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Spring River Performing Arts Troupe

  • Date:2023-04-14
Spring River Performing Arts Troupe

Chinese Name: 春河劇團
Founded: March 1, 2000
Founder: Lang Tsu-yun (郎祖筠)
Did You Know?
Spring River Performing Arts Troupe, originally called Spring Sun Performing Arts Troupe (春禾劇團), takes a female perspective on the performing arts, injecting the unique softness and resilience of women into its theatrical productions and incorporating warmer, deeper themes into its works. The troupe's president and founder, Lang Tsu-yun, has extensive experience in stage creation, production, and performance, and has been brave enough to experiment with various theatrical styles, such as comic opera, musical theater, stage drama, and Huangmei opera, becoming a pioneer in the theater scene.

When she was a child, Lang Tsu-yun’s father worked behind the scenes at TTV, and as such, growing up, she was no stranger to the performing arts industry. In 1991, she graduated from the National Academy of Fine Arts (now Taipei National University of the Arts) and entered the performing arts industry. Over the years, she has played a variety of roles including actress, host, director, and producer, and has not only been nominated for the Golden Bell and Golden Horse awards, but has also served as a judge for those same awards. On top of all this, her comedic xiangsheng (crosstalk or comic dialogue) recordings have even seen her honored with the Golden Melody Award.

The Spring Sun Performing Arts Troupe was established in March 2000, but Lang found running it a challenge, and after eight years, they were still struggling. Those struggles were further compounded by her father developing dementia, and so, given these and other factors, after the troupe’s run of “Butterfly Lovers” in 2008, Lang put the group on hiatus. While the troupe was out of commission, Lang did continue to be active in performance, not only performing in stage plays, but also serving as a director and host, as well as acting in TV dramas and movies, and even getting involved in voice acting and teaching. She also became the only female student under xiangsheng comedy master Wu Jau-nan (吳兆南).

In 2016, Lang relaunched the theater company and changed its name to Spring River Performing Arts Troupe. In May of the same year, she launched the stage play “My Mom, My Wife, and My Mother-in-Law (我妻我母我丈母娘),” a play about love, communication, and empathy between people from a male perspective, which was well received by the general public. From 2016 to 2017, the show toured with 25 performances throughout Taiwan, and tickets were hard to come by. In 2018, the classic musical “Love Wasabi (愛情哇沙米)” was released, in which three older women each confront the issue of love in their lives, each at different stages in married life, once again earning rave reviews and even getting an additional 17 shows added to its run. 2019’s family comedy “When We Are Together (當我們同在一起)” dealt with modern family life, presenting a family of four overly dependent on electronics who, obsessed with the convenience that comes with technology, forget the importance of emotional connections and communication between people, bringing a heartfelt feel to the comedy that kept the audience laughing.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the troupe’s original performance schedule. During the crisis, the theater company sold its costumes to subsidize its operating expenses. To maintain interaction with audiences, when theater practitioners around the world were moving to online theatre services, Lang took a moment to consider how to best embrace the technology in a way that served the art of the stage, deciding that the idea shouldn’t be to simply replicate stage performances for the camera, but rather, to consider how to leverage the platform to design short films that could promote theatre companies, attracting more people to stage plays and fostering a greater willingness to come see them in the theatre in future. She believes that the improvisation and emotion of stage plays come from the setting, a kind of “handmade craft,” creating a sense of presence and uniqueness. Coupled with the distinctive characteristics of the troupe, this made their works irreplaceably original.

Spring River Performing Arts Troupe’s works are characterized by their comedy, packaging realistic plots and dialogues as light-hearted and accessible comic performances. The troupe has always been willing to experiment with different types of theatre, from xiangsheng comedy to musicals to Huangmei opera. They regularly put on exquisite large-scale productions, drawing audiences into the theater and into life, witnessing life together, feeling the power of the story, and bringing satisfaction and laughter to the audience.

The troupe has also established an acting academy, offering courses for performers and members of the public with a passion for and interest in acting, as a way to cultivate more talent. In the future, the troupe will not only focus on performances in Taiwan, but also on touring abroad, taking both traditional opera and modern theater from Taiwan to the global stage.

(Photo courtesy of Spring River Performing Arts Troupe)