With the collaboration between researchers, artists, technology and social media. Cultura Fish wishes to introduce the art of hát bội to everyone.

Bài viết có phiên bản tiếng Việt

Hát bội (or can go with the name “tuồng”) is a traditional performance art form in Vietnam, it has a rich historical foundation, and quite an influence to the community. “…The performance art of hát bội from older times has been thriving across all three regions in the country, from the rural areas to big cities, from the urban to the elite”. Just like any traditional art form, the stage of hát bội also consists of aesthetic values of Viet people, reflecting the life, stories, and aspirations of the common Viet people. However, comparing to other art forms such as literature, paintings…; as well as other similar mediums like cải lương, theatre…hát bội is in a rather disadvantaged position. Under the feudal era, performance art in general, including hát bội, wasn’t well perceived in its early days. The artists, the performers, or just the theatre workers in generally had been under the stigma of being contemplated by the elites and being excluded as outcasts.

The cast of Hát Bội Art Troupe – Tuồng cổ Ngọc Khanh in the play “San Hậu”. (Photo: Tran Duy)

In the modern era, facing the transition of the new Western ideals, theatre performance has transformed into a new method of expression. Kịch nói – the theatre form adapted from Western world, and cải lương – the theatre form that was developed on the basis of traditional and contemporary fusion have been dominating the public art scene. The art of hát bội, however, still has its very own quiet life, but yet full of potential that years to seek for the depth of humanistic values.

The audience waiting for hát bội performance at Chí Hoà shrine. (Photo: Lục Nhi)

“Hát Bội 101” is a project that aims to introduce the art of hát bội to the audience that hasn’t had a chance to interact with this art form in a welcoming and standardised way. Through the collaboration between researchers and artists, technology and social media, Cultura Fish wishes to deliver the audience the confidence to appreciate the performances and be creative with the hát bội elements.

Activities of “Hát Bội 101” including:

Illustration by Josh Trombley and Jackie Tạ.

  • Content and infographic that introduces hát bội that will be posted on our website or our Cultura Fish Facebook page. The content will emphasise the history, characteristics of hát bội, ways to appreciate the play,…all carefully composed by our scholar.
  • Workshops to experience the elements of hát bội such as performance makeup, costume, music, etc.
  • Talk Shows hosted by scholars, in order to welcome and answer queries about hát bội in the most approachable way.
  • “Hát Bội 101” appreciation class (offline and online).
  • Research and archival activities (photography, audio recording, filming) of hát bội to build a public resource for the audience to access via Cultura Fish’s website.

Our advisor 

Joining “Hát Bội 101” is MA Researcher Vương Hoài Lâm. Born in 1990, graduated from Master of Literature at VNUHCM-University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vương Hoài Lâm has published numerous articles about traditional theatre performances of Southern area such as hát bội, cải lương. Currently, Vương Hoài Lâm is teaching literature at Quang Trung middle school, where they always strive to bring in the traditional performance elements in their school materials.

Cultura Fish is proud to work alongside hát bội artist troupes and cultural partners who have a close relationship with the performance art sector.

Goals of “Hát Bội 101”

  • Helping the audience, especially the youth audience, to have basic literacy about hát bội (history, characteristic, essence of hát bội), learning to distinguish the differences between hát bội and other performance art forms such as cải lương (tuồng cổ), Chinese traditional opera.
  • Encouraging the audience to enjoy and appreciate hát bội with an open heart.
  • Through hosting interactive events with hát bội artist troupe in our appreciation classes or panel talks hosted by our scholars, the audience can get to implement or be creative with the cultural materials.
  • Cultura Fish becomes a trusted reference point for the public to learn about the art of hát bội.

A few writings of “Hát Bội 101” that were published on our Website and Facebook page

To follow our updates on “Hát Bội 101”, you can click like and follow on our Facebook page or sign up for our newsletter via the website. To contact us via email, kindly send us your letter to [email protected] for support or future collaborations.