Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China
Director, Guangdong Provincial Arts Research Institute
The Guangdong Province Arts Research Institute is an
information hub for all kinds of information about the arts in Guangdong Province.
My personal experience running the Guangdong Arts Magazine Company and publishing
an arts magazine makes me keenly aware of the importance of the job of the gathering
and disseminating information. As part of our efforts at the Institute to make
information more accessible to people, we launched our “Arts Data Bank”
as China’s first arts related database. After three years of preparatory
work, our “Guangdong Culture Website” http://www.gdwh.com.cn/
went on line in 1999.
This database divides information into nine categories, such as Music, Dance,
Artists and Theater Theory, and makes it possible to run online searches for information
from all of the arts related material we have compiled at our Institute. The materials
available on this site range from research papers on the theory and methodology
in the performing arts to reviews of productions and recommendations introducing
new creative works, reports and analysis on various cultural phenomena in China and abroad, as well as information about the Guangdong culture and arts
To launch this site we invested about one million yuan (approx. 120,000 USD),
and since then we have spent an additional 300~500 thousand yuan in way of operating
cost. Presently, the site is only in Chinese, but in the future I would like to
see us making information about the unique arts of Guangdong province available
not only throughout China but overseas as well.
Guangzhou has become a very advanced commercial center among Chinese cities, which
means that works of art having commercial elements are readily received and appreciated.
For example, in the music theater segment including opera and musicals, we have
seen a very successful production of Japan’s Takarazuka theater (10 performances)
in Guangzhou in 2000. I saw the performance myself and was very moved by it. In
the hardware aspects of staging such performances, however, China still has some
catching up to do.
In September of 2002, our Institute invited Japan’s Toen Theater Company
to China for a series of performances of two productions in the cities of Shanghai,
Nanjing and Guangzhou. What made the tour possible was the fact that one of these
two productions was an experimental work in which we had one of the directors
affiliated with our Institute, Wang Jiana, directed the Japanese company in a performance
of a Chinese play.
Today, directors like Wang are running their own “theater workshop”
studios where they are involved in creating their own independently financed productions,
which is a new and revolutionary development here in China. We want to give our
full support to help strengthen these types of activities from now on. We also
want to make efforts to answer market needs by encouraging the participation of
new investors and cultivating an audience for the performing arts and generally
working to raise the overall level of arts in Guangdong province.