The Jingju Theatre Company of Beijing
The Jingju Theatre Company of Beijing is a national key Jingju company with a large scale and an accumulation of art unseen elsewhere. It was founded in 1979 on the basis of merging the Jingju troupes of Beijing – the origin of Jingju – and the troupes of other schools of opera. Currently, it consists of three troupes, a training center, a stage art center, Du Zhenjie Studio and Zhang Huifang Studio.
The elderly generation of artists represented by Mei Lanfang, Shang Xiaoyun, Cheng Yanqiu, Xun Huisheng, Ma Lianliang, Tan Fuying, Zhang Junqiu, Qiu Shengrong and Zhao Yanxia, as the founders of the Jingju Theatre Company of Beijing, have left behind precious artistic and spiritual heritage. Their stage performance, achievements and styles have become distinctive signatures and the sources of artistic inspiration for the Company.
The Jingju Theatre Company of Beijing gathers a big constellation of famous artists. In addition to the above-mentioned elder generation of masters, the Company has many performing artists who have made indispensable contributions to the development of Jingju, such as Wu Suqiu, Li Wanchun, Li Duokui, Zhao Rongchen, Li Zongyi, Li Huifang, Ma Fulu, Jiang Miaoxiang, Li Yuanchun, Wang Yinqiu, Zhou Hetong, Liu Xuetao, Mei Baojiu, Tan Yuanshou, Ma Changli, Mei Baoyue, Zhang Xuejin, Li Yufu, Li Chongshan, Chen Zhiqing, Yang Shaochun, Tan Xiaozeng, Zhao Baoxiu, Yan Guixiang, Wang Yuzhen, Huang Dehua, Ye Jinyuan and Wang Shufang. The famous playwright and litterateur Wang Zengqi, playwrights Wang Yan and Wang Xinji, directors Chi Jinsheng and Xu Chunlan, composers Lu Songling and Zhu Shaoyu, choreographer Zheng Chuan’en, and instrumentalists Li Muliang, Jiang Fengshan, He Shunxin, Wang Benzhen, Yan Shouping, Wang Hewen and Jin Huiwu are all outstanding artists of the Company. The Company boasts a contingent of excellent artists with a wide range of specialties; these talents form an echelon favorable to the Company’s growth. Wang Rongrong, Du Zhenjie, Li Hongtu, Chi Xiaoqiu, Zhu Qiang, Chen Junjie, Zhang Huifang and Hu Wenge are the most influential Jingju artists of today. Bao Fei, Wang Yi, Shang Wei, Zhang Shu, Han Juming, Li Hongyan, Huang Yanzhong, Shen Wenli, Huang Baixue, Mei Qingyang, He Wei, Han Shengcun, Wang Xueqing, Ding Guiling and Zhang Wenjie are the backbone of the Company who carry forward the fine tradition and inspire the new generation of artists. The young performers represented by Zhang Jianfeng, Yang Shaopeng, Du Zhe, Zhang Xinyue, Dou Xiaoxuan, Chang Qiuyue, Jiang Yishan, Guo Wei, Tan Zhengyan, Zhai Mo, Kang Jing, Zhan Lei, Wei Xuelei, Fang Xu, Zhang Shujing, Zheng Xiao, Mu Yu, Wang Yige, Wu Haoyi, Wang Xiaoli, Li Xiaopei, Yu Shuai and Cao Yangyang have become leading Jingju artists of Jingju Theatre Company of Beijing and the country at large. Suo Mingfang, Zhu Hong, Wang Yueling, Chen Zhangxia, Tan Xiaoyu, Lu Yang, Zhang Qian, Ma Botong, Qiu Shi, Bai Jin, Li Jia, Hou Yu, Zhang Kai, Wang Ning and Zhou Meihui among other outstanding young performers have grown into mature artists.
The instrumentalists represented by Ai Bing, Zhao Xu, Shu Jian, Wang Fulong, Zuo Xu, Shen Yuan, Qin Qin, Shi Yingjun, Qiu Xin, Yang Guangtong, Feng Qian, Wang Wei and Liu Yang make the instrumentalist team into another spotlight of the Jingju Theatre Company of Beijing. Relying on a proud tradition, the Jingju Theatre Company of Beijing is good at staging classic Jingju. Still, it keeps launching new plays which combine Jingju art with contemporary themes.
Over the past decades, the Jingju Theatre of Beijing Company has staged and created hundreds of Peking Operas, including the traditional, modern, newly-crafted, and small theatre ones.
The classic repertoire includes over 200 plays, such as Harmony Through a Royal Marriage, Silang Visiting His Mother, The Chinese Orphan, Mu Guiying Taking Command, Red-mane Savage Horse, The Female Generals of the Yang Family, Guarding the Nation, Visiting the Royal Tomb and Entering the Palace for the Second Time, An Embroidered Treasure Pouch, Gathering of Heroes, Borrowing East Wind, The Pearl Shirt, Stepmother Admonishes the Son, Lü Bu and Diaochan, Pearl-curtain Village, Jin Yunu, The White Snake Legend, Yu Tang Chun, Qin Xianglian and Ten Figures against Lv Zhi. Modern Jingju include Shajia River, Azalea Mountain, The Legend of the Red Lantern, Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy, The Song Sisters, Mei Lanfang, Above the Cloud, Qiu Shengrong and The Daughter of the Party.
The newly-crafted historical Jingju include The Finishing Touch, Vicissitudes of Tongrentang, Prime Minister Liu, The Goddess of the Luo River, Empress Wu, To Lucheng, Unexpected Promotions, Yuan Chonghuan, Qu Yuan and Zhengkaofu.
The Jingju Theatre of Beijing Company has taken the lead in turning out small theatre plays. It has launched 10-plus small theatre plays that win wide acclaim among the opera community as well as the audience, like A Foregone Marriage, Three Sinners, Story of the Jade Hairpin, Six Records of a Floating Life, The Salvation of the King Zhao of Chu, Xijiao, Jade Grinding Guanyin, Srping Banquet,Something about the Ming Dynasty:Interrogating the Head and Assassinating Tang Qin and Wu Qi. The Jingju Theatre Company of Beijing has fetched many awards of art for creation and performance of its repertoire:
The Add the Finishing Touch has won an award from Bejing municipal government, the first prize of Beijing new play performance, and the first Wenhua Award from the Ministry of Culture.
The Appointment of Prime Minister won the new play performance award during 1991-1993.
The Yellow Wattle won Beijing First Golden Chrysanthemum Award for Stage Art.
The Holy Mind of Kong Fansen won the sixth edition of Wenhua New Play Award and was recognized as an outstanding entry in the Ten-One-Campaign of Clean Government Building by the Publicity Department of the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee.
The Chinese Orphan won the Outstanding Traditional Chinese Play Demonstration Performance Award in the First Jingju Festival.
The Vicissitudes of Tongrentang won the Second Gold Award of Chinese Jingju Art, Beijing Outstanding New Play Award, Recognition as an Entry into the Third Edition of the Awarding Event for the Ten-One Campaign of Clean Government Building (a part of the Beijing municipal endeavor to advance cultural and ethical progress), Recognition as an Entry into the Seventh Edition of the Five-One Project Awarding Event, the second edition of Beijing Municipal Literature and Art Award, and the ninth edition of Wenhua New Play Award. The Romance of the Western Chamber won Beijing Municipal New Play Award.
The Prime Minister Liu won the Award of the Sixth China Art Festival, the Second Edition of Beijing Municipal Literature Award, the Recognition as an Entry into the Eighth Edition of the Five-One Project Awarding Event, and Recognition as an Entry into the Fourth Edition of the Awarding Event for the Beijing Municipal Ten-One Campaign of Clean Government Building, the Nomination Award in China Top Ten Plays Awarding Event, the 10th edition of Wenhua New Play Award, the second edition of Lao She Literary Award, the Excellent Drama Script Award, and the Top Ten Selected Plays Award in the National Choice Stage Art Project for 2002-2003.
The Cai Wenji won the Gold Awards respectively for Performance, Creation and Choreography at the Second National Ethic Minority Arts Show; the Good Play Award at China Jingju Festival, and the Music Award at the Third China Jingju Festival.
The Foregone Marriage won Cao Yu Drama Award at the Seventh China Drama Festival.
The Goddess of the Luo River won the Gold Award at the Third Chinese Jingju Festival.
The Unusual Meeting won the Gold Award for Good Playlet on Combat against SARS in the 11th Chinese Population Culture Award (Donghua Cup).
The Exceptional Family won the Special Award for Good Playlet on Combat against SARS in the 11th Chinese Population Culture Award (Donghua Cup).
The Three Sinners won the Good Play Award in the Derby Cup Small Theatre Play Season of the Eighth Chinese Drama Festival.
The Mei Lanfang won the Gold Award in the Fourth Chinese Jingju Festival, the Selected Play Award in the National Choice Stage Art Project for 2005-2006, the 12th edition of Wenhua Play Award, the fifth edition of Beijing Municipal Literature and Arts Award, and the second edition of the Innovation Award from the Ministry of Culture. The Yuan Chonghuan won the fifth edition of the Beijing Municipal Literature and Arts Award, and the recognition in the second phase of 2007-2008 as a national choice stage art project granted with subsidies.
The To Lucheng won the first prize for good play performance in the Fifth Chinese Jingju Festival, the sixth edition of Beijing Municipal Literature and Arts Award, and the 13th edition of Wenhua Good Play Award.
The Attempts to Beat Tao Sanchun won the Must-see Play Award in National Professional Stage Art Contest.
The Six Records of a Floating Life won the third edition of Chinese Drama Award for Good Play in the 11th Chinese Drama Festival.
The Song Sisters won the seventh edition of Beijing Municipal Literature and Arts Award.
The Qu Yuan was selected into the Seventh China Jingju Festival.
The Zhengkaofu was played at the 18th China Shanghai International Arts Festival upon invitation.
The Jingju Theatre Company of Beijing, carrying forward its fine tradition and committed to embracing a bright future, endeavors to build a world famous theatre. To realize this vision, the Company, holds the art and artists in high regard when conducting management, operation and personnel training, and stores tremendous potential for the development of Jingju.
The Company seeks to adopt a management mode that most stimulates the enthusiasm of all the performers and conforms to the law of art production. Over recent years, the Company has adjusted the system on production and operation responsibility, and practices a project-based system to manage the commercial performance, art production, regular work and relevant support work. Such a management mode featuring a clear-cut division of responsibilities and strict procedures proves very effective in enhancing work efficiency.
Following the strategy of building a brand repertoire and launching brand activities, the Company has organized such brand name activities as the Singing Tour, Heritage Tour, Growth Tour, Weekly Star, Tournee Marking the 120th Birthday of Mei Lanfang, Charming Spring, Quest of the Dream & Inheritance of the Fine Tradition, which have generated remarkable economic and social benefits and thus cemented the brand image of the Company.
The company provides the personnel at all levels with opportunities for career development and talent demonstration. For example, the Company designs new plays for the big-name performers and organizes activities to expand their influence; provides the middle-aged performers with an even broader platform of talent show; and offers leading young performers more opportunities for study, creation and performance. The annual Young Performers’ Knockout Competition and Young Performers Contest are the very stages which stimulate the young performers to pursue professional progress. All these are intended to spur the performers of different age groups on to seek common progress by learning from each other. As thus, the Company enjoys growing social impact.
The Jingju Theatre Company of Beijing takes roots in Beijing in both creation and performance. With remarkable competence, efficient management and a high-caliber repertoire, the Company has fetched a wealth of honors and titles: National Key Jingju Unit, Beijing Annual Intangible Culture Heritage Protection Award, The Capital Exemplary Unit Safeguarding National Security, The Capital Exemplary Unit, National Exemplary Organization, National Exemplary Collective in Cultural Work and National Exemplary Primary-level Party Organization.
The Jingju Theatre Company of Beijing has taken the Jingju representative of Chinese culture to numerous foreign destinations and has evoked a boom of Jingju and a craze for Chinese culture wherever it lands. In this way, the seeds of traditional Chinese culture are sprinkled around the world. Actually the Company has travelled to dozens of countries and regions in the world, including the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Chile, Morocco, Germany, Singapore, Italy, Finland, Brazil, Hungary, Japan, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg, Vietnam, Norway, South Africa, Mauritius, The United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. Over recent years, the Company has, upon invitation, staged shows in prestigious art centers like the Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center of the United States and Marinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, lending the audience from around the world a taste of the charm of Jingju.