On 18 June 2022, the online course of the Shanghai Summer School (Chinese Opera Performance & Belt and Road Art Talent Training Program) was kicked off. The short-term summer school course is a classical project of the Shanghai Theatre Academy, with the Chinese opera performance course having been held for 12 years and the Belt and Road program for 5 years. The four-week summer course is taught in English and open to overseas educational institutions and individuals. The main contents include appreciation of plays, lectures by famous artists, basic acting skills of Chinese opera, and learning short excerpts of Chinese opera, as well as showing several documentary videos to help the students to understand the education, inheritance and development of Chinese opera at the present time, as well as the course of endeavors of Chinese opera practitioners.
This year, we have more than 30 students from Brazil, Russia, Japan, Greece, Zimbabwe, Ireland, Vietnam, Congo, Fiji, Spain, Tonga, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Singapore, Kazakhstan, Mexico, etc.
The course contents include: appreciation of classic plays recorded by famous artists, works of well-known Peking opera performers from professional troupes, interviews with them on their experience in artistic innovation and mechanism innovation, lectures on the application of Chinese opera in contemporary drama, and tutorials by senior Chinese opera teachers on the theory and practice of movements, performance, interaction, music and stage design in Chinese opera. In addition, we also swap some courses with Chinese cultural characteristics with the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and the Shanghai University of Sport to provide the students with cultural knowledge other than Chinese opera.
The online course due to the COVID situation poses both challenges and opportunities for teachers and students of our summer school program. As Chinese opera requires face-to-face teaching to inspire true understanding within, there is a high degree of difficulty to teach the students across the screen. But, it also gives many international friends who are interested in Chinese traditional performing arts but cannot visit Shanghai an opportunity to have a close experience. In order to spread and understand Chinese traditional performing arts, the teachers are doing their best to teach, and the students are studying hard. And, our recorded course units are being constantly updated. It is believed that at the conclusion of the course, the students will all be able to gain a lot and have a greater love for our Chinese culture.