Shaanxi Folk Art Troupe
Puppet and shadow theatre company located in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province. Founded in September 2009, the Shaanxi Folk Art Troupe was restructured based on the original Shaanxi Folk Art Troupe founded in 1953. With over sixty performers and staff members, the troupe is the only provincial professional performance troupe for puppet and shadow shows in northwestern China. It caters to child audiences locally, but also presents the culture of Shaanxi Province to local, national and international audiences. It is charged with safeguarding this National Intangible Cultural Heritage of the region, and both preserves and develops the tradition.
During the past sixty years, the troupe has created and performed over a hundred plays. The best known pieces include Monkey King Thrice Borrows the Palm-leaf Fan, Monkey King Thrice Beats the White Bone Demon, Nezha Conquers the Dragon King, Goddess Chang Er Flies to the Moon, Snow White, and Frog Prince. Short plays include Praise for Pear Flower, Zhongkui Finds Patch, and The Broken Bridge. These works have won national and provincial prizes. The troupe tours nationally and internationally.
In 2005, directors Ping Chong (USA) and Liang Jun (Shaanxi Folk Art Troupe) collaborated to create Cathay: Three Tales of China with Stephen Kaplin (USA) and Wang Bo (Shaanxi Folk Art Troupe) in charge of the creation of the puppets. Three episodes featuring puppets and shadows were presented at the Kennedy Center (Washington, DC), New Victory Theatre (New York City), and in European cities. The company has maintained this piece with a fully local cast and presented it at the 21st UNIMA Congress and World Puppetry Festival held in Chengdu in 2012, where it won a best play award.
In 2008, the troupe presented in Switzerland and Australia as part of events linked to the Beijing Olympics, before touring three countries in South America. In 2010, the troupe attended the Shaanxi Folk Arts Festival held in Taiwan. The Shaanxi Folk Art Troupe has toured over thirty countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, France, Sweden, Brazil, Iran, Singapore, Japan, Malta, Sebia, India, Mexico, and Mauritius.