Youth Theater Celebrates 45 Years of Bringing Art to Young Viewers

In an effort to meet the needs of younger audiences, the Youth Theater has been experimenting with new and innovative approaches, including inviting internationally renowned directors to create works of modern art.


Since its inception 45 years ago (1978-2023), the Hanoi-based Youth Theater has consistently ventured into new experiments, inviting domestic and foreign directors to collaborate in the creation of artistic works that are geared toward young people, taking advantage of its membership in the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People (ASSITEJ).

The milestone was celebrated at the Hanoi Opera House on April 10.

A Look Back to the Start

Throwbacks are a great way to relive memories of the past. This phrase is a reminder of the beginnings of a journey and the new beginnings that come with it. Whether it’s a look back at a personal experience or a collective experience, the phrase is a great way to bring a sense of nostalgia and hope for the future.

The Youth Theater was founded on April 10, 1978, by the Ministry of Culture and Information (now the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism). For the past 45 years, Tuoi Tre Theater has been the only national art theater in Vietnam dedicated to entertaining young audiences. It has become a cultural reference point for many, providing a platform for meaningful performances, plays, and productions. By providing a safe and welcoming environment for creativity and expression, the theater has become an integral part of the country’s cultural identity. It continues to be a treasured source of inspiration and enjoyment for all those who visit.

When reflecting on the past, Meritorious Artist Si Tien, Director of the Youth Theater, said that it was still very young compared to other theaters that had been around for hundreds of years. However, the theater was founded at a time when the country had just been reunified and was faced with many challenges. The establishment of the theater demonstrated the State’s vision for socio-cultural issues, with the aim of building a socialist society.

According to Director Si Tien, the theater has developed a distinguished artistic brand with over 500 plays and art programs of various genres, including drama, music, dance, musicals, and pantomime. Many of these have been awarded prizes at national and international festivals, displaying the skill and passion of the performers.

 The ceremony commemorating Youth Theater’s milestone occurred at the Hanoi Opera House. Photo: Ngo Minh/The Hanoi Times 

Despite the plethora of challenges currently faced by the performing arts industry across the country, the staff at Tuoi Tre Theater have remained unwavering in their commitment to providing art to young audiences. In order to stay competitive and relevant in the age of digital entertainment, they have adopted creative solutions and rapidly adapted to the market economy.

Young people have been captivated by the daring stagings of musical trends presented by the Youth Theater in recent years, including The Swans, Wave, Then I’ll Grow Up. The show’s innovative take on musical genres has drawn in a new generation of theater-goers.

The 45th anniversary of its establishment is an extraordinary opportunity for generations of artists to come together and reflect on their commitment to serving the public. It is a moment to recognize the integrity, passion, and dedication that have been brought to every piece of work. This momentous occasion is also a time to recognize the progress we have made and to look forward to the future of art and culture.

Meritorious Artist Ngoc Huyen expressed on stage: “I belong to the first generation of actors and actresses trained at the Youth Theater. When we were young, we were only 16 and 17 years old. My youth is intertwined with the Youth Theater. Although my birthplace is Hanoi, the theater is where I call home. All of my memories and dearest things have been nurtured here.”

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Additionally, it has provided a platform for foreign amateur performing groups to perform in China.

In the context of cultural exchange and international integration, the Youth Theater of Beijing has undertaken numerous international cooperation projects, aiming to introduce the contemporary world of performing arts to the capital’s audience. Furthermore, the theater has provided a platform for foreign amateur performing groups to showcase their talents in China.

The theatre has commissioned two world-renowned classics from Japanese director Tsuyoshi Sugiyama. Uncle Vanya was awarded the prestigious gold medal at the International Experimental Theatre Festival 2019, while Hedda Gabler was awarded a silver medal at the International Experimental Theatre Festival 2022.

 A scene at the musical Trai Hoa Vang of Youth Theater. Photo courtesy of the theater

The theater has also collaborated with Sangsang Maru Korean Theater on the Vietnam-Korea Family Musical Workshop project, resulting in the family musical Troll’s Child. Additionally, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Wallonie-Bruxelles delegation in Vietnam (1996-2021), they produced the play Blue Bird.

The Youth Theater’s policy of collaborating with foreign directors and artists has significantly bolstered their performances and facilitated beneficial learning opportunities for local artists. By working with experienced and skilled foreign directors, local artists can gain invaluable insights into the craft and hone their own artistic abilities.

People’s Artist Trinh Thuy Mui, Chairwoman of the Vietnam Association of Theater Artists, lauded the hard work and commitment of the leaders and artists of the Youth Theater. She expressed her admiration for the dedication and commitment they have displayed. Mui further stated that she is highly appreciative of their efforts in making the theater a success.

Especially in the current period, the theater has decided to upgrade to keep pace with the trend of society’s life and bring the stage closer to all audiences, especially young people. This is the pride of the Youth Theater staff and artists,” said Mui.

“We are entering a period of integration with many challenges. We will uphold our traditions and renovate ourselves to better reach and engage modern audiences,” said Nguyen Si Tien, Director of Youth Theater.

The Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, Ta Quang Dong, suggested that the theater provide policies to attract prominent artists who could teach, work, and look after dedicated artists’ lives, as well as nurture young talents.

Dong emphasized the cruciality of devising a one-of-a-kind and attractive style for the art pieces to generate new, high-quality artworks that complement the tastes and psychology of young people.

 Director Nguyen Si Tien said the staff would continue to catch up with the life changes. Photo: Quang Vinh/The Hanoi Times