The YUME Art Project in HCM City has launched Tiếp Bước Trăm Năm (Keep Up With Century Old Tradition) with the aim of introducing a new generation to cải lương (reformed theatre).
Thành Vinh interviews Đào Lê Na, one of the founders, about the goals of the project.
You are well-known in the film industry, so why did you decide to switch to cải lương?
I’ve been thinking about the Keep Up With Century Tradition project for a long time. And I’d finished a film project, I realised the cải lương project would be difficult without a partner.
In 2018, the British Council started looking for cải lương training organisations. Bùi Thiên Huân, who runs the YUME Project with me, has experience in theatre and is passionate about developing the traditional stage.
Over the past two years, we have adjusted the content and formally named the project Keep Up With Century Old Tradition.
What is the current situation of cải lương?
In this digital age, cải lương and many other traditional arts do not receive proper attention. Many young people are unaware of traditional art and culture, which risks us losing our national identity.
If Vietnamese traditional culture is truly loved and understood by young people, they will create artworks that bring the voice of the nation and the era. They will know the importance of building a beautiful image of Việt Nam in the eyes of international friends.
Why is the British Council interested in your project?
The Cải Lương Transmission Project for Young Generation is part of the Cultural Heritage For Inclusive Growth Project which the British Council is carrying out in Colombia, Kenya and Việt Nam.
The reason the British Council is interested in cải lương is because it is a valuable traditional art form which is at risk of being lost.
That’s why they’ve called on art organisations to carry out projects related to the preservation, promotion and transmission of cải lương.
The journey to bring YUME’s project to the British Council was not difficult because we shared the same views.
Similar projects in the south have failed to attract young people. How do you plan to succeed on your mission?
I’ve heard about some projects that are trying to bring the traditional stage to schools. I think they are interesting, but my project is slightly different.
We organise discussions about cải lương with young people.
I think that by listening to young people will let us know how to introduce cải lương to them.
What do you think about the future of your project?
We want young people to learn about cải lương and its traditional culture value. The project will help young people to learn what needs to be changed to improve their sense of preservation and share their knowledge of cải lương with the community. — VNS