A national festival celebrating cheo (traditional opera) opened on Nov. 26 night in the northern province of Thai Binh, where is considered to be the birthplace of the art form.
Thirteen theatres and art troupes across the country will stage 16 plays that address issues of contemporary life, in accordance with the theme of the festival: Traditional Opera with Modern Topics.
According to Vuong Duy Bien, head of the cultural ministry's Performing Arts Department, the theme was chosen in order to bring "new vitality" to a traditional art form that mostly focuses on legendary and historical material.
"This is the first time we are requiring a specific theme for the plays presented in the festival. We strongly believe that cheo plays could be a preferred art form for mass audiences if a link can be established to the present day. In fact, Vietnamese are already familiar with the classic cheo plays that have been performed consistently for many years," he said.
Cheo is a form of popular theatre in Vietnam that has its roots in traditional village festivals. The plays consist of folk songs with pantomime, instrumental music and dance, combined with instructive or interpretative sketches based on stories from legend, poetry, history or even daily life.
Hosted by the Performing Arts Department and the Vietnam Stage Artists' Association, the festival will run until December 4.