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How We Approach Traditional Arts

“The Bodies of Asian Theatre: Collaboration between Taiwan, Vietnam, Guangzhou (China)” was a project Gang-a Tsui Theater carried out during the residency of the 2020 CREATORS program. In this project, the Theater explores the possibilities of contemporary Liyuan Opera aesthetics by rebuilding the body movements of the opera and learning from the Ca trù in Vietnamese culture.

The artistic characteristics of the Liyuan Opera are expressed in the meticulous body movements and steps, and the flow of tones and phonemes in the chanting of lines impart a unique charm to the performance. Such chanting originates from the Naamyam in Quangzhou, China but evolves into what is known as Nanguan in Taiwan, in which the requirement for intonation reflects the strict structures of compositions and notes. Ca trù is a distinctive style of musical storytelling in northern Vietnam that was listed in UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009 alongside Taiwanese traditional Nanguan. The musical forms of Nanguan and Ca trù reveal the philosophical cosmologies, religious beliefs, and literary contents of each culture, which are passed down through oral teachings and physical practices. A work-in-progress version of the project, titled Sound Tracks, is now showcased in the recent exhibition, Signals: CREATORS 2020–21, until 14th March at C-LAB, in which Gang-a Tsui Theater presents the materials that were gathered in pilot research—including the traditional theatrical literature, visual records of the international workshops over the past years, and costumes and theatrical props.

In this talk, “How We Approach Traditional Arts,” Gang-a Tsui Theater will share their experience of the way that departs from Nanguan to integrate and encounter the Liyuan Opera and Ca trù.


About Signals: CREATORS 2020–21

In 2020, 16 research and creative projects were carried out at the Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab (C-LAB) on topics of narrative, space, performance, agriculture, online public opinions, media criticism, genetic modification, soundscape collection, historical archives, geographical research, and cultural exchange. These projects resulted from open calls for the CREATORS Creation/Research Residency & Support Program and Taiwan Sound Lab’s Sound-Off Program last year and have been undergoing their own stages of development. Through exhibition, live performance and events, Signals: CREATORS 2020–2021 assembles and presents the current progress of these 16 projects.

Date|February 19, 2021- March 14, 2021

Venue|Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab – Art Space III