Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Chinese puppetry at the CCP

The approaching Chinese Lunar New Year always heighten up interest in Chinese astrology, cuisine, art, and culture. Catch up with a Chinese art form rarely seen on local stage, namely puppetry, in a performance of UNIMA Chinese Puppetry Groups on February 8 & 9, 2018, 7:00 PM at the Cultural Center of the Philippines' Tanghalang Huseng Batute (CCP Studio Theater).

Three puppetry groups, namely Yangzhou Puppetry Troupe, Pingyang Puppetry Protection and Inheritance Center, and Sichuan Huge Puppet Theatre, will show a great variety of puppets ranging from marionettes to huge ones requiring more than one person to manipulate.

The Yangzhou Puppetry Troupe is composed of senior, middle-aged and youth professional artists along with a few professional puppet crafting and designing artists. The group is the recipient of the Wenhua Award from the Ministry of Culture, and Best Play during the Golden Lion National Puppetry and Shadow Presentation, and the Exquisite Work Award of Juangsu Stage Art. The Yangzhou puppetry has already been listed under the National Intangible Heritage Safeguarding Projects.

The Pingyang Puppetry Protection and Inheritance Center, founded in 1919, is one of the most influential contemporary string puppetry troupes focusing on string puppetry along with hand, rod puppetry and actor-puppet show. They have received over 30 National and 300 Provincial prizes and has performed in various countries in Europe, America, Africa, and Southeast Asia.

The only inheritance unit for the North Sichuan Huge puppet, the national intangible cultural heritage, the Sichuan Huge Puppet Theatre is a professional institute on research, safeguarding, inheritance and development of intangible heritage in Nanchong City. Five ministries in China have recognized the group as an “Important Export Project of National Culture.

The performances of the three puppetry groups in Manila are in line with the CCP’s membership in the Silk Road International League of Theatres (SRILT), an international organization of performing arts ventures in Asia. This cultural exchange tour is being organized by the Union Internationale de la Marionnette (UNIMA), Asia Pacific Commission (UUAPC), the China Performing Arts Agency (CPAA) Theatres Ltd. and the China Arts and Entertainment Group (CAEG).

Aside from the two performances there will also be a workshop scheduled on February 10, 2018, 1:00-5:00 PM at the Tanghalang Huseng Batute. Slots are limited so local puppeteers and performing artists who are interested to participate are encouraged to call as soon as possible the CCP Cultural Exchange Dept. at 832-1125 local 1708/1709.

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