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Opera troupes find ways to survive pandemic

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2022-05-16 07:28

Liu Lihua, head of Huangmeixi Opera Troupe pf Huaining county [Photo provided to China Daily]

Sense of community

When the pandemic emerged in 2020, Pan was among the troupe's young performers who launched an online streaming channel on Douyin. As a result, when Liu had the idea of livestreaming shows, she immediately thought of Pan.

Pan said: "There are 40 actors and actresses in the company, with most of them born after 1990. Livestreaming is nothing new to us because we watch different kinds of shows on social media platforms.

"When we started, we prepared programs, assigned different jobs to our performers, and divided them into groups, taking turns every night to give livestreaming shows. We are always looking for new ways to engage with younger audiences, and we are now creating a new sense of community online."

Video platforms such as Douyin have led to traditional Chinese opera performers becoming celebrities.

Such operas have proved popular on Douyin, and according to a report released by the company recently, 231 types of traditional Chinese opera are being livestreamed on the platform. These performances range from genres with a large fan base, such as Peking Opera and Kunqu Opera, to those that appeal to a minority, such as Nuo, Luju and Huju operas.

Last year, Douyin staged more than 800,000 livestreaming shows by traditional Chinese opera artists, attracting a total of more than 2.5 billion viewers.

In addition to popularizing those old art forms, the Douyin report said livestreaming provides extra income for artists.

On April 14, Douyin launched a project to help more traditional Chinese opera performers find virtual stages on the platform. It will offer financial support to such troupes.

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