Minister of Culture Cheng Li-chiun presided over the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the National Kaohsiung Center for Traditional Arts on April 21, marking the start of the Zuoying Zhongshan Hall Restoration and Revitalization Project.
The memories that people have of Zuoying Zhongshan Hall (左營海軍中山堂), which was mainly used as a cinema by the ROC Navy, will be preserved by the restoration project, noted the Minister. The Taiwan Bangzi Opera Company, which relocated to Kaohsiung more than six decades ago as a military attaché in 1949, will become the center's resident troupe and preserve the hall's historic legacy.
The Executive Yuan approved on Oct. 15, 2015 to allot Zuoying Zhongshan Hall, which was inaugurated in 1950 under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of National Defense, to the National Center for Traditional Arts for its management and utilization. S.T. Yeh Architects & Planners (葉世宗建築師事務所) was commissioned to restore the hall with a budget of roughly NT$230 million. Construction began on March 20, 2017 and is scheduled to finish by November 2018.
The National Kaohsiung Center for Traditional Arts is set to become an art park and an important incubation center for traditional arts in southern Taiwan, showcasing Bangzi opera, Taiwanese opera, puppet theater, and nanguan and beiguan music. A theater branch will also be established to provide resources for costumes, props, and stage settings, and to cultivate talent in program planning, original production, and traditional artistry.
The entire restoration and revitalization project carries an investment tag of NT$740 million, and the center set for completion by 2020. The Kaohsiung center will join the National Center for Traditional Arts in Yilan and the Xiqu Center of Taiwan in Taipei as a new triad promoting traditional arts in Taiwan.