The Silk Road International League of Theatres: A Global Gathering of Performing Artists
The Silk Road International League of Theatres (SRILT), established in October 2016, has become a driving force behind the global exchange of cultural and artistic experiences. With 155 member units hailing from 45 countries and two international organizations, SRILT has played a pivotal role in fostering international cooperation and artistic exchanges. As of March 2023, it comprises 83 foreign member units and 72 domestic member units, according to the China Arts and Entertainment Group Ltd (CAEG).
Expanding Chinese Cultural Influence
SRILT has contributed significantly to the expansion of China’s international cultural influence. By supporting Chinese performing arts troupes’ international tours since its inception, SRILT has enabled these troupes to perform in various locations worldwide, including Asia, North Africa, Western, Central and Eastern Europe, and the American Midwest. These performances have showcased over ten domestic productions, attracting an audience exceeding 100,000 people and garnering widespread acclaim from mainstream media.
Facilitating Joint Productions and Talent Exchanges
One of SRILT’s key objectives is to promote joint productions and talent exchanges. Notable examples include the premiere of the first China-Italian co-produced original opera, “Marco Polo,” in 2018, which gained significant attention both in China and abroad. SRILT also launched two editions of talent exchanges and a training program for young talents in 2021 and 2022. These initiatives aim to strengthen connections between the global performing arts community.
Focus on African Members
SRILT has placed significant emphasis on developing its African member units. The organization currently includes African members such as the Artscape Theatre Centre in South Africa, the Mulualem Cultural Center in Ethiopia, and the Kenya Cultural Centre, which incorporates the Kenya National Theatre.
These collaborations primarily center around personnel exchange activities and knowledge sharing in theater management and the cultural industry. For example, the Artscape Theatre Centre in South Africa actively participates in league-related industry exchange activities, which include promoting mutual visits, performances, and participation in international arts festivals. The Artscape Theatre Centre plans to invite a Chinese art troupe to South Africa to participate in a local art festival in 2024.
Future Collaborations and Exchanges
Looking ahead, SRILT is committed to strengthening exchanges and cooperation in festivals between domestic and international theaters. Upcoming collaborations may include participation in renowned international events like the Avignon Arts Festival in France, the Sanremo Music Festival in Italy, and the Tbilisi International Theatre Festival in Georgia. SRILT also plans to organize tours and professional exchanges while inviting renowned foreign performing groups to participate in major domestic arts festivals.
Additionally, the league aims to facilitate interactions between over ten theaters in Hong Kong and Macao with the Chinese mainland. This initiative seeks to promote cooperation and exchanges between performing art troupes from these regions and the facilitation of international festivals.
Establishing Long-Term Cooperation Mechanisms
SRILT’s future roadmap includes the establishment of long-term cooperation mechanisms by designating “sister theaters” among its members. This approach will enable comprehensive collaboration in theater management, repertoire exchange, and event planning. Regular visits between top executives of sister theaters, as well as cultural days and weeks hosted by these theaters, will be organized. These initiatives aim to create a multidimensional, deep-rooted, and institutionalized platform for cultural exchanges both in China and abroad.
The Silk Road International League of Theatres continues to be a beacon of cultural exchange and cooperation, uniting artists and audiences from diverse backgrounds in a celebration of the performing arts.