City of Preston to welcome Chinese New Year celebration

As more than 1.3 billion people celebrate Chinese New Year around the world, Preston will play host to a one-off performance by some of China’s most respected entertainment troupes. To mark the most important date in the Chinese calendar, Preston Guild Hall’s Charter Theatre is showing a unique night of song, dance and acrobatics.

This includes a performance by the Chengdu Nationalities Troupe, whose rendition of “Many Blessings Fill Your World” featured in the incredible Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games. They will be joined by Chengdu Arts Troupe during a night which will see the exotic costumes and unusual musical instruments of the Far East transported to the north west of England. The night, which will celebrate the Year of the Snake, offers a rare opportunity for audiences to see artists from the Sichuan Province, a remote corner of western China which is twice as big as the UK, and has a population about 50 per cent larger than the UK’s.

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The event will include performances by four different nationalities from Sichuan: Han, Yi, Tibetan, and Qiang, which all have their own distinctive music, dance, culture, costume and language. 

This extraordinary glimpse into an often unseen part of China has been made possible by UCLan’s Confucius Institute, a partnership set-up in conjunction with the Beijing International Studies University, to promote the teaching of Chinese languages and culture in the UK. Since its establishment in 2008, UCLan’s Confucius Institute has helped more than 550 students in Lancashire visit China to study its language and culture.

 In addition, more than 100 headteachers and heads of departments from schools in the county have participated in sponsored educational visits to China with the opportunity to learn about the Chinese education system.

Among the intriguing acts on show on Tuesday, February 12, are a troupe of Tibetan tap dancers, fire breathing, and a “face changing” performance, which will showcase the ancient skill of ‘Bian Lian’, rapid change of mask, an art which almost died out but has been revived and is demonstrated to thrilling effect.

Feixia Yu, director of UCLan’s Confucius Institute, said: “With China emerging as the next global superpower the whole world is becoming more interested in Chinese language and culture.

“By bringing some of these incredible artists to Preston to celebrate Chinese New Year we aim to give audiences a rare opportunity to experience Chinese culture for themselves and see some of the amazingly talented performers that exist in the world’s most populous country.”

UCLan’s Confucius Institute presents a Chinese New Year Celebration Performance at the Charter Theatre on Tuesday, February 12 at 7pm.

Tickets are £15 (£10 concessions), with a discount given for group bookings. Tickets are available from Preston Guild Hall and Charter Theatre Box Office 0845 3442012

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has developed an enviable reputation as an institution that innovates, evolving its course portfolio to over 500 undergraduate programmes and 180 postgraduate courses.  The University has an established research reputation within the areas of Business, Health, Humanities and Science. In the recent Research Assessment Exercise, all 17 subject areas submitted were rated as containing research of international excellence while 11 areas were assessed to be undertaking research which is world-leading.  With approximately 32,000 students, the University indirectly contributes close to £250 million into the regional economy every year. UCLan is currently in the process of spending more than £120 million on new buildings and facilities to support teaching, learning and leisure activities.

 Alongside UCLan’s Combined Honours Chinese and BA(Hons) Business Management in China, the Confucius Institute offers work placements in China, Chinese language taster lessons, culture workshops and performances, as well as China conferences and lecture series.

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