Theater festival in Liangshan presents ethnic art
Published: Dec 04, 2023 10:52 PM
Photo: Courtesy of Daliangshan Theater Festival

Photo: Courtesy of Daliangshan Theater Festival

While winter has been warm in Liangshan, Southwest China's Sichuan Province, the theaters have been outright hot, with over 200 performances being staged across the Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture as part of a theater festival set to run until December 10. 

The opening performance Welcome to the World is a comprehensive symphonic poem that combines recitation, symphony, and dance to express the original environment of the Yi, Tibetan, and Naxi peoples who have lived in Liangshan for generations. It brings together the diverse local ethnic arts in Liangshan, acting as a magnificent picture of the blend of ancient and modern art.

The Daliangshan Theater Festival has become "a unique festival due to the intention of the organizers to underline the roots of the location and its people," said Tobias Biancone, director-general of the International Theatre Institute (ITI). "It not only embedded itself into the extraordinary landscape, it centered itself on the ethnic people that are living here, the Yi people."

In the eyes of Chinese actor Pu Cunxin, also one of the international theater festival's founders, the opening performance is "an invitation to the world from theaters."

Along with the opening performance, actors dressed in various ethnic clothing sat around the stage, dancing or reciting poetry and singing in the Yi language. 

"After five years, the Daliangshan Theater Festival has become a part of the world's theater industry. There may still be many places to improve, but its vitality has shown us that it will have a better future," commented Chinese poet Jidi Majia.

Although the internet connects the world with music, TV series and films, people tend to follow the latest trends and lose touch with their own cultural roots.

But the world is rich because of the diversity of the different cultures that exist all over the globe. "That is why it is important to care for one's own culture. That is why it is essential to empower those who care for their cultural identity, care for the cultural heritage that our ancestors brought to life in the past. That is why we need to care for the culture that is our own, that is your own," said Biancone, emphasizing the importance of cultural identity.  

It is also clear that if you want to care for your own culture, you should not just put it in a museum where it is locked up, but rather "bring it to the people, especially young people."

Taking the theme "Theater is life, theater is us," the festival will see plays from countries like Zimbabwe, Belgium and Romania as well as domestic dances, musicals and stage works. Besides these, the festival also includes talks, lectures and expos.