Fourth Wuzhen Theatre Festival begins registration

By Sun Shuangjie Source:Global Times Published: 2016-5-26 20:08:01

One of China's top theater festivals, the Wuzhen Theatre Festival, will debut its fourth edition from October 13 to 22 in Wuzhen, Zhejiang Province, according to Meng Jinghui, the artistic director of the festival.

Last year, the festival hosted 21 theater productions - half from outside China - for a total of 73 performances during the week-long celebration.

The theme of this year's festival is "Gaze Beyond," a hint at the event's focus on the future of theater culture in China.

In a change this year, the Young Theatre Artist's Competition will increase the number of finalists from 12 to 18.

Registration for the festival has already started on Those under 35 or debuting their first work of theater can apply to take part in the competition until July 31. 

On October 22, the jury will announce their picks for Best Play (200,000 yuan/$30,400 prize), Outstanding Performer (60,000 yuan) and several special attention awards. Those troupes honored with special attention awards will be given the opportunity to visit major overseas theater festivals next year.

"We need more young people to join the theater scene now," said Stan Lai, co-founder and executive chairman of the festival.

"So we're happy to have this opportunity to offer these young people awards to encourage them to present their best creations."

Meng, a frequent visitor to theater festivals in China and abroad, stressed the importance of the festival to the Global Times.

"There are no other theater festivals in the world that spend so much effort, time and money on young artists. The competition section has become a major feature of the Wuzhen Theatre Festival, because young people are the future and the Wuzhen Theatre Festival is about cultivating a future for Chinese theater."

The jury for the competition will expand from five members to nine this year and will include newcomers such as Li Bo and Wu Bi, the respective winners of the Most Outstanding Artist and Best Play awards last year.

The artistic committee of the festival will also see a change this year. Eight new members will include popular actor, director and TV host He Jiong, veteran Taiwanese actor Li Lichun and well-known TV, theater and film stars Pu Cunxin, Xi Meijuan and Sun Honglei.

"We're also negotiating to bring the new work of a master director to Wuzhen for its world premiere. If we can make that happen, it will elevate the Wuzhen Theatre Festival to a new level," added Lai.

In the previous years, the festival has featured the works of theater greats such as Peter Brook, Eugenio Barba and Robert Brustein.

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