera House on April 10.

A throw-back to the beginning

The Youth Theater was founded on April 10, 1978, by the Ministry of Culture and Information (now the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism). For the past 45 years, Tuoi Tre Theater has been the only national art theater in the country that targets young audiences.

When reflecting on the past, Meritorious Artist Si Tien, Director of Youth Theater, said it is still very young compared to other hundred-year-old theaters. However, the theater was founded when the country had just been reunified and faced many challenges. The theater’s establishment has shown the State’s vision on socio-cultural issues with a view to building socialist people.

According to Director Si Tien, the theater has built a prestigious art brand with more than 500 plays and art programs in various genres, including drama, music and dance, musicals, and pantomime.  Many of them have won prizes at national and international festivals, showing the talent and enthusiasm of performers.

 The ceremony commemorating Youth Theater's milestone occurred at the Hanoi Opera House. Photo: Ngo Minh/The Hanoi Times 

Despite challenges facing the performing arts industry across the country due to factors such as the proliferation of digital entertainment and the Covid-19 pandemic, the staff at Tuoi Tre Theater remain steadfast in their commitment to presenting art to young audiences. They have made innovations and soon adapted to the market economy.

Young people have been drawn to the Youth Theater's daring stagings of musical trends in recent years, such as The Swans, Wave, Then I'll Grow Up.

The 45th anniversary of the establishment is also an opportunity for generations of artists to come together and reflect on the path of dedication to the public.

Meritorious Artist Ngoc Huyen expressed on stage: "I belong to the first generation of actors and actresses trained at the Youth Theater. We were young at the time -  only 16 and 17 years old. Our youth is tied to the Youth Theater. The place where I was born is Hanoi, but where I live is the Youth Theater. All of my memories and dearest things have been born here."

Continuous innovation

In the context of cultural exchange and international integration, the Youth Theater also has numerous international cooperation projects, which help to introduce the contemporary world performing arts trend to the capital audience.

The theater has commissioned two world classics from Japanese director Tsuyoshi Sugiyama. Both have won major awards: Uncle Vanya bagged the gold medal at the International Experimental Theater Festival 2019, and  Hedda Gabler garnered a Silver medal at the International Experimental Theater Festival 2022.

 A scene at the musical Trai Hoa Vang of Youth Theater. Photo courtesy of the theater

In addition, the theater also successfully cooperated with Sangsang Maru Korean Theater on the Vietnam-Korea Family Musical Workshop project and introduced the family musical Troll's Child. It also participated in the production of the play Blue Bird to celebrate the 25th anniversary of establishing the Wallonie-Bruxelles delegation in Vietnam (1996-2021).

The Youth Theater's policy of collaborating with foreign directors and artists has enhanced performances and allowed local artists to study under and work with talented foreign directors.

People's Artist Trinh Thuy Mui, Chairwoman of the Vietnam Association of Theater Artists, said she highly appreciated the efforts and dedication of the leaders and artists of the Youth Theater.

“Especially in the current period, the theater has decided to renovate to catch up with the trend of society's life and bring the stage closer to all audiences, especially young people. This is the pride of the Youth Theater staff and artists,” said Mui.

“We are entering the integration period with many challenges. We will uphold the tradition and renovate ourselves to approach modern audiences,” Director of Youth Theater Nguyen Si Tien said.

Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ta Quang Dong suggested the theater give policies to attract prominent artists who will teach, work, care for dedicated artists' lives, and nurture young talents.

Dong emphasized the importance of creating a unique and attractive style for the art pieces to produce new high-quality artworks that suit to the tastes and psychology of young people.

 Director Nguyen Si Tien said the staff would continue to catch up with the life changes. Photo: Quang Vinh/The Hanoi Times 
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