Education Through Theatre

The Tuoi
Tre Youth Theatre will hold 100 free performances for 80,000 children between
now and the end of this year. “Children’s Voice” is a joint project
between the Youth Theatre and the Swedish International Theatre Institute
(ITI).

    This weekend,
children from ages three to six will have a chance to see the debut of a new
play, Tho San Sa Bay (The Hunter Was Trapped), which will teach them valuable
lessons.

    During his
migration to the south, a young bird is shot and wounded by a hunter. Unable to
fly, the bird falls into a strange forest, but with the help of Santa Claus and
his two friends, Ti Ti and Ti Teo, the bird survives the winter.    

    When the warm
weather returns, they again meet the cruel hunter, but thanks to the bird’s
intelligence and courage, they escape unscathed.

    “Through
the story, children can learn simple but valuable lessons: to obey their
parents and not play far away from home, to unite and help each other when
facing challenges and how to escape dangerous situations,” says Truong
Nhuan, the theatre’s vice director.

    The play
will be performed on Saturday and Sunday morning by the theatre’s famous
troupe, including Le Khanh, Ngoc Huyen, Tu Oanh, Nguyet Hang and Si Tien. There
will also be free performances for kindergarteners in suburban districts.

    In 2007,
the theatre offered 95 free performances to 82,000 children in Ha Noi and its
suburbs under the “Children’s Voice” project, says Nhuan. So far this
year, the troupe has performed over 85 free shows for 70,000 children in Ha Noi
and Bac Ninh Province.

    In 2008, following the success of the first project, the theatre offered free
programmes to children in Ha Noi and Bac Ninh including Neu Em la Nguoi Lon (If
I Were an Adult), Bo Ngua Tim Me (Mantis Looks for Mother) and Tinh Ban
(Friendship).

    The theatre
also invited actors from Sweden
to train 25 young Ha Noi actors and 23 teachers from primary schools and
kindergartens about the educational value of theatre. The ITI has co-operated
with the HCM City Theatre to expand the project to HCM City.

    Accompanying
her daughter to a performance, Phan Nguyen To Nga says that she hasn’t seen
such an interesting play in a long time.

    “Hopefully,
performances like this will be organised more regularly in order to entertain
poor children,” she says.

    ITI, an
international non-governmental organisation, was founded in 1948 by UNESCO and
members of the international theatre community to promote international
exchange and cultural understanding through performing arts.

    ITI has run
the “Children’s Voice” project in Asia
since 2004, with financial support from the Swedish International Development
Co-operation Agency (SIDA). The original project included theatres in India and Bangladesh
and was expanded in 2007 to include Viet Nam,
Laos and China through
2009. Viet Nam’s
theatres have received a total of VND2 billion (US$120,000) in funding.

 

 

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