Young actors take part in courses in performance skills launched by leading private theatres this year. They are trained in drama, comedy, music and dance by veteran artists. Photo courtesy of the HCM City Theatre’s Association
By Thu Anh
Young artists in HCM City are being encouraged to take part in courses in performance skills offered by private drama troupes and traditional theatres to meet industry needs.
“Further training is still required for our young staff as the number of professional and talented actors in traditional art forms has declined in recent years,” Hoàng Vũ, deputy director of the HCM City Hát Bội (classical drama) Theatre, said.
“Traditional forms like chèo (traditional opera) cải lương (reformed theatre) and tuồng (classical drama) take four or five years for a student at [theatrical art] school and two to five more years of work for professional troupes and theatres.”
“Traditional performing arts are particularly difficult to master. Studying at school is not enough for performers to properly know the art,” he said.
Vũ’ theatre has offered two-year training courses for young artists who also work in supporting roles in its new shows.
Through these courses, young talents will be encouraged to develop their careers.
Young actors of the HCM City 5B Small Theatre. They are trained by Meritorious Artist Mỹ Uyên and her colleagues for at least 15 months to become professional after theatrical art school. Photo courtesy of the theatre
5B Small Theatre, the city’s first private theatre, offers courses for young people and students from art schools.
The participants first take part in selection rounds hosted by the theatre’s veteran artists before training. They study drama, comedy, music and dance, and are later trained at different levels of performance.
They study with professional artists, including the theatre’s director and Meritorious Artist Mỹ Uyên, veteran actors Hữu Thạch and Chánh Trực, and have opportunities to perform in the theatre’s new dramas and comedies after training.
“5B Small Theatre offers plays using modern techniques which are challenging for young actors, including graduates of the HCM City University of Theatre and Cinematography and the University of Culture, who are limited in performance experience and life skills,” said theatre director Uyên, who has 20 years of experience in the industry and eight years of training.
“We ask our actors to spend at least three years to study theatre after training at art schools, because with less time they will not have enough to improve their stage experience and skills.”
Uyên’s theatre has offered a new performance course for young artists every Saturday and Sunday this month. The fees are from VNĐ3.9 million (US$180) to VNĐ6.6 million for five or eight weeks. The students need at least 15 months of training to become professional.
Phương Nam Theatre needs 20 artists in puppetry and circus skills this year but it has received no qualified candidate.
The theatre is working with its partner, the Việt Nam School of Circus and Variety Arts, to offer training courses for two to three years targeted at young performers. Some subjects of the courses will be offered online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have to work dynamically, and independently headhunt for and train our own staff of young performers,” said the theatre’s director Lê Diễn.
Actress reinvigorates traditional theatre
“I decided to improve my art genre, cải lương, a unique theatre of the South that began 100 years ago, by studying because I wanted to provide some new offerings for theatre lovers, particularly younger audiences,” said actress Trần Ngọc Nhã Thi, one of the city’s younger talents in the traditional operatic arts.
Young actress Trần Ngọc Nhã Thi (right) of the prestigious Trần Hữu Trang Cải Lương (reformed opera) Theatre, performs in dozens of plays and TV shows viewed by thousands of people across the country. She recently passed the entrance exam to become a student in theatre directing at the HCM City University of Theatre & Cinematography. Photo courtesy of the theatre
Since winning her first prize at the National Traditional Theatre Festival for Young Talents in 2017, Thi has worked hard, improving her skills and creativity.
She has won top prizes at leading theatre contests and festivals, including the Golden Medal at Trần Hữu Trang Cải Lương Awards 2020 presented by HCM City’s Theatre Association.
Her beauty and sweet voice were her signature attractions on stage.
Thi was trained by and now works for the prestigious Trần Hữu Trang Theatre, performing in dozens of plays and TV shows viewed by thousands of people across the country.
She recently passed the entrance exam to become a student in theatre directing at the HCM City University of Theatre & Cinematography. She started the course of three years in April.
“To escape the domination of veterans, I have to study and work hard to demonstrate my own personal style on stage,” said Thi, adding that cải lương needs to be more innovative on the stage.
“I will face challenges to balance my school time and shows. I will try my best because only study can improve my art,” said the 22-year-old. — VNS