|Crowded venue: Many theatres are in poor condition and have failed to earn sufficient profits for the past few years. — VNS Photo Tam Ngoc
HCM CITY (VNS) — Art troupes in HCM City are asking the HCM City authority to invest in upgrading and building theatres to meet audiences' demand.
Music professor Ca Le Thuan, chairman of the HCM City Union of Literature and Arts Associations, said "the theatre industry has been increasingly prosperous in recent years" and more funds should be devoted to it.
People's Artist Hong Van, producer of two drama troupes, also recommended that the city invest more funds in theatres. "After spending more money, we should also improve management to create quality facilities with beautiful decor," he said.
According to a recent survey by the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the city has nine theatres owned by the Government with more than 5,000 seats, and 12 private stages with 1,200 seats.
Most of these theatres are in poor condition and have failed to earn sufficient profits for the past few years.
Some theatres have been redeveloped as hotels and office buildings.
Recently, the managing board of the two biggest theatres, Ben Thanh and Hoa Binh, worked with several advertising and event companies to encourage the development of theatres.
"It was sad to see that some theatres were rebuilt for other purposes, while our private troupes have no theatre. We have to hire a stage to do business," said Van, who manages the Phu Nhuan and Hong Van drama troupes.
Both her troupes are working on small stages with poor conditions located in cultural houses in Tan Binh and Phu Nhuan districts.
"If the city fails to implement reliable measures and introduce preferential policies to support the industry, more theatres will disappear in the next few years," she said.
Huynh Anh Tuan, owner of the IDECAF Drama Stage and Rong Vang Puppet Troupe, said that private art troupes had to pay too much for the rights to stage plays, while turnover from tickets could not cover operational costs.
"To resolve the problem and attract investment to the sector, new policies on taxes and building theatres should be at the top of the agenda," she said.
"If this occurs, it will be good for theatre lovers, because many young people still prefer going to the theatre with their friends, rather than staying at home, with the biggest complaint being the high cost of admission tickets," he said.
Last month, the region's biggest cai luong (reformed opera) theatre Tran Huu Trang reopened in District 1, after two years of renovation.
The city's Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism invested VND132 billion (US$6 million) in the building.
Tran Ngoc Giau, the theatre's director, said four new plays about history, social and family problems would be staged by the theatre's performers this year.
"Only with quality services can theatres satisfy the demands of fans and make a profit," he said. — VNS