HCM City,Tran Huu Trang Cai Luong Theatre,new exhibit hall about cai luong
Images and objects featuring cai luong (reformed opera) and its artists will be on display at a new exhibit hall at Tran Huu Trang Cai Luong Theatre in HCM City, one of the region’s leading traditional art troupes. The hall is expected to open in September to celebrate the country’s National Day on September 2. — VNA/VNS Photo by Thanh Vu 

The hall will display photos, books, documents and videos featuring the history and development of cai luong, a traditional genre of southern theatre which began in the early 1920s in the Cuu Long (Mekong) River Delta region. 

Images of Cai Luong Nam Bo Troupe, which opened in 1950 and attracted artists in the revolutionary movement in South Vietnam, will be highlighted. 

The troupe joined the National Music and Theatre Festival in Hanoi in 1955 after the 1954 Geneva Agreement on Indochina was signed. It played a very important role in the theatre’s developments in the South. Its shows portrayed patriotism and Vietnamese culture and characters. Its talented artists, such as Meritorious Artist Le Thien and Ca Le Hong, still work to keep their art alive and show it to younger artists. 

“Our hall aims to honour cai luong and its veteran artists who used their art to encourage southern people and soldiers during the country’s two wars of resistance and national construction,” Meritorious Artist Le Thien, director of Tran Huu Trang Cai Luong Theatre, said. 

“Through the images and objects, we hope visitors, particularly young people, learn more about the country’s heroic history and the great contributions that southern artists made to the country and people,” he added. 

Thien and his colleagues worked with Tran Huu Trang Cai Luong Theatre to offer training tom young artists because they hope their students will “follow the older generations’ footsteps to preserve and develop cai luong,” Thien said.

HCM City,Tran Huu Trang Cai Luong Theatre,new exhibit hall about cai luong
Young artists of Tran Huu Trang Cai Luong Theatre follow their older generations’ footsteps to preserve and develop cai luong. — Photo courtesy of the theatre

Thien’s theatre, Tran Huu Trang Cai Luong Theatre, was named after late playwright Tran Huu Trang, one of the region’s foremost artists in cai luong. 

Trang, a son of My Tho Province (now Tien Giang Province), began his professional career in 1928 working for leading troupes owned by Tran Dac, Nam Phi and Nam Chau, great veterans of cai luong. 

After the August Revolution in 1945, Trang joined the revolutionary cause and worked in Sai Gon-Cho Lon. He was a member of the National Front for the Liberation of the South. He died in 1966 in a battle. His body has never been found. 

He created more than 30 plays which all feature Vietnamese patriotism and characteristics. Most have been staged many times by different generations at home and abroad. For his contributions, he was awarded the Ho Chi Minh Prize by the Government in 1996. 

“Trang’s career highlights will be displayed at our hall,” said Thien.

The theatre’s exhibit hall will open on National Day, September 2, at 515 Tran Hung Dao Street, District 1.  VNS

HCM City cai luong theatres returns after COVID-19

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