New musical to introduce Sanxingdui to the world
Published: May 08, 2023 10:51 PM
Photo: Courtesy of Beijing One World Culture Communications

Photo: Courtesy of Beijing One World Culture Communications

Musicals will become a new way to learn about one of the greatest 20th century archaeological finds in China: the mysterious Sanxingdui Ruins in Southwest China's Sichuan Province. 

On Monday, Beijing One World Culture Communications announced that it is now recruiting performers for a new musical that will introduce these ancient ruins, which rewrote much of what we know about China's ancient past. 

The production is set to make its world premiere in Chengdu in October and then set off on a national tour. 

"This new musical will share with the world the legend and wonder of this ancient and fascinating city and culture," said Thom Southerland, an English theater director who also has the musical Titanic under his belt. 

Since working in the theater as a director, he has "always been drawn to pieces to tell and find such historical stories."

Thousands of gold, bronze, jade, ivory and pottery artifacts, even gold masks, have been unearthed from Sanxingdui, stunning the world as they were unlike anything ever found in China before. With the find, archaeologists realized they had just opened the door to an ancient culture dating back to between 3,000 and 5,000 years ago.

"The stories of the Sanxingdui Ruins and Asian culture will find contemporary relevance. When we see them brought to life on stage, it will be a grand and entertaining new musical," said the director. He is working with creatives who will craft this story for the audiences in China and around the world. 

As an important project to promote Sanxingdui on the world stage, the musical, an international collaboration with members from China, the UK, Italy and South Korea, seeks to create a fantastic tour of the ruins and bring its cultural relics to life on stage.

According to Wang Yong, president of the National Peking Opera Company and the musical's scriptwriter, the story is centered on Chinese archaeologists, whose efforts, talents and hard work helped uncover these great finds. 

"We will show the Chinese people's spirit of dreaming and exploring the unknown world that has never changed from ancient times to the present," said Wang on Monday.

"What they do is so remarkable. Their work allows us to witness these relics that have been buried for thousands of years." 

"With this production, we can increase the self-confidence of our nation."

In order to best present difficult expert knowledge, the team in charge of casting has consulted a large number of documents and visited the Sanxingdui Ruins, as well as had in-depth talks with two generations of archaeologists working at the site. 

"All in all, we try our best to present the actual archaeological site and the original appearance of cultural relics on stage, so as to reveal this mysterious and distant culture," he added.