Training program to boost stage talent

作者:CHEN NAN来源:China Daily

Young director Liu Chongzuo is a student of the training program.[Photo provided to China Daily]

The Beijing People's Art Theatre announced the launch of a training program for young directors and scriptwriters.

The program will take place from May to August at the theater with three-month courses by veteran directors and scriptwriters from the Beijing People's Art Theatre.

"It's the first time in the history of the Beijing People's Art Theatre, which spans more than 70 years, that we are launching a training program for directors and scriptwriters. We are very excited," said Feng Yuanzheng, veteran actor and president of the theater, in Beijing on May 8.

Sixteen young directors and scriptwriters will be trained by more than 30 artists, including scriptwriters He Jiping and Meng Bing. After a monthlong intensive training period in class, the young scriptwriters and directors will work together on new scripts and stage productions.

The stage productions will be performed by young actors and actresses from the theater during the last month of the training program.

Feng Yuanzheng, veteran actor and president of the Beijing People's Art Theatre, gives the first class.[Photo provided to China Daily]

"From January, we started to recruit students for this training program. Our goal is clear: scriptwriters and directors, who have already staged work, and who were born after 1990," says Feng. "A growing proportion of the audience, who come to our shows at the Beijing People's Art Theatre, are very young, born after 1990 and even 2000. We want to train these talented young scriptwriters and directors because they understand what the young generation is interested in, and what they want to experience in theaters."

Feng also adds that young people have always been the main force for the theater. For example, Cao Yu's debut play, Thunderstorm, was published in 1934 when he was 24. Arguably China's greatest 20th century playwright, Cao wrote the play during his final year at Tsinghua University. It has become a great success and a classic production of the theater.

The first class was given by Feng, who introduced the history of the Beijing People's Art Theatre. A director himself, Feng taught the students how to communicate with actors and scriptwriters.

"I can still remember my beginning years after joining the Beijing People's Art Theatre. I was young and ambitious. Many veteran artists, like Feng, coached me and supported me. They used their own experience in theaters to allow me to grow and develop fast," says director Xu Ang, who also teaches in the new training program. "But it's true that a great scriptwriter or a great director cannot be taught. Besides talent, they also need to be creative, curious and full of imagination."

The 16 young scriptwriters and directors participating in a three-month training program at the Beijing People's Art Theatre.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Young director Liu Chongzuo, who graduated from the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing in 2022, is one of the students in the ongoing training program.

"When I saw the advertisement for the training program, I applied immediately, because of the excellent reputation of the Beijing People's Art Theatre, and the great artists who will teach us. I was very nervous during the interviews but luckily I was admitted," says Liu. "The theater has its own history and tradition, and unique style of stage productions. I will put my theater experience aside and learn from scratch."