National Theatre Festival 2021 could be scaled down

September 27, 2021 - 08:11

One of the most anticipated theatrical events of the year could be drastically scaled down as companies struggle to present their best work.

HÀ NỘI  One of the most anticipated theatrical events of the year could be drastically scaled down as companies struggle to present their best works.

Due to take place from October until November, the National Theatre Festival may be reduced in both size and artists as some companies in COVID-19 affected area cannot make it to the port city of Hải Phòng  this year.

According to some representatives of southern theatre artists, they objected to the organisation of this year's festival and proposed postponing it to another year.

In an interview with VNExpress, Artist Mỹ Uyên, director of 5B Võ Văn Tần Drama Theatre, said that five days ago, when she received the invite, she immediately refused to participate.

"Nearly two years of suffering because of the pandemic, we are currently facing mental and financial difficulties," she said.

"The festival is supposed to be fun, but when the spirit is exhausted, how can it be fun?"

Artist Mỹ Uyên stands in the middle of her empty theatre. — Photo courtesy of Huy Võ

Sharing the same opinion, artist Trịnh Kim Chi said that organising the festival at this time is very difficult for the southern stage.

Before the pandemic, her theatre and many other stages were eager to participate in the event because it was held only once every three years and was an opportunity for artists across the country to meet and improve their skills.

She had planned to rehearse, but the pandemic broke out and all activities stopped.

“After social distancing, it will be difficult to gather everyone to participate in the festival,” Chi said.

Meanwhile, the Youth Theatre and the Việt Nam National Drama Theatre said they are planning to urgently rehearse when the distance is over.

Each of these theatres already has a play for the festival and they are preparing a second.

“Actually, there is a hesitation due to the complicated COVID-19 pandemic, especially for the southern stage, but the situation in the north is different," Meritorious Artist Nguyễn Sĩ Tiến, deputy director of the Youth Theater, said.

"We want to return to work right away, because the pandemic seems to be effectively controlled." 

Earlier, the culture ministry's Department of Performing Arts has just issued the 4th announcement on the organisation of the National Drama Festival 2021.

Due to the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to strictly comply with the direction of the Prime Minister in disease prevention and control, and at the same time ensure the rights and create the best conditions for all units that have registration, local units that are implementing social distancing can participate in the festival online but still ensure all prevention measures.

Online participating units will attend from October 28 to November 4. Direct participating units will attend from November 6 to 18.

The play "Cold Zone" of the Hà Nội Drama Theatre ís performed at the 2018 National Drama Festival.  Photo courtesy of

Those taking part are responsible for the budget, performance venue, sound and light equipment, technical equipment for recording, and transmission equipment.

The organisers will have specific instructions on the online format. Participants must submit their registration to the Department of Performing Arts before October 15.

Currently, there are 20 units registered to take part in the festival.

All for the artists

According to Deputy Director of the Department of Performing Arts, Trần Hướng Dương, the organising fund has been arranged for this year, if it does not happen, it must be returned to the state budget, or report to the culture ministry to use for other, appropriate activities.

“The five-year plan approved by the state is from 2021 to 2025 so the plan of the first year will affect the following years. It is best to maintain the organisation, otherwise the units must report for adjustment," he said.

“The Department's wish is for theatres to operate and have excellent art works to serve the people."

Artists receive individual gold medals for excellent performances at the 2018 National Drama Festival.   Photo courtesy of

Dương also hopes that artists and theatre representatives can have a frank dialogue with the authority to solve difficulties together.

He added: “If it is too difficult to attend online, we can coordinate with HTV to ensure the quality of the online performance. 

“Personally, I always wish the best for the artists and always give my best to support them.”

The previous festival held in Hồ Chí Minh City in 2018, had 22 participating units with 27 plays, including 13 non-state troupes. The National Theatre Festival is organised by the Department of Performing Arts in collaboration with the Việt Nam Theatre Artists Association and local cultural authorities.  VNS