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Special report: The Taipei City Arts Promotion Office

 The Taipei City Arts Promotion Office (TAPO) comprises the Programming Section, Traditional Opera Section, and Arts Promotion Section, each covers a separate field of activity.

The Programming Section is in charge of the Metropolitan Hall, Wen-Shan Theater, and Family Theatre, organizing music/dance/theater performances and offering hospitality service at the venues; The Traditional Opera Section oversees the Dadaocheng Theater’s operation and arranges various performances and promotional courses for traditional art; the Arts Promotion Section is responsible for training cultural volunteers, supervising the operation of exhibition areas, and holding the Citizen Seminars.

Restructured from the former Taipei Cultural Center in 2015, TAPO has devoted itself to engage in professional theatre management and to promote art activities ever since, and it’s beginning to obtain positive results, said TAPO’s deputy director Wu Shu-Hua.

TAPO has organized a number of remarkable events in 2017. Some of the significant works include two exhibitions on the 8th floor of the Dadaocheng Theater – One started on Dec.16, presenting glove puppetry, shadow puppet play, and puppet show; The other features Lin Jin-lian, the traditional artist famous for his ceremonial puppets. Lin, 85, is one of the few artists who can operate puppets to perform "Tiao Zhong Kui", a traditional Taiwanese ritual held to exorcise evil spirits and bless the living. The altar and instruments for the ritual are also displayed in the exhibition, which lasts until June 2018.

In Aug. 2017, TAPO’s exhibition area featured “International Art Exhibition” organized by the Sung-Shan Tsu-Huel Temple. The 400 selected pieces, spanning water-and-ink painting, oil painting, and photography, came from renowned artists of various disciplines at home and abroad, such as the late photographer Lang Jing-Shan, international photographer Ko Si-Chi, Chinese brush painter Li Chi-Mao, and calligrapher & painter Au Ho-Nien.

The annual Youth Xiqu Festival of Arts organized by the Dadaocheng Theatre marked its 4th anniversary in Mar. 2017. Four new plays made their debuts during the five-week festival that staged various performances ranging from Taiwanese Opera, Peking Opera, Kunqu Opera, and Hakka Opera. Among all, the young enjoyed the outdoor show the most, which illustrated Dadaocheng’s history and traditional opera via several scenes of plays and movies under the theme of “The Cave of Theatrical Play”.

 As for 2018, it’s going to be another splendid year: From Feb.3 to May.5, there will be 20 performances during “Culture in the Alley – Art Festival in Community”, a series of events organized by the Arts Promotion Section. The events aim to promote arts and culture to local communities and develop more audiences for art. On the opening, the Paper Windmill Theater will carry out the first show at the Tian-Mu Sports Park, and many vendors will gather at the venue to celebrate together as well.

In March, the 5th Youth Xiqu Festival of Arts is going to take place with innovative and refreshing programs. It will stage not only Hakka opera and new Taiwanese opera, but also outdoor performances such as Taiwanese opera, traditional storytelling, Opera, Kunqu opera, and glove puppetry. Furthermore, the Youth Taiwanese Opera, a group of young talents cultivated by the Dadaocheng Theatre, will present their new plays during the festival.

In a continuous effort to promote the beauty of Taiwanese opera, the Arts Promotion Section has been dedicated to introduce citizens to the traditional opera by offering free shows. A joint performance of Taiwanese opera has been held every year since 2002. And in November 2018, there will be 14 to 15 joint performances, which will also stage Taiwanese opera troupes from other cities.

As for the future outlook, Wu said that the Metropolitan Hall, an indispensable professional venue for the domestic troupes, hasn’t gotten a chance to renovate over the past 14 years, and thus its facilities are a bit obsolete. Therefore, TAPO plans to give it a facelift during 2019 to 2021, making the Metropolitan Hall a professional theatre equipped with advanced hardware and the latest multimedia equipment.

 TAPO’s medium-term plan is to build a platform that can bring the Taiwanese troupes to the world’s stage. It has always been the case that the domestic troupes fought their way to the international markets on their own. But in the future, TAPO hopes to assist these artists to go global by leveraging the strength of government. On the other hand, TAPO will continue to introduce international performances and festivals to Taiwan, creating more opportunities for the local talents to learn from foreign artists, exchange ideas, and take their works to markets worldwide.

For the long-term plan, TAPO aims to realize art education for children. Starting from the elementary level, TAPO hopes to combine art resources with the compulsory education system, enabling the young to learn about art and culture since their childhood. The Wen-Shan Theater can serve not only as a multifunctional art space, but as an educational development center for children's theater show. In the future, TAPO will put more focus on the educational role of the Theatre.

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  • Updated: 2018/1/4 14:44
  • Reviewed: 2018/1/4 14:44

  • Source: The Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs
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