Home News History of Vietnamese musical-theatre Cải Lương chartered for first time

History of Vietnamese musical-theatre Cải Lương chartered for first time

NEW research from the University of Chichester and the British Council has – for the first time – chartered the history of Vietnamese musical-theatre, known as Cải Lương.

The project included filming 21 original interviews with actors, actresses, scriptwriters, musicians, writers, audience members and others.

Researchers from the University collaborated with Vietnamese playwright Nguyen Minh Ngoc and stage producer Nguyen Thanh Thuy to gather collective memories, anecdotes, and new perspectives on the century-old art form, dating from the French colonial era to contemporary Vietnam.

This project is part of Cultural Heritage for Inclusive Growth, a two-year British Council pilot programme taking place in Vietnam, Colombia and Kenya, which seeks to pioneer ways of creating inclusive and sustainable growth through the sharing and preservation of local cultural heritage.

Cultural history research by Dr Suzanne Joinson and Professor Hugo Frey, from the University of Chichester’s humanities department, has been published in English and Vietnamese in the new book: Beautiful and Real: An Oral History of Cai Luong: https://nxbhcm.com.vn/2/beautiful-and-real-an-oral-history-of-cai-luong-3875.

A recent documentary film by the British Council offers a further introduction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5sKqXh4i6g (or see video below).

Dr Joinson said: “The project is about allowing the Cai Luong community to record forgotten memories and recall new insights. I hope that the stories gathered in the book inspire new conversations and appreciations of this remarkable art form.”

Professor Frey added: “The new book will allow English and Vietnamese readers to find their own Cai Luong stories, to connect the dots for themselves and make their own interpretations. It is all about letting the testimonies shine through, we wanted to be facilitators of individual and collective memory.”

At University of Chichester the project informs students of BA and MA Creative Writing to use memory gathering storytelling techniques to inspire their life writing; while for students of BA Modern History and MA Cultural History it enhances teaching and learning on twentieth and twenty first century Vietnam.

For more about English and Creative Writing at the University of Chichester go to www.chi.ac.uk/humanities.

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