A specialist in her aria

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"My colleagues and teachers also worked together to stage old classic pieces and create new original pieces," she adds. "The only way to keep the old art alive is to be creative with and loyal to it."

In 2006, she won the "best new artist "award at the 16th Shanghai Magnolia Stage Performance Awards, a national award for Chinese theater performers. Later Wang furthered her study of Pingju Opera at National Academy of Chinese Theater Arts and graduated with a bachelor's degree in 2011.

According to Hou Hong, vice-president of China Pingju Opera Theater, to make the old art feel young, the company has mapped out a plan to train young Pingju Opera performers and offer them more opportunities to perform onstage. She adds that 70 percent of the company's performers are under 40 years old.

In November 2020, the company premiered its first production tailored for small theaters. Titled Dye House, the production, written by scriptwriter Bai Ailian and featuring five of the company's female performers, including Wang, tells the story of a young couple and their relationship with their parents against the backdrop of a dye house, which their family has run for generations. In 2021, the production will launch a nationwide tour.

"Relationships in a family, such as husband and wife, the wife and her mother-in-law, are topics that exist in every generation. The feedback from the audience was very warm, beyond our expectation," says Hou.

In 2020, the company celebrated its 65th birthday. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company canceled all of its shows in the first half of 2020. From July to December, the company put on over 350 shows in the capital.

To get in touch with the audience, the company launched channels on various social media platforms, such as Douyin, sharing videos of the performers rehearsing, training and performing from their living rooms.

"Now we have over 300,000 followers on Douyin, which has expanded our fan base. It's very rewarding to see young people start to get interested in Pingju Opera," Hou says.

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