National Cheo Festival 2022 marks vibrant comeback after 'hibernation' hinh anh 1The festival is an occasion for participating units to review their operations so far (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - Following a period of ‘hibernation’ due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2022 National Cheo Festival promises to move the audience with a wide range of emotions via 27 plays by 16 art troupes.

Cheo is a form of Vietnamese traditional stage art, which developed strongly in the northern region, especially in the Red River Delta. It originated in the 10th century from folk music and dance and is popular in areas in the North. When farmers in the Red River Delta had finished harvesting, they organised a festival to entertain themselves and thank the gods who supported them. The art form has undergone a long history from the 10th century, having a deep influence on Vietnam’s social life.

The upcoming festival is scheduled to take place from October 12 to 28 in the northern province of Ha Nam.

Cheo composer Mai Van Sinh, who is behind three plays to be staged at the event, said Ha Nam is a locality with a tradition of Cheo, believing that the festival is being awaited by both the people and participating artists.

According to him, each session of performances within its course will host about 300 local teachers and students, who come as part of their extra-curricular activities.

The festival is expected to gather 16 art troupes across the country, who will stage 27 plays. The policy of the organising committee is not to limit the topics and content of the participating works.

Sinh believed that the festival will become a vibrant playground, offering the audience plays of rich and unique content under historical, legendary, literary and contemporary themes.

The event will be a great encouragement to Cheo artists, who have struggled to sustain their professions through a long difficult period due to the pandemic, he noted.

National Cheo Festival 2022 marks vibrant comeback after 'hibernation' hinh anh 2Cheo composer Mai Van Sinh (Photo courtesy of Mai Van Sinh)
“After a long period of the pandemic, the festival returns with the participation of a large number of art troupes. I am looking forward to it because this is a valuable opportunity to learn and interact with seniors and colleagues. I am also very happy to be able to perform for the audience again and to hone my acting experience,” said Le Dat, a young artist from the Hanoi Cheo Theater.

Dat and his colleagues have spent months practicing for their performances at the festival.

Meritorious Artist Tran Ly Ly, Acting Director of the Department of Performing Arts, said that the number of participating art troupes and plays is a good sign, confirming that there are still strong professional activities of the art form.

National Cheo Festival 2022 marks vibrant comeback after 'hibernation' hinh anh 3Cheo artists practice for the 2022 National Cheo Festival (Photo: VietnamPlus).
The festival is also a place for experts to evaluate the development of Cheo and the related process of inheriting and preserving traditions in the new era, Ly added.

She hoped the event would be an opportunity to review orientations of participating art troupes and find new talents.

In the 4th industrial revolution era, where trendy entertainment dominates, organising such festival is a way to sustain intangible cultural quintessence, which plays an important role in preserving and passing on those heritages to the next generation, Ly said.

Echoing the view, People’s Artist Tran Quoc Chiem, head of the Hanoi Literature and Arts Union and a member of the event’s art council, expressed his expectation that new talents will be discovered as they are a factor to help the traditional art form flourish.

National Cheo Festival 2022 marks vibrant comeback after 'hibernation' hinh anh 4People’s Artist Tran Quoc Chiem (Photo: Dang Dinh An)
Cheo needs a good script, a good director, and especially talented actors to keep the audience engaged, he stressed.

Journalist Mai Van Lang from Radio Voice of Vietnam said to VietnamPlus that the festival is expected to follow the policy of the 2021 national cultural conference. Thus the plays are art forms that should lend to the preservation and promotion of traditional values to forming a "soft power" for the development of the country in the new period./.