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Beijing Opera Masks


Tue 17 Jun 2014, 10:00am–8:15pm
Wed 18 Jun 2014, 10:00am–8:15pm
Thu 19 Jun 2014, 10:00am–8:15pm
Fri 20 Jun 2014, 10:00am–8:15pm
Sat 21 Jun 2014, 10:00am–8:15pm

Where: Court Theatre, Bernard St, Addington, Christchurch

Restrictions: All Ages

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Listed by: TheCourtTheatre1

Beijing Opera comes to Addington

In conjunction with a unique conception of A Midsummer Night's Dream which opens at the The Court Theatre on 31 May, the Canterbury Museum is displaying a collection of traditional Chinese opera masks gifted to Canterbury in 1956 by The Chinese Classical Theatre Company.

"Half the company in A Midsummer Night's Dream is Chinese from Beijing," says Philip Aldridge, Chief Executive at The Court. "This is a magical production that came about through a collaboration with Peking University's Institute of World Theatre and Film."

Beijing opera is the most famous form of traditional Chinese theatre. Performances combine music, vocals, mime, dance, acrobatics and martial arts. Actors wear magnificent embroidered costumes, each designed to reflect the social status of the character being portrayed.

Makeup includes dramatic face painting and sometimes masks which are intended to further enhance audience appreciation of the ‘true’ personal disposition of each character. Different colour masks help raise audience anticipation as the unpredictability and drama of the plot as it unfolds.

“The display of model Chinese opera masks serves to remind us of the wonderful, unique theatre and performance genre that developed in China over many, many centuries. However despite the geographic and language separation that existed between Chinese and Western theatre there are, nevertheless, remarkable artistic similarities between the two traditions. The world of theatre has been greatly enriched by contemporary collaborations that encourage performances which not only explore these similarities but infuse elements of the ‘other’ into dramatic interpretation and delivery,” says Roger Fyfe, Canterbury Museum’s Senior Curator Human History.

This collection is on temporary display in The Court Theatre foyer during the A Midsummer Night’s Dream season, 31 May - 21 June 2014.

Open Hours: Monday - Thursday 9.00am - 8.15pm; Friday 9.00am - 8.15pm; Saturday 10.00am - 8.15pm; Sunday Closed.

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