What wonders can be made when digitalization meets theatre art? On September 28th, the 2021 NCPA Taihu Art Centre International Forum opened. The forum was co-organized by the Beijing Design Week Organizing Committee, NCPA and China Institute of Stage Art. 200 representatives of world-renowned artists, stage designers, experts and scholars from at home and abroad engaged in online and offline discussions around the theme, “Digitalization and Stage Arts”.
At the opening ceremony, WANG Ning, President of the NCPA, CAO Lin, President of China Institute of Stage Art, and famous director ZHANG Yimou, delivered electrifying speeches. The forum is held simultaneously online and offline， with the main forum held at the NCPA Taihu Theatre and sub-forum participants attending by video conference. The opening ceremony and keynote speeches were streamed live on the NCPA Classical Music Channel and several online platforms.
The keynote session was chaired by GAO Guangjian, Stage Design Director of NCPA. GUAN Jianbo, Head of the Stage Technology Department and Stage Technology Director of NCPA, introduced the NCPA’s exploration and practices in the digitalization of art with specific productions as case studies; LYU Tingjie, Professor at Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications and Executive Vice President of the China Information Economics Society, shared about the wonderful sparks generated by the convergence of digital economy and cultural creation industry; BAO Yi, Co-Founder of the Kingway Communication, took Apologue 2047 as an example to share how modern technology can be cleverly integrated with traditional Chinese culture. Anna Maria Meo, General Manager of Teatro Regio di Parma, gave a fascinating presentation on “Applying RFID tracking technology to theatre production”. Annastina Haapasaari, Project Manager of Opera Beyond of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet, presented "Beyond the stage, Beyond the Expected". Annette Mees, former Head of the Audience Labs, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, talked about "Audience Labs at ROH: exploring immersive technology as a stage for performance - with Current, Rising, the first opera in hyper reality as a case study".
In the three professional sub-forums entitled, “Digitalization and the Future of Stage Art”, “Overall Performance Design in the Digital Era” and “Stage Design Space for Chinese Opera in the Digital Era”, ZHANG Qingshan, Director of Stage Design Department of Central Academy of Drama, YI Tianfu, Director of Stage Design Department of Shanghai Theatre Academy, and MA Lu, Director of Stage Design Department of National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts, respectively served as academic moderators. Experts and scholars from the China Institute of Stage Design, National Theatre of China, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and Beijing Dance Academy delivered insightful speeches and conversations on the opportunities and challenges facing the stage art industry.
On opening day, the NCPA Taihu Digital Platform was launched. Based on the NCPA’s massive and high-calibre output of original productions and relying on the advantages of the Taihu Art Centre in the world of stage design, the Platform aims to be a “highland” for digitized development of stage design both at home and abroad, and to serve the increasingly frequent and intensive digitized art exchanges between domestic and international art institutions and artists.
The functions of the digital platform are broadly defined as “a library, a platform and a centre”. The “library” is the digital library of stage design resources, the core of the digital platform, which provides a professional resource management system for the stage design industry and is planned to be shared with the whole industry. The resource library focuses on specialized categories of stage design such as settings, props, costumes, make-up, lighting, and multimedia, to manage text, pictures, audio and video, CAD files, 3D models and other process and result data in a sorted manner, providing self-developed data collection solutions and advanced resource storage tools, which can enhance the digitized management efficiency of stage design resources.
The “platform” refers to the display and exchange platform of stage design resources, which focuses on displaying quality content, building exchange windows, linking market supply and demand, promoting exchanges in the stage design industry, revitalizing quality stage design resources and creating an online ecosphere in the industry through modules such as stage design resources, stage design cloud exhibition, stage design workshop, stage design lecture hall, stage design news and members’ business cards.
In addition, the platform will build a digital immersion experience centre for stage design resources, aiming to promote offline interaction and online pooling of stage design talents, organizations, enterprises and resources for the industry, with the NCPA Taihu Art Centre as the base.
WANG Cheng, Vice President of the NCPA, said, “Led by the concept of smart theatre, the NCPA launches the NCPA Taihu Digital Platform, hoping to create a ‘digital highland’ for the stage design industry at home and abroad to realize the digitized convergence of first-class stage design resources, realize active exchange between artists and practitioners, achieve dynamic interaction between stage design and the public, and promote the constant development of the industry.”