Dragonfly Theatre to stage award-winning British play

Following the success of its previous plays like The Little Prince and Dangerous Liaisons, Dragonfly Theatre presents the award winning Blue/Orange by Joe Penhall.

It is about a young black patient in a psychiatric hospital and his two doctors who argue about whether he is sane enough to be sent back into society.

Along the way, it asks the question, "what is sanity?" The play turns the spotlight on racial prejudice and how we take care of those with mental illnesses.

The play won the Laurence Olivier Award in the UK in 2001 and has been adapted into a film by the BBC.

It will feature Dragonfly's lead actor Aaron Toronto and newcomers Ryan Burkwood and Peter Muruako.

Both the latter two are classically trained actors from the UK theatre scene and have performed in several shows in London's West End.

Blue/Orange will be performed at the Cargo Bar, 7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, District 4, three nights from May 16-18.

ASEAN Ministers of Culture meet in Hue

ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Culture & Arts (AMCA) are meeting in Hue city from April 17-20 to discuss ways to boost culture and art cooperation within ASEAN and between ASEAN plus China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh is due to deliver a speech at the meeting, the sixth of its kind.

AMCA + 3 (China, Japan and the RoK) and AMCA + 1 (with each of the three dialogue partners) will be held on this occasion.

AMCA 6 is expected to release the Hue declaration on culture for sustainable development of the ASEAN community.

The AMCA + China meeting is scheduled to adopt a plan of action on culture and art cooperation between ASEAN and China over 2014-2016.

Rockers hit city's gymnasium for ‘Metal Night'

Four resident rock bands will perform thrash and heavy metal music at the "Metal Night" show to be held at the Nguyen Du Gymnasium on Saturday.

The bands include End of Rose, Seismic Origin, Wuu Band and Sagometalho.

The show will start at 6pm at 92 Nguyen Du Street in District 1.

Tickets, which are VND100,000, can be purchased at the TAB Shop in Phu Nhuan District.

Raglai ethnic ceremony recognised as national heritage

The “leaving the tomb” ceremony of the Raglai ethnic minority people in the central coastal province of Khanh Hoa has been recognised as a national intangible cultural heritage.

A certificate to this effect was handed over to the local authorities by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism at a ceremony on April 17.

The province is home to more than 61,000 ethnic minority people, including 46,000 Raglai who live mostly in Khanh Son district.

The “leaving tomb” ceremony is one of the typical traditional rituals of the Raglai. It is reckoned to break off the spiritual relationship between the dead and the living to see off the dead to the other world.

The annual ceremony is timetabled for between March and April, following the group’s food harvest.

In addition to the worship to ancestors and Giang (Genie) and the leaving tomb ceremony, the Raglai’s rich culture is also packed with a variety of epics, mythologies and legends.

Korean firm helps boost Vietnam-RoK ties

Kumho Tires Co., Inc. of the Republic of Korea (RoK) will provide 140 million won (135,000 USD) for the Vietnamese Association in the country to conduct its activities in the next two years.

To this effect, an aid agreement was signed in Seoul on April 17 by representatives from the company and the Vietnamese Embassy in the RoK.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Kumho Tires President and CEO Kim Chang-kyu expressed his hope that through this aid, the association will further develop and contribute more to the Vietnam-RoK friendship and cooperation.

Vietnamese Ambassador Pham Huu Chi thanked the Kumho Group and the Kumho Tires company for their great assistance for the Vietnamese community in the RoK, saying the support will encourage them integrate into the host country, thus fostering the friendship between the two nations.

Asian cuisine on show in Hue

Visitors to the ongoing biennial cultural event Hue Festival 2014 can taste food served by top chefs at a side event, the International Gastronomy Festival, which opened on Tuesday evening.

The festival could be more correctly called an Asian food festival because it features 70 stands offering food from South Korea, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Myanmar and Malaysia.

Vietnamese stands showcase Hue food and specialties of localities around the country, including Quang noodle, Ha Noi pho, and Lang Son square sticky rice cakes.

Visitors can have meals at the stalls or buy take-away food. Organisers of the gastronomic event, the Viet Nam Tourism Administration, said the festival would help introduce the country, particularly Hue, as destination for cuisine tourism.

"This is an occasion to showcase Viet Nam's finest cuisine to foreigners as they come for the Hue Festival," said administration head Nguyen Van Tuan.

He said the participation of chefs from other Asian countries would be an opportunity for their Vietnamese counterparts to see where their food fitted in.

On the first night, Vietnamese were reluctant to patronise foreign food stands as they were unfamiliar about the food.

But, without a doubt, the South Korean stall was the most popular because of the craze for Korean movies and music among young people in Viet Nam.

Hue food, one of the finest and most diversified in Viet Nam, is being featured at well-known restaurants. Tinh Gia Vien Garden Restaurant offers royal style food, while the Ancient Hue presents Hue recipes served Western style.

The festival also provides a chance for visitors to taste Hue vegetarian food. Tran Thanh Phong, owner of the busy Thien Tam Vegetarian Restaurant, said vegetarian food was part of Hue cuisine and that he was doing his best to popularise it with visitors.

The festival runs till Saturday.

British Business Group sponsors Rock ‘n Roll

The British Business Group Vietnam will host a Rock ‘n' Roll night with the UK Alumni Vietnam Association (for Vietnamese who have studied in the UK) at the Hard Rock Cafe today.

The event begins at 6:30pm with games, a card shuffle and beer tasting. A rock performance by the band Power Jam will kick off at 8pm. At 8:50pm, there will be a lucky draw to win a return ticket to Europe.

Tickets are VND350,000 for BBGV and UKAV members, and VND450,000 for non-members. Registration is at info@bbgv.org.

The cafe is at 39 Le Duan Street in District 1.

Congolese vocalist brings jazz to city

Gasandji, a Congolese soul and jazz-fusion musician, will perform at a concert at the Institute of Cultural Exchange with France (IDECAF) today.

Her performance will be supported by Koto Brawa playing drums and percussion, Dramane Demble playing flute, and Abdoulaye Koyutae playing guitar.

The vocalist studied jazz at the ALTA School of Paris in the early 2000s. She has performed at European festivals such as the Le Womad in the UK, the Cully Jazz Festival in Switzerland and the Africa Festival in Germany.

Her debut album Gasandji in 2013 was awarded the Coup de Coeur Francophone 2013 prize by the prestigious Charles Cros Academy. The concert will begin at 8pm. Tickets are VND100,000, with a 50 per cent discount for students. They can be purchased at the venue at 28 Le Thanh Ton Street in District 1.

Weekend excursion to tour Hung Yen villages

On Saturday, April 19, Friends of Viet Nam Heritage will organise an excursion to the Nom and Bo Duong villages in Hung Yen Province.

Leaving Ha Noi at 8.30am, visitors will arrive at the Nom Village an hour later. The village is protected by local authorities as a pristine traditional locality, complete with a market, a stone bridge, old houses, village ponds and the famous Nom Pagoda. After visiting the morning market in the village, the tour heads to Bo Duong, home to the Hong Phong Water Puppet Guild.

After enjoying a water puppet show in the village pond, the group will visit the village's communal house and walk among fish ponds and rice fields, before returning to Ha Noi at 3pm.

To join the tour, contact Mai at phmai@fpt.vn or dial 0917294923. The tour costs VND580,000 (US$27) including transportation, entrance tickets and tickets for the water puppet show. Lunch is not included.

Manzi gallery presents concerts with a twist

Luu Khong/Jazz – a "compo-improvisation" concert inspired by the perspective of diverse musical traditions – will be held tomorrow at Manzi Art Space.

The combination of modern European jazz and cheo (traditional opera) will be performed by two Danish jazz musicians and two Vietnamese cheo artists from Ha Noi. Entrance is free. The show starts at 8pm.

At the same venue on Sunday, April 20, a performance by the Spiral Trio of David Kuckhermann, Heiko Dijker and Lenneke van Staalen will begin at 8pm.

The trio, who got together in Holland, will play the violin, hang and tabla. The second part of the performance will include a jamming session with contemporary jazz musicians from Ha Noi.

The concert is supported by the Dutch embassy.

For ticket details, contact manzihanoi@gmail.com.

Manzi Art Space is at 14 Phan Huy Ich Street.

Community fair celebrates local fashion and art

The third edition of The Travelling Trunk Fair, opening tomorrow, showcases the latest works of 15 fashion designers and brands.

Organisers say The Travelling Trunk Fair is a community event that focuses on sustainable development.

Held at the lobby lounge of the Hotel de l'Opera Ha Noi, the fair, themed Fashion & Art, brings together famous names in the local fashion industry like Devon Nguyen, Chula, Ken, Thuy Design House, Ha Truong, Dandy, Metiseko and Tammy.

The work of two contemporary artists, Nguyen Quoc Thanh and Phuong Linh, will also be on display.

A part of the profits from the three-day fair will go to the Centre for Supporting Community Development Initiatives (SCDI) – a non-profit organisation that works with vulnerable groups in Viet Nam.

The fair will remain open at 29 Trang Tien Street until Sunday.

Cuban Children’s Theatre to perform in Vietnam

An art troupe from La Colmenita, the National Children's Theater of Cuba will perform in Hanoi on April 23.

The troupe will bring Vietnamese audiences, especially children, an attractive programme with rock and roll music and funny fairy tales, before performing for a first time at the Hue Festival 2014.

Established in 1990, La Colmenita has delivered performances at hospitals and rehabilitation centres for the disabled people over the past 24 years. In addition, La Colmenita has also participated in giving free performances at squares and theatres to serve the Cuban people.

So far, the theatre has performed in over 25 nations and territories in the world and cooperated with major producers such as the Bread and Puppet Theatre, Deep Mountain from the US, Odin from Denmark, People’s Little (Bangladesh) and Les Mordus (Belgium).

It has also gotten involved in producing three famous films for children such as “Viva Cuba”, “Habanastation” and “Y sin embarg”.

Colombian band enchants Hanoians

The Colombian young band Rio en Caribe on April 16 enthralled Hanoians with a special folk dance from the northern coastal region of Caribbean, known as “bullerengue”.

This art form aims to encourage the inter-cultural dialogue for peace and social development, said the Chargé d’affaires of Colombia to Vietnam Carlos Alfonso Albán Franco.

He highlighted the performance as an opportunity for the nine-member band, set up in 2007, to introduce their local culture to Vietnamese audiences.

The band also played various music instruments such as Gaitas and drum that were formed in Colombian states of Sucre, Bolivar and Cordoba, where African descendants and native people started musical exchanges.

The group has already participated in Hue Festival 2014 that is taking place in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue from April 12-20.

Culinary arts of ethnic minority groups introduced

Traditional dishes of Vietnam’s ethnic minority groups were introduced at a food festival in the Vietnamese Ethnic Groups Culture and Tourism Village, Dong Mo, Son Tay, Hanoi.

The event, part of the Vietnam Ethnic Groups Cultural Day (April 19) celebrations from April 15-20, attracted a large number of tourists.

Artisans from different ethnic minority groups introduced more than fifty dishes, twenty varieties of wine, and over thirty different types of cake.

Visitors to the food festival had the chance to taste various traditional dishes, such as Thang Co (horse meat) of Mong, Phèo Trâu (buffalo meat) of Muong, Xôi ngũ sắc (steamed sticky rice in five colors) of Thai in northern region, ten types of Chè (sweet soups) of Hue in central region, as well as tropical fruits from the Mekong Delta.

The event aimed to highlight the importance of cultural values and introduce culinary arts as well as strengthen solidarity among ethnic minority people in Vietnam.

Hue royal court music draws eager fans

A grand show to honour ca Hue, a unique form of singing born in the locality, was the crowd favourite among the shows at the ongoing biennial Hue Festival in Hue City.

The show's amusing melodies on Wednesday night attracted thousands of locals and visitors to an illuminated stage in Nghinh Luong Pavilion, located on the riverbanks of the Huong (Perfume) River.

Songs of ca Hue were performed on a huge stage and supported by dancers from the Royal Art and Dance Theatre, a stark contrast to the more modest stages on which the art form usually takes place; on small stands or on floating stages.

Around 37 composers, musicians, vocals and researchers were also honoured for their devotion to the conservation of ca Hue at the show's intermission. However, some experts and ca Hue professionals questioned the selection of those honoured, saying some were not devotees of the music.

Ca Hue is said to bear similar significance to Vietnamese traditional music like don ca tai tu (Southern folk music) and ca tru (ceremonial singing) performed in the north.

This year's Hue Festival is the first time a separate show of ca Hue has been performed, with previous performances of the art form been incorporated into a number of existing performances.

The local department of culture, sports and tourism pledged they would file a petition for ca Hue to be recognised as part of the nation's cultural heritage, but some members of the public are doubtful about the application's success.

Ca Hue music, also known as "the Hue tune", is a variation of Hue royal court music. The music has lyrics with some being Hue folk songs. Many great ca Hue songs were composed by the feudal intellectuals who staged these performances in their homes.The artform has a history of nearly 500 years in the former royal capital city.

VTV to host show dedicated to Dien Bien Phu Victory

A show to celebrate the great Dien Bien Phu Victory in 1954 and a unique meeting with war veterans will take place at the Viet Nam Television headquarters next Monday.

Titled Dien Bien Phu - Ban Giao Huong Hoa Binh (Dien Bien Phu - A Symphony of Peace), the show will include various songs and dance performances as well as interviews with war veterans and French film director Daniel Roussel, the creator of The Battle between a Tiger and an Elephant that features the historic battle.

Interviews with former soldiers living in France will also be featured during the show, which will be broadcast live on VTV1, VTV4 and VTV6 at 8pm.

Organisers reveal plans for VN Film Festival in France

A Vietnamese Film Festival will be held in July in the French coastal city of Saint Malo, representatives from the organising board said at a press conference in Paris.

The event will be organised by the French company Iriscommsex in collaboration with the Cinema Department under Viet Nam's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the French Embassy in Viet Nam.

Ngo Phuong Lan, director of the department, said the festival would bring to the French audience films made during the last two decades, which are considered to reflect important historical events and the development of Viet Nam–France relations as well as the growth of Viet Nam's film industry. Some of these films had won prizes at international film festivals.

In addition, several films on the theme of Viet Nam made by French directors or overseas Vietnamese in France would also be screened during the event, Lan noted, adding that besides feature films, documentary and animated films were also on the agenda.

Speaking at the press conference, the French Ambassador to Viet Nam Jean Noel Poirier pointed out that cinema would be a window for the French audience to look into the Vietnamese culture.

He said he had seen several Vietnamese films, and through these he had felt the movements and aspirations of a country that is fast transforming itself.

The Vietnamese Film Festival in Saint Malo is one of the most eagerly awaited events of the Viet Nam Year in France, which is celebrating the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Festival honours national saint

A festival to commemorate the legendary national hero Saint Quy Minh was held on April 17 in the northern province of Ninh Binh.

Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan and thousands of tourists from both home and abroad joined the annual event in celebration of the saint, who made great contributions in defending the country. They could join an incense-offering ceremony at Tran Temple in the local Trang An-Bai Dinh spiritual tourism site.

Legend has it that Saint Quy Minh is one of the three Vietnamese to have been bestowed with sainthood, alongside Tan Vien and Cao Son. They are honoured for protecting the country under the reign of 18 th Hung King, Due Vuong (408-258 BC).

Tran Temple, where the Saint is being worshipped, was built by King Dinh Tien Hoang (924-979).

Local authorities are paying great attention to integrating festive activities with tourism promotion programmes. They wish for international support to help name Trang An scenic landscape complex as a Natural Wonder of the World.

Hue Festival offers feast of traditional music

The ongoing Hue Festival in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue offered visitors a feast of traditional music in the evening of April 16.

Examples of Vietnam’s traditional music were staged during “Am sac Viet” (Vietnamese Timbre) programme at Dien Tho Palace inside Hue city’s Imperial Citadel.

Local artists performed pieces of the Hue singing and ca tru (ceremonial singing) while those from Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City performed northern folk songs and southern “Don ca tai tu” singing.

The atmosphere was later also filled with melodies of Xoan singing - a traditional ritual folk genre - from the northern province of Phu Tho and Quan ho (love duet singing) from northern Bac Ninh.

“Am sac Viet” will run until April 18.

Meanwhile, “Am sac Huong Binh” (Huong Binh Tune) at Nghinh Luong Pavilion was dedicated to highlighting values of the Hue singing which embodies both royal and folkloric features, thus becoming a distinctive component of Hue’s identity.

The audience had a chance to enjoy the genre through the voice of many artists, particularly Thanh Tam, who is at her 70s and has spent her whole life singing in the Hue style.

The programme was concluded while flower lanterns floated down the Huong (Perfume) River - the traditional backdrop of the singing.

The Hue Festival is held every two years to honour the unique cultural and historical values of Hue, Vietnam and Asia through artistic shows. This year’s event will run until April 20.

Traditional offering ritual observed in Hue

A traditional offering ritual was held on April 17 to pray for national peace, prosperity and favourable weather on the Nam Giao Esplanade in the imperial city of Hue.

The ritual, one of the conventional rites under the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945) and part of the ongoing 2014 Hue Festival, has been restored and conducted as it was done during the feudal era.

Measures have been taken to enable more people to join in the incense-offering ceremony, said Phan Thanh Hai, director of the Centre for the Reservation of Hue Relics.

The Nam Giao Esplanade was built in Duong Xuan village, south of the ancient Hue Citadel, in 1806, under the reign of the dynasty’s founder, King Gia Long (1762-1820). In 1807, the king held his first worshipping ceremony there.

It was recognised by UNESCO as world cultural heritage in 1993.

The biennial Hue Festival, the eighth of its kind, is taking place in the UNESCO-recognised World Cultural Heritage city of Hue from April 12–20, honouring Vietnam’s unique cultural and historical values.

Concert honors Dien Bien Phu Victory

Vietnam Television will hold a concert celebrating the Dien Bien Phu Victory in 1954 in Hanoi on April 21, 2014.

The show “Dien Bien Phu - Ban Giao Huong Hoa Binh” (Dien Bien Phu - A Symphony of Peace) will perform famous revolutionary and political songs commemorating national heroes. It will provide education of the sacrifices made by the armed forces for the sake of national defense and security.

The highlight of the event is interviews with war veterans during the show.

The performance will be broadcasted live on VTV1, VTV4 and VTV6 channels.

Photo exhibition featuring Ede ethnic minority opens in Dak Lak

A photo exhibition featuring traditional culture and lifestyle of Ede ethnic minority opened at the Dak Lak Museum on April 15.

The event is organized by Dak Lak Museum and the Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment (ISEE).

ISEE provided cameras and taught Ede people to take photos of their daily lives and activities from September 2013 to April 2014.

The display features 176 photos of rituals, cultural characteristics, changes in the living under social and economical fluctuation, and cultural exchanges of Ede people.

The event will run until August 15.