The 1st World Theatre Education Convention with 3rd Asian Theatre Schools Festival Kicks off

In the afternoon of May 18, the 1st World Theatre Education Convention with 3rd Asian Theatre Schools Festival was hold grandly at the Experimental Theatre of Dongcheng campus of The Central Academy of Drama, China. This event was sponsored by Chinese Department of Public Health, Physical and Art Education, Ministry of Education and Asia Theatre Education Center (ATEC), and organized by The Central Academy of Drama, China with strongly support from International Theatre Institute (ITI), International Federation of Theatre Research (IFTR) and International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC). International and national honored guests, specialists, as well as teachers and students from The Central Academy of Drama, China, College of Arts, Nihon University, Japan, Department of Theatre, College of the Arts, Chung-Ang University, Korea, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore, National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts, China, Shanghai Theatre Academy, China, The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, China, Uzbekistan State Institute of Arts and Culture, Uzbekistan, Chungwoon University, Korea, Hanoi Academy of Theatre and Cinema, Vietnam, Toho Gakuen College of Drama and Music, Japan, SeoKyeong University, College of Arts, Korea, Universidad del Valle, Colombia, Mongolian State University of Arts and Culture, Mongolia, and College of Fine Arts, University of New Mexico, USA attended the opening ceremony. The ceremony was presided over by Prof. Liu libin, Vice Director-General of ATEC and Chairman of Executive Committee of The Central Academy of Drama, China.

During the event, the performance given by teachers and students of the Central Academy of Drama has won rapturous applause among the honored guests, teachers and students attending the event. The performance, delivered in such forms as dialogs training, Chinese operas, vocal & physical training and musicals highlights, fully demonstrated the basic skill and remarkable performing ability of the teachers and students of the Academy.

Mr. Wang Dengfeng, Director of the Department of Physical, Health and Arts Education, Ministry of Education, China, addressed the opening ceremony, stating that theatre arts education was an indispensable component of China’s higher education, and it was the shared responsibility of the Ministry of Education of China and the Arts Education Committee to expedite the reform of theatre arts education and boost its prospering and development; this had become a frequent topic among theatre arts education experts in Asia and even the world. The 1st World Theatre Education Convention was themed as “Asia Today – Theatre Education for the 21st Century”. Various forms of discussions and exchange activities will be held during the Convention, which will surely lead to constructive suggestions for the research on teaching and comprehensive reform of theatre education in the 21st Century, thus promoting prosperity and development of the higher theatre education in Asia and the world.

Mr. Tobias Biancone, Director General of the International Theatre Institute, shared his opinions regarding the value of the performance arts education and the value of international exchange among performing artists nowadays in his speech. He pointed out the urgent need for carrying out theoretical research, questioning the past, paying attention to audience and trying new methods. We might come to creative ideas and thoughts through international cooperation and enter a brand new chapter in the field of theatre education, and those are what theatre workers really need. The new network platform for higher education of performing arts co-established by a number of universities and colleges just serve as a place for us to learn and exchange.

Mr. Xu Xiang, Director-General of ATEC and President of the Central Academy of Drama, China, also addressed the opening ceremony of the Convention. On behalf of the students and teachers of the Academy, he extended his warm welcome to all honored guests, experts, scholars, teachers and students attending the Event. Mr. Xu stated that over the past 9 years since its establishment, ATEC has been making noticeable efforts for development and prospering of theatre education in Asia, and the sincere cooperation and collaboration among ATEC members have now led to great achievements. He encouraged the experts to analyze the current situation and future of the world theatre and discuss about the theatre arts in Asia with a further foresight, a more diversified view angle and a more generous attitude, in an effort to find new contents and forms of teaching and practice for theatre education. No one can be the center of the world, and it is of utmost importance to ensure healthy development of cultures of various countries and nations without being assimilated or being stuck in the mud. New connotations are indispensable for buildup of outstanding theatre culture, and aesthetic value is needed for traditional theatre forms to allow it to fit into the world culture. Only through this way could we persuade more people to like theatre arts.

Mr. Libin, Vice Director-General of ATEC and Chairman of Executive Committee of The Central Academy of Drama, China, then announced the opening of The 1st World Theatre Education Convention with 3rd Asian Theatre Schools Festival.

Mr. Kim Yun Cheol, professor of the Korea National University of the Arts, Korea, and President of the International Association of Theatre Critics, delivered a keynote speech at the Convention. During his speech, Mr. Kim looked back on the process of establishing School of Drama, Korea National University of the Arts and pointed out that the key point is to train the students to express their feelings and thoughts with movement and words freely with their unique local styles. After giving suggestions regarding multidisciplinary co-teaching, Mr. Kim called for a new example of theatre education. He insisted that courses should be designed on the basis of students and he is willing to commit himself to the prosperity and development of the theatre education in Asia and the world.

Mr. Christopher Balme, professor of Institute for Theatre Studies, University of Munich, Germany, and President of International Federation of Theatre Research, gave a keynote speech titled Asian Theatre and Globalization: Historical Perspectives. Mr. Balme believed that with the progression of globalization, various cultural traditions are becoming increasingly combined and mixed, and mutual recognition has been noticed between theatres, thus enriching the forms of theatre. He pointed out that the theatre, especially the theatre in Asia, has been standardized without losing its diversity. Doubtlessly, theatre workers, teachers and students have benefited a lot from this.