The San Khau Hoc Duong (School Stage) art project brought positive results over its 10 years of implementation, education and culture experts concluded at a meeting recently held in Hanoi to evaluate the project.

Conducted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Centre of National Cultural Preservation, Research and Promotion, the project sought to educate pupils about national history and ethic lifestyles through stage characters, in order to create a new generation of young people who appreciate traditional art forms.

According to Vuong Duy Bien, director of the Art Performing Department under the Ministry of Culture, optimistic reports are coming in from the participating schools in 32 cities and provinces, but they also show the continued need to equip pupils with artistic knowledge.

"The useful project should be continuously expanded to every single city and province nationwide in the future," he said.

However, some meeting attendees said School Stage didn't meet expectations due to the lack of capital.

Stage director Pham Thi Thanh said that "the project ignored the role of musicians as well as props and costumes due to its humble budget".

The project came from the idea of stage director Pham Thi Thanh and was implemented experimentally with the support of the Ford Foundation in 1999. In 2001, the project was official launched on a large scale, targeting the secondary school pupils. The 10-year project was divided into three periods: the first period was from 2001-03, focusing on tuong (classical drama) and cheo (traditional opera) in the northern and central regions; the second period was from 2004-06, centring on cai luong (reformed theatre), bai choi (singing while playing cards) and folk singing in the central and south regions and the third period was from 2007-10, honouring the folk singing of Nghe Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue provinces. A number of 90 schools in three regions North, Central and South had joined the project.

"The performing activities in some schools had to stop whenever the capital was exhausted. That's one reason why the project couldn't create a long-term effect," she continued.

According to deputy culture minister Huynh Vinh Ai, the project should be expanded and fleshed out with details about the specific art forms include. In addition, a script writing camp should be held in order to produce scripts tailored specifically to children.

Ai also suggested that successful art that emerged from the project should be presented widely to the public.

If the project is extended, it should be expanded to the remote north-eastern mountainous regions and the Central Highlands , where there is also a rich traditional culture, according to stage director Thanh. /.