Vietnamese History Conveyed Through English Theatrical Performance

The first English opera contest about Vietnamese history is said to bring an extremely useful educational-artistic playground for primary students in Ho Chi Minh City.
April 09, 2023 | 09:34

In the past few days, the auditorium of Ben Thanh Theater in Ho Chi Minh City was packed with students, parents, and teachers at primary schools in the city. Primary students participated in the first English opera contest about Vietnamese history. All audiences agreed that historical stories were performed in English with all efforts and creativity.

Highlight the national heroic history

The "English musical performance about Vietnamese History" contest is held at the city level for primary students by the Department of Education and Training of Ho Chi Minh City. It took place in three days from April 4-6, with the participation of 44 elementary schools throughout the city.

Prior to this level, Thu Duc City and 21 districts held a local competition with the active and enthusiastic participation of all primary schools in the area. Each locality then selected the 2 best performances to participate in the city-level competition.

Hundreds of students from grade 3 to grade 5 from 44 elementary schools participated in 44 performances in this round. They sang and spoke in English while acting and expressing the development of sketches as well as the psychology of the characters. Though the work was not professionally excellent, the audience was very impressed by the innocence, and loveliness of the students and felt a deep pride in the national history.

Hong Ha Primary School in Binh Thanh District brought to the contest the heroic atmosphere of the days of fighting against the enemy to save the country in their teenage days. With the 20-minute sketch named “Flying towards the Sun,” students recreated the mountainous space of the Nung ethnic group in Cao Bang province and the life of the young hero Kim Dong.

Vietnamese History Conveyed Through English Theatrical Performance
"Flying Towards the Sun" was performed by students of Hong Ha primary school.

The play is interwoven with joyful and innocent slices of when Kim Dong a child, flew the kites with his friends in the vast field. When the enemies came, he was soon enlightened about the revolution and became a reliable liaison to support the revolution for national independence and freedom. Besides excellent acting, the costumes of the characters are also carefully and appropriately prepared, making a strong impression on the audience and helping the children understand more about the history of the country.

According to Bui Thi Hai Yen, Principal of Hong Ha Primary School, the rehearsal process helped students to become more confident and understand their characters better. For this impressive performance, 87 students in grades 3, 4, and 5 were trained by their teachers for about 1 month.

Phan Du Hoai Ly, a music teacher at Luong The Vinh Primary School in Go Vap District, expressed her excitement when teachers and students completed the performance about the childhood biography of Luong The Vinh, also known as Confucian Doctoral Laureate Luong.

“The skit is a collaboration of English teachers, history teachers, music and art teachers in the school. The English teachers were professional, so they could easily handle the dialogue. They also love music, so they composed very quickly and easily put new English lyrics into foreign music or folk music.

Teachers and students all understood the history of Luong The Vinh very well, so they did not have any difficulty in expressing the character. Most importantly, we combined folk ideas to make the sketch more suitable for students. The only problem was the limited time. Because students were busy with their schedules, we usually practiced at noon," said teacher Hoai Ly.

Improving student's skills and capabilities

According to Principal Bui Thi Hai Yen, the contest created a useful playground to develop the students' capacity. English teachers also had an opportunity to showcase their abilities when participating in this contest. Through the performance, the students' capability in foreign languages increased significantly. Students not only practiced using English more often but also improved their skills in acting, singing, dancing, and communicating with foreigners.

Chau Nguyen An Minh, a student of grade 5/1 at Ta Uyen Primary School in Nha Be district, said that through the contest, he learned more about national heroes, who he little recognized just through books. Minh also made many new friends and improved his English listening and speaking skills by communicating and exchanging with friends from other schools.

Many parents also expressed their excitement and pride when their children participated in a meaningful playground, not only fostering their foreign languages ​​but also having true entertainment, immersing themselves in the art after stressful school hours.

Vietnamese History Conveyed Through English Theatrical Performance
A play about Ha Ba Trung by students from Chi Lang primary school, Go Vap district.

According to the Deputy Director of the Department of Education and Training of Ho Chi Minh City Nguyen Bao Quoc, this contest created an opportunity for students to effectively use English to talk about Vietnam's history in the form of theatrical performance. Thereby, contributing to consolidating their knowledge of history and improving their English capability. It is said to be a very meaningful activity, contributing to the successful implementation of the 2018 General Education Program in Ho Chi Minh City. The contest is also an opportunity for administrators and teachers to evaluate the English teaching activities of their units.

In musical form, the performances became lively and creative. Students communicated entirely in English, even in songs, rhymes, and folk tunes with new lyrics written in English.

According to Nguyen Bao Quoc, the Department of Education and Training organized the contest in hope of creating a playground for primary school students to learn English and use English creatively to recreate the heroic history of the nation, thereby promoting the beauty of culture, history, moral values, and patriotism for primary school students, and cultivating and nurturing children's love for their homeland, country, and pride for the nation.

“Especially, the contest enhanced the ability to introduce Vietnamese history and the history of Ho Chi Minh City when interacting and communicating with international guests. This is also an opportunity for international friends to understand better about Vietnamese culture, history, and people," emphasized Quoc.

Vietnamese History Conveyed Through English Theatrical Performance
Folk melodies and folk tunes with new lyrics in English are integrated into the performances.

Every Vietnamese person has the right to be proud of the heroic history of the nation. During more than 4000 years of building and defending the country, many young heroes contributed to the resistance war and sacrificed for national independence. They are shining examples for future generations to follow.

Many schools in Ho Chi Minh City are honored to bear the names of national heroes. Through the contest, those historical examples and stories were conveyed to the listeners by the students through words, songs, dances, etc. with skits in English that were extremely creative and appropriate for their young age.

The contest has contributed to upholding cultural values and instilling moral values ​​in primary school students, creating opportunities for administrators and teachers to evaluate the school's English teaching and operations.

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