|Drama: Young performers at the Tuoi Ngoc Children's Stage, one of HCM City's prestigious drama clubs. It has staged plays, circus and puppet shows for children for 30 years. — Photo sankhau.com.vn
by Thu Anh
HCM CITY (VNS) — More than 1,000 children and their parents visited the Tuoi Ngoc (Magic Age) Children's Stage in HCM City during Tet to enjoy a series of plays, circus and puppet shows, which are part of the theatre's special programme to celebrate its 30th birthday.
Behind the stage, Meritorious Artist Le Cuong, one of the theatre's founders, worked hard to make magic in the music-filled theatre, and had the audience, particularly children, enthralled.
He has written and directed more than 150 plays and performances, mostly aimed at children aged five to 12.
He has also offered training for children, which often led to professional careers in the theatre.
His students include Ly Hai, Quoc Hung va Phuong Thanh, who brighten the stage and work for leading theatres and studios.
"I have a deep passion for drama. Unlike my colleagues, I love working with children, who have enhanced my dramatic talent on stage," said Cuong, who faced challenges opening the Tuoi Ngoc theatre in early 1986.
"In the 1980s we didn't have any idea about opening a theatre that serves children only. We were pioneers who made new waves in both art and business," he recalled.
The Tuoi Ngoc quickly became a favourite entertainment place for local children and teenagers. It now offers four shows in different genres of theatre per month, attracting hundreds of audience member aged three to 15.
Its young actors have often travelled to remote districts to offer free performances for local children.
Cuong said he wanted to inject life into the shows by adding attractive elements.
"A stage of performance for children is a channel for dreams. A director should be the person who builds his own house," he said.
"I create shows built on both Eastern and Western styles. My audiences see many magical things when they enter the theatre to enjoy themselves," he added.
Creating a colourful and lively stage for children comes naturally to Cuong, a man who has many childlike ways and never grows tired.
His plays such as Vuong Mien (The Crown), Cai Non (The Hat) and Thang Quy Nho (A Little Demon) include both education and entertainment, leaving a strong impression on audiences.
He and his staff have worked on circus and puppet shows based on the Brothers Grimm's fairy tales, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Princess and the Pea and The Fisherman and a Mermaid.
"I am like a child myself, and I know what children want to see on stage," Cuong said.
"I enjoy creating a world where our children's dreams could become a reality where animals, princesses, princes and enchantresses spring out from the storybooks and jump right off the papers to appear before their faces," he said.
Training is another feather in his hat.
"I decided to work in training because I wanted to give young talents a hand to help them develop. They are the future of our theatre," he said.
His theatre has worked with cultural houses and centres for children in rural districts to offer free training for young talents.
The Tuoi Ngoc Children Stage's new shows are on stage every weekend night at 7 Tran Cao Van Street, District 1. Tickets are available at the box office. — VNS