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Event to pay tribute to Tang Xianzu and William Shakespeare

By Chen Nan | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-07-17 15:17

The Tang Xianzu International Theater Arts Exchange will be held at Fuzhou, in Jiangxi province, Tang's birthplace, from Sept 24 to the end of October. [Photo by Chen Qiang/China Daily]

The Tang Xianzu International Theater Arts Exchange — a series of programs to pay tribute to Chinese playwright Tang Xianzu and English poet and playwright William Shakespeare — will be held at Fuzhou, in Jiangxi province, Tang's birthplace, from Sept 24 to the end of October.

About 20 performing arts troupes from China and the United Kingdom will perform in Fuzhou, including TNT Theatre Britain, Suzhou Kunqu Opera Theater of Jiangsu Province and the National Peking Opera Company, staging pieces adapted from works of Tang and Shakespeare.

The Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) playwright from Fuzhou composed more than 2,000 poems and essays, most of which were written during his later years.

He is best known for four plays — The Peony Pavilion, The Purple Hairpin, Record of the Southern Bough and Record of Handan. They're collectively known as The Four Dreams of Linchuan.

In September 2016, the three-day Third China Fuzhou Tang Xianzu Art Festival was held in Fuzhou, featuring events, including a grand parade at the opening ceremony, the premiere of the musical Tang Xianzu performed by the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and the opening of the Tang Xianzu Memorial Museum and a stage production, titled A Midsummer Night's Dreaming Under the Southern Bough by the University of Leeds, which combined Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and Tang's Record of the Southern Bough.

These two productions are expected to return to the upcoming Tang Xianzu International Theater Arts Exchange.

Meanwhile, the UK's Stratford-on-Avon and China's Fuzhou, the hometowns of William Shakespeare and Tang, signed a memorandum of cooperation at the Linchuan No 1 Middle School in Fuzhou last September.

Zhang Hongxing, mayor of Fuzhou and Chris Saint, leader of the Stratford-on-Avon District Council attended the event.

The idea of commemorating Tang and Shakespeare through the year came from a speech by President Xi Jinping, who, during his visit to Britain in October last year, called on both countries to jointly "celebrate the legacy of these two literary giants to promote interpersonal exchanges and deepen mutual understanding".

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