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Creation/Research Support
The Bodies of Asian Theatre: Collaboration between Taiwan, Vietnam, Quanzhou (China)

The Gang-a Tsui Theater has spared no effort to promote actor training and international exchange since its establishment, such as the Hakutobo Butoh Dance Workshop in Japan, the Indonesian Court Dance/Contemporary Dance Workshop, and the Odin Teatret Workshop. We expect to give a sharper focus on the contemporary aesthetics of Liyuan opera, and ergo we propose this exchange project. First of all, we plan to explore new possibilities of Vietnamese traditional art by inviting Ca trù artists to lead workshops and associated lectures in Taiwan. Ca trù is a special form of chant poetry exclusive to Northern Vietnam, which has been included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists in 2009 together with Nanguan, a style of traditional Taiwanese music. The significant meanings for the philosophy, religion and literature of the two cultures respectively find vivid expression in these two forms of art. Nurtured by different disciplines, the Gang-a Tsui Theater treats traditional art as its carrier and tries to link itself up with modern theater, insofar as to find new possibilities for contemporary performing arts. To preserve the graceful Liyuan opera that almost disappeared in Taiwan, we will continue exploring the traditional connotations of Liyuan opera by cultivating new members with constant performance. Therefore, we invite three Liyuan opera performers (incl. a “sheng” performer, a “dan” performer, and a musician at the backstage) to Taiwan and offer training courses to the new-generation successors to the Gang-a Tsui Theater. As a theater that embodies the sui genius humanistic profoundness of Taiwan, we expect this project to boost the theater’s strength and highlight its significance.


Gang-a Tsui Theater

The Gang-a Tsui Theater was founded in 1993. Its stage debut A Tour of Nanguan was a trail-blazing work that combined traditional Liyuan opera with modern theater and successfully presented new opportunities for the transmutation of traditional art in modern society, which infused novel elements into traditional Nanguan and became the paragon of “transforming traditional art by giving it contemporary zeitgeist.” In 2002, it delivered its original piece Whispering from the Rear Garden at the arbor in the Lin Family Mansion and Garden. In 2006, it cooperated with the Japanese theater Tomoe Shizune & Hakutobo in producing Zubun Elopes with the Ghost, a performance that incorporated the element of Butoh and won the fifth Taishin Arts Award. In 2010, it organized a workshop in collaboration with Eugenio Barba, the head of Odin Teatret, which unlocked greater potential of traditions. The Gang-a Tsui Theater’s recent primary productions included the remaking of Zubun Elopes with the Ghost at the 2020 Taiwan Traditional Theatre Festival and Passage to Lo-Jin, a theatrical piece delivered in 2018 after its regrouping, which was also invited to the Festival OFF d’Avignon in 2019. The founder of the theater ZHOU Yi-Chang died on his way to Indonesia for arts in 2016. Its senior members CHEN Jia-Wen and WEI Mei-Hui re-registered the Gang-a Tsui Theater in Taipei in 2017, and now serve respectively as the director and deputy director. They not only strive to promote the beauty of Nanguan, but also perpetuate the former director’s ideal of modernizing Nanguan and imbuing traditional art with contemporary zeitgeist.