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Museum Special: Tianjin Theater Museum

05-28-2011 11:02 BJT

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China is a country with multiple theatrical activities spread over a large area. Chinese traditional opera, an integration of singing and performance, is the most common, distinctive, and representative form of Chinese theater. One small museum in north China's Tianjin is the first of its kind dedicated solely to Chinese theater. The Tianjin Theater Museum has been celebrating these resilient and dynamic performance traditions.

The small orchestra may not be staging the theatrical performances as the museum's name suggests, but they are implicitly tracing another historical aspect of the building - its predecessor as the Guangdong Guild Hall.

The Guangdong style music was then played for the Cantonese speaking community in Tianjin while they discussed business, and probably to treat homesickness. Today, it is played occasionally for the curious visitors to the museum.

Bai Le, Museum Visitor, said, "I'm from Tianjin Conservatory of Music, majoring in musicology. This is an organized tour for us. Here, we are able to access the knowledge about traditional operas that we were not familiar with before. "

One small museum in north China's Tianjin is the first of its kind dedicated solely to Chinese theater. The Tianjin Theater Museum has been celebrating these resilient and dynamic performance traditions.

Li Mengyuan, Museum Visitor, said, "We do have classes about traditional opera. But those are not so impressive to me. But once I stepped into this museum, the theoretical knowledge just came alive with all these vivid presentations. "

Built in 1903, the 29th year of Qing Emperor Guangxu, the building was constructed for the financially savvy Guangdong businessmen to gather together, talk business, and enjoy entertainment.

Through the collective fund-raising among the community, the Guangdong Guild Hall was completed in 1907.

The wooden structure is the largest extant example of architecture of its kind in China.

Yang Aizhuo, Tianjin Theater Museum, said, "The theater itself may well be called the star exhibit in the museum, with its architecture boasting many special traits. It is supported by no columns, thus, the view is unobstructed. The arch ceiling, hanging directly on top of the stage, was designed as a natural audio amplifier, allowing the performers’voices to reach every audience member without the use of microphones. The glass windows that wall the top of the theater allow natural light in so that no stage lights are needed."

 


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