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Hat boi club spreads traditional theatre among young people

To keep hát bội (classical drama) alive and introduce it to younger generations, a club in HCM City is offering online training from skilled artists. 



Hát bội (classical drama) is kept alive through performances and free training by members of the Đối Thoại Văn Hóa Cộng Đồng (Culture Community Communication) Club in HCM City. — Photo


The Đối Thoại Văn Hóa Cộng Đồng (Culture Community Communication) Club offers talks and performances in videos on YouTube to provide students and young people with the basic knowledge of hát bội.

The participants can also learn singing and dancing used in the theatre. 

The club’s free training classes have attracted 20 members who love learning Vietnamese theatre. The members have performed under the teaching of Meritorious Artist Ngọc Khanh and her colleagues. 

“Our club is very keen on exposing youth to hát bội, which is part of the country’s heritage that is hundreds of years old,” said Phan Khắc Huy, the head of the club.

“With its great value, hát bội should become increasingly popular among Vietnamese people, particularly youngsters," he said.

According to Huy, artist Khanh and her staff use their strong voice and skills in dancing and acting to impress their audiences, who love pop, hip-hop and electronic music. 

“Through their talks and performance, we believe that hát bội is spiritually rooted in Vietnamese and should be delivered to youth,” he added. 

Hát bội developed from folk art to a royal art in central and southern regions. It became particularly popular in central and southern provinces in the 1900s. 

The theatre consists of singing and dancing to music. Its themes include monarchist loyalty and patriotic duty. 

Hát bội plays feature old words, and the characters are often made up in black and red on their faces. 

In HCM City, hát bội clubs encourage music and cultural researchers, young talents, veteran artists and fans of the art to promote it further.

"We also hope that our club will give youngsters the opportunity to understand and appreciate the country’s traditional theatre," said actor Khanh, who works for leading traditional art troupes in the region, including HCM City Hát Bội Theatre. 

Khanh has participated in a project to preserve diễn xướng (singing and talking), a folk singing genre which originated in the southern region in HCM City last year. 

The project is organised by the Soul Music and Performing Arts Academy’s Soul Live Project, a long-term cultural programme that aims to expand Vietnamese traditional music and theatre. 

The programme includes a series of performances, talk shows and seminars featuring Vietnamese theatre and music. It has attracted dozens of veteran theatre performers. — VNS


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