Since ENREACH began partnering with the Educational Theater Association in 2013, local and national festivals have dotted the Chinese cultural landscape and led to an increased focus among students and parents on the value of theater education. This past weekend, the Beijing regional Young Thespian Festival found even greater success.
ENREACH organized the event in collaboration with the amazing Penghao Theater, one of the first privately owned theaters in China and itself a frequent partner with the neighboring Central Academy of Drama. The Penghao Theater was at maximum capacity, more than doubling the festival attendees from last year, as students performed in Monologues, Duologues, Improvisation, and Group Scenes. The judges, which included ENREACH teachers and some of the leading lights of Beijing’s theater world, also conducted workshops open to festival participants. Because of this, the festival was far more than a competition – it was devoted to the development of creativity through theater. Masterclasses in Commedia dell’Arte led to an increased appreciation of theater history, while those in Improvisation fine-tuned the skills showcased during the festival itself.
The festival gives students the opportunity to showcase the results of the hard work they’ve put into their acting over the course of the year. Gemma Kinloch, the EdTA Beijing regional director and ENREACH drama teacher, says, “seeing our own ENREACH students improve so much since last year is a huge personal highlight of mine. It shows our drama programme is both growing and having a clear impact on our students’ performance skills & confidence.” From monologues from Macbeth, duologues from Revolutionary Road and group performances of King Lear, students showed a maturity to take on tough roles; their willingness to do so in a second language made it all the more impressive.
Justin Andrews, National Director, EdTA China