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Taizhou Luantan was included in the 1st batch of National Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2006. Experts all believe that Taizhou Luantan is one of the existing operas with the longest history, the oldest performing forms, the most abundant plays and the most distinctive performing features in Chinese opera circles, and it is a valuable oral intangible cultural heritage and a living fossil full of ancient charm in the garden of Chinese operas.

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However, Taizhou Luantan stood still for 30 years in the prime of Chinese Operas due to various reasons and the Taizhou Luantan Troupe was not re-established until 2005. The Troupe, under the leadership of Head Shang Wenbo, has analyzed the reasons why Taizhou Luantan had got into a survival dilemma, and finally got out of the difficult position by making bold reform in personnel, idea and system, conforming to the market demand and strengthening publicity under the support of local government.

 

The Troupe has strived to explore the new management mode of “privately run under government subsidy” and launched a series reform measures which have greatly encouraged the art talents and the positive working attitude of everyone. After discussion, the core value of the Troupe is determined to be “My Luantan, My Troupe”, its mission “Protect Cultural Heritage, Continue Chinese Cultural Tradition”, its vision “Creating A Gold Name Card of Taizhou Culture”, its spirit “Advocating Morality, Valuing Art, Dedicating”, and its attitude “Diligence, Pragmatism, Self-discipline, Innovation”. All these have changed the ideas of every actors and staffs and helped to build their confidence and strengthen the team spirit and cohesion.

 

After re-establishment, the Troupe has given active play to the role of elder artists and focused on mentoring. Ancient art cannot be separated with the soil where it has taken roots and local dramas cannot do without passing down from generation to generation. Senior Taizhou Luantan actor Xu Dinglong, female role actor Zhang Huafei, as well as Han Dongsheng, Xu Kunfen, Lu Qiyong, Lin Rongfen, Wang Yi, Lin Yanyan and Wang Lijun, they are all major actors of Taizhou Luantan and they constitute the complete cast of Sheng (the role of a male actor), Dan (the role of a female actor), Jing (the actor with a painted face), Mo (the role of an old-aged male actor) and Chou (the role of a clown). Art director Lu Huilai and Zhou Zubao, drummer Ying Peiguo, major Erhu players Zhou Qinglian and Fu Linhua, they are all inheritors of Taizhou Luantan. Under their mentoring and instruction, young actors have been cultivated and come on the stage, which has helped to bring the excellent local drama Taizhou Luantan back to life and shine with greater brilliance in the short time of only a dozen years.

 

In 2011, Taizhou Luantan Troupe came to Germany to take part in the 27th International Drama Festival, a drama festival of largest scale and longest history in Europe, and won the highest honor - the “Special Award”. In February, 2012, it was designated by the Ministry of Culture to take part in the Lantern Festival Show in New Zealand organized by local mainstream society and New Zealand Prime Minister came to appreciate the performance. The 19 activities in 15 days presented an unprecedentedly grand occasion and attracted over 300,000 audiences.

 

At present, “Shi’erji”, “Lubu and Diaochan”, “Qi Jiguang” and “Unexpected Promotions” have been the brand plays of Taizhou Luantan. Taizhou Luantan has relied on government to carry out “Culture in Countryside” activities in its development, with an aim of revitalizing the rural cultural market and enabling the seaside orchid of Taizhou Luantan to burst into more gorgeous flowers.



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