National Theatre for Children to celebrate founding anniversary

The China National Theatre for Children is marking its 60th birthday with a six month long show season starting in May.

Founded in 1956, the China National Theatre for Children, or CNTC for short, is the only national-level children's art troupe in China.

The theatre's head, Yin Xiaodong, reveals some of the highlights of the upcoming show season.

"There's a special section in our show season for the anniversary celebrations. Over the years, we have achieved so much - for example, giving young students theatre training. We want to display their achievements during the season too. So, a highlight will be young pupils from the Dengshikou primary school (灯市口小学) staging a Malan Flower performance."

The play Malan Flower is a typical Chinese folk tale, and tells the story of the Malan flower spirit, Malang, who had a magic flower which could grant a person's wishes. After he married a kind girl called Xiao Lan, the secret of his magic flower became more widely known by the people all around them. With unreasonable demands for the flower, a greedy old man surnamed Wang, brings about a series of terrible events.

Since the folk tale was premiered by the theatre, on June 1st of 1956, it has become a great favourite, and has influenced three generations of people in China.

Yin Xiaodong explains why the story was chosen as a highlight for the anniversary season.

"It has not only witnessed the theatre's development, but also the growth of three generations of audiences. Nowadays, we find grandparents coming to the theatre with kids for the Malan Flower performance. So our theatre decided to dust off the Malan Flower show, as a good way to commemorate the anniversary of our foundation. There have been altogether five versions of the play Malan Flower."

Other classic national and international children's plays such as the "Mermaid at the East Sea", The "Box of Idioms" and the "King in Moominvalley", along with many others, will also be shown during the 6-month long celebration.

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