Saturday, 13/01/2024 07:58

Artists’ Pagoda reopened before Tết

RENOVATION - The Artists’ Pagoda renovation began in June, 2023 with funds from a number of individuals and organisations in HCM City. Photo courtesy of HCM City Theatre Association

HCM CITY — The Artists’ Pagoda in HCM City’s Gò Vấp District is scheduled to reopen before the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday, which begins on February 10.  

The pagoda was closed for renovation as work began in June, 2023 with funds from individuals and organisations, including the HCM City Theatre Association. 

Artists’ Pagoda was built in 1958 in Gò Vấp District. 

It is located on 6,000sq.m of land and contains a cemetery devoted to 1,000 cải lương (reformed opera) and tuồng (classical drama) performers, many of whom were once stars on the stage but now need financial support.

ELDER ARTISTS - The Artists’ Pagoda was built in 1958 in HCM City’s Gò Vấp District. It is located on 6,000sq.m of land and contains a cemetery devoted to 1,000 cải lương (reformed opera) and tuồng (classical drama) performers. Photo courtesy of HCM City Theatre Association 

The founder, late actress Phùng Há (known as Miss Bảy), is a guru of cải lương

Há began her career in 1923 in Mỹ Tho Province (now Tiền Giang Province), the cradle of cải lương art. She was at the peak of her artistry and fame in the 1950s and 60s. 

She performed in many plays featuring the tragedy of Vietnamese women under feudalism, focusing on beautiful and virtuous girls whose suffering was caused by village officials and landowners. 

She also worked hard to train younger colleagues, including cải lương stars such as People’s Artist Bạch Tuyết and People’s Artist Kim Cương. 

In 1998, Há spent her savings to build the HCM City Rest Home for Artists on 600sq.m of land in District 8’s Âu Dương Lân Street. 

The home now serves more than 30 traditional artists aged 70-80, including theatre stars such as Diệu Hiền, Ngọc Đáng, Lệ Thẩm and Mạc Can, who performed for more than 50 years and played a role in the development of southern theatre. 

Free food, health care, and even funeral services, are all offered to the residents. 

The home receives financial support from local authorities.

It was upgraded in 2006 thanks to the city’s Theatre Association in co-operation with the Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs. 

Há devoted her energies to the stage, and did not marry or have children. She died in 2009.

“The Artists’ Pagoda is a spiritual tourist site in HCM City. Many artists and visitors often visit and donate funds every Tết,” said Meritorious Artist Trịnh Kim Chi, deputy chairwoman of HCM City Theatre Association and head of the pagoda’s managing board. — VNS

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