A new children's art troupe dedicated to cai luong (reformed opera) is staging plays at HCM City's Cong Nhan Theatre.

The Bau Troi Xanh (Blue Sky) Troupe, managed by the HCM City Theatre Association, provides a theatrical experience for school-aged children.

The troupe's members include youngsters aged five to 12.

Scriptwriter Hoang Song Viet, teacher of many cai luong stars such as Que Tran and Vu Luan, said: "A cai luong troupe of young performers for only young audiences has been my wish for many years."

"I love seeing kids excited about the art," he said.

Theatre director Hoa Ha, the troupe's art director, said the troupe "gives children of all abilities an opportunity to participate in live theatre".

"We wanted to develop the art of cai luong among young people, particularly children, who can learn many valuable things about the country, history, culture and traditional lifestyle through our shows," he said.

Ha said the troupe attracted 10 young performers, who are all given free training courses in singing, dance and music taught by veteran actors.

"We help them develop their career in a professional way," he said. "We plan to offer training courses for children at reasonable fees. For kids who have a talent, we will offer them free training."

The troupe's first show opened last weekend, with a series of extracts from famous plays, such as Ben Binh Than (Binh Than Wharf), featuring the Vietnamese young hero Tran Quoc Toan of the Tran dynasty and King Tu Duc.

The show attracted child actors Hong Quyen, Gia Nguyen and Kim Thu, all of whom were trained by their parents, and cai luong stars.

The performances take place every Sunday morning.

In the coming weeks, the troupe will present Cau Vong Va Dan Tho (The Rainbow and a Herd of Rabbits) and Coc Kien Troi (A Toad Complains to God).

"The love of my parents for cai luong has motivated me to develop my career as a professional performer," Hong Quyen, 8, said.

She said she avoided playing games and going to picnics to save time for performances this summer.

"I dream of becoming a cai luong performer like my mother, Tu Suong," she said.

The Bau Troi Xanh Troupe performs at 30 Tran Hung Dao Street in District 1.-VNA