However, the continued tension of the pandemic has forced many art units to cancel performances for their audiences. For example, the comedy “Ngheu, So, Oc, Hen” (The Story of the Clam, Oyster, Snail and Mussel) by the Vietnam National Drama Theatre, had been scheduled from March 4-8, but it had to be postponed because many of the theatre’s cadres and artists, were infected with the SARS-CoV2 virus and needed to isolate. In addition, the Cai luong (reformed opera)-circus play “Thuong Thien Thanh Mau” (Mother Goddess of Heaven), which was jointly staged by the Vietnam Cai Luong Theatre and the Vietnam Circus Federation, could not perform on this occasion. A series of new art productions by Tuoi Tre (Youth) Theatre, the Vietnam National Opera and Ballet Theatre (VNOB), the Vietnam Cheo (Vietnamese traditional opera) Theatre and the Hanoi Cai Luong Theatre, are waiting to perform as soon as possible.
Amidst the complicated situation of the pandemic, audiences are still afraid of going to theatres, thereby the promotion of stage performances via the digital environment, is the best solution for art units. Although this solution can reduce the liveliness of stage arts, it is still an appropriate direction in adapting to the current situation, especially when the opportunity to perform directly on stage, is narrowed due to the pandemic.
According to many experts, the digital stage not only helps to open up the flow of arts, that has been interrupted by the pandemic and inspire the art love among the artists, but also is a door for the stage to be accessible to the modern audience. This is also the inevitable development trend of arts in the digital age, with the ability to save on performance costs and increase revenues for the units, thanks to income from online advertisement and viewing fees.
However, the application of technology in boosting the digital stage towards selling tickets and generating revenue, is still a dream for many theatres. The art performances that have been introduced via a digital environment, were not attractive enough to collect money from the online audiences. Therefore, it is crucial to make serious investments into technology, equipment and transmission lines, in addition to ensuring the contents and artistic values of the stage performances.
Unfortunately, many stage units, which have been considered the leading ones of Vietnamese arts, have not yet had studios, modern technological equipment or sufficient qualified human resources, to promote the digitalisation of art performances. Meanwhile, not all theatrical units can afford to hire a professional team with full machines, equipment and transmission lines.
Thanks to support from the cultural sector, in contacting and connecting with central and local television stations, a number of unique plays and programmes have been released via social networks and television channels.
However, this coordination is only short term. Therefore, the competent state agencies should pay great attention to building specialised equipment and creating more favourable conditions for stage units, especially in traditional arts, to make online performances and bring them to the digital environment.
A synchronous investment in terms of funding, time and human resources is needed to do this. In the immediate future, many art units expressed their hope, that the state agencies will create conditions for them to share and utilise the studios and equipment, with units that have received investment. In addition, there should be a mechanism for cooperation between them and media units, to record and broadcast the attractive stage plays.