'Oriental Shakespeare' Tang Xianzu's hometown to commemorate playwright with year of global celebrations

Source:Global Times Published: 2016-3-22 18:58:01

400 years of dreaming

A scene from The Peony Pavilion Photo: CFP

Fuzhou, home to literary master and playwright Tang Xianzu, in East China's Jiangxi Province will host a series of celebrations throughout this year to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of China's "Shakespeare," the city's mayor Zhang Hongxing announced at a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday.

The celebration will include an event held from April 22-30 in Shakespeare's hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon, UK, to honor the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare and Tang, both of whom died in 1616. The event will showcase Fuzhou's local folk opera Caichaxi (Tea Picking Opera), scenes from Tang's famous play The Peony Pavilion as well as photos of Tang's hometown of Linchuan, Jiangxi Province, in the garden at the Shakespeare's Birthplace museum and The University of Leeds.

At the press conference, Zhang said that people in Fuzhou have been inspired by Chinese President Xi Jinping's call to jointly "celebrate the legacy of these two literary giants to promote interpersonal exchange and deepen mutual understanding" during his visit to the UK in October.

In addition to the UK, locations in Spain and the US will also host similar celebrations or a memorial hall for Tang.

Born in 1550, Tang composed 2,200 poems and more than 500 essays, most of which were written after he retired to his hometown in 1598. To this day he remains famous for four plays - The Peony Pavilion, The Purple Hairpin, Record of the Southern Bough and Record of Handan - collectively known as The Four Dreams of Linchuan.

China's National Center for the Performing Arts will also stage The Four Dreams of Linchuan in the local Fuzhou  dialect in honor of Tang. Tang Xianzu commemorative coins and stamps will also be released as part of the celebrations.

According to Chi Hong, the head of Jiangxi's Department of Culture, the local government will implement measures to promote the study of Tang as well as set up awards named after the playwright to promote local dramas.

Newspaper headline: 400 years of dreaming

Posted in: Miscellany, Theater

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