The center’s Yilan site combines traditional architecture, natural ecology, art and craft aesthetics, performance elegance and humanistic feeling. Through its artistic collections, exhibitions of artifacts, interpretation and authorization mechanisms and such practices as artist secondments, forges an organically developing cultural venue.
At the site, all kinds of activities interact with and intersect one another, from themed exhibitions to performances and guided tours, providing a comprehensive experience of the traditional arts. Also, the center combines the creative skills of private sector executives to bring into effect the aesthetic tastes of modern life.
The center has organized an extensive array of diverse and rich exhibitions and performances over the years, such as Taiwanese Opera, Performances of Hand Puppet Theater, Nanguan Zhengxian and Beiguan Paitiun, Taiwan Traditional Performing Arts Festival, and Asia-Pacific Traditional Arts Festival etc. It has also deeply integrated its national-level performance troupes in remote country areas on whose stages it has ensured they perform, taken Taiwan to the Asia-Pacific region and comprehensively exploited the beauty of traditional performance art. Within the field of the traditional arts and crafts, it strives to penetrate society, to cherish the craftsmanship of the masters and collect precious works, and, through collections and exhibits, to record the moving stories of how, in the traditional arts, hand and heart unite.
The center’s GuoGuang Opera Company, Taiwan Bangzi Opera Company and National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan all possess potent performance power, creative vitality and artistic charm, having accumulated decades of rich experience and development and forged a unique brand, deservingly seen as typical of Taiwan’s exquisite contemporary art. In the future the three national level troupes will, on the basis of their experience, and, fully integrating national resources, pursue traditional arts steeped in contemporary values, and launch excellent products typical of Taiwan tastes. The center hopes, through international exchanges and contests, the plowing of ever deeper furrows of artistic endeavor, and the interdisciplinary, omni-faceted matching of artistic elements, to enhance the competitiveness of Chinese opera and traditional music in Taiwan, and forge a new international image for the nation through cultural diplomacy.
Amid the many threats and challenges presented by the current digital era, the center is working vigorously to integrate the abundant traditional arts resources and the diverse contemporary cultural elements under its stewardship in order to fulfill its distinctive collections and construct sharing networks. The application of cloud technology and the management of intellectual property are also enforced. A management platform for the integration of each area of traditional arts knowledge is established, aiming to provide fast and effective information services to general public and artistic groups and professionals involving in the field of traditional arts. In addition, through systematic focuses, the center makes efforts on conducting researches, exhibitions, educational activities and the development of artifact authorization to attain the dynamic value-added application of its treasure collections.
Taiwan Traditional Theatre and Music Center was completed and went on trial operation in 2016; the GuoGuang Opera Company, National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan and Taiwan Music Institute has also established their presence there. It is not only the first specialized theater with resident troupes, but also shares resources with artistic groups, making it a multi-purpose venue for arts exhibitions and performances, art education and tourism and leisure, as well as a platform for exchanges and talent cultivation.
Taiwan Traditional Theatre Festival is the annual magnificent art event of Taiwan Traditional Theatre Center that brings together the top performing groups of various operatic traditions, providing an operatic group portrait that is both classic and innovative in form, where tradition and modernity may clash or may meld.
Revisited Traditional Open Air Theatre project is organized by NCFTA, aims to recall people’s memory of traditional performance history and promote traditional theatre. This project has cooperated with temple, which has strongly local cohesiveness, people can be called to join the performance in the temple, and this is what the traditional theatre was like.
In 2018, the National Center for Traditional Arts began promoting the Dramadream Workshop, sharing traditional Chinese opera aesthetics and bringing together popular opera troupes’ creative resources, learning from their experiences in small theater, encouraging progress beyond traditional frameworks, and the production of experimental works with Chinese opera elements to explore the possibility of cooperation between conventional opera, modern theater, and crossover-style performance art to expand to broader audiences. Proceeding with a double-track system involving the invitation mechanisms of curators and public demand has enabled creators to have larger space to experiment and think, allowing the Traditional Taiwanese Theatre Center to become the “Dramadream Workshop”, a realm where dreams are put into practice.
The National Center for Traditional Arts has organized “Asia-Pacific Traditional Arts Festival” since 2000, featuring the presentation of diversity of Taiwan’s culture and neighboring countries’ traditional arts through various activities such as exhibitions, performances, workshops, seminars, etc. The event has become an iconic celebration on traditional arts in the Asia Pacific region. So far there have been over a thousand of artists, from Taiwan and abroad, gathering here not only to introduce to the public how their ethnic music, dances, puppetries and theaters are preserved but also to share mutual experiences on maintaining their traditional culture without losing identities in modern days. For two decades, this festival has won good reputation and been successfully noticed by the personnel in the academic circles and those involving in arts. At the same time, it is loved and supported by the general public.
In order to safeguard Taiwan’s traditional arts and showcase the essence of Taiwan’s culture, the National Center for Traditional Arts has launched the Performance and Promotion Project for Successors of Traditional Arts and Craftsmanship since 2017. Its Yilan Park is the main station for those performing artists and craftsmen, who have finished training under the Important Traditional Arts Inheritance Program by the Bureau of Culture Heritage, to take part in residency. They (individuals or groups) are provided a practical platform to advance their skills and demonstrate their talents through performances and creations in public, enabling traditional arts to retain alive. Over the years, the Performance Project has included Beiguan opera, Taiwanese opera, glove puppetry, Taiwanese ballad singing, Manjhou folk songs, Beiguan music and Paiwan bamboo flute/Paiwan twin-piped nose flute; the crafts in Promotion Project for the Traditional Craftsmanship are lacquer art, bamboo weaving, deity statuary decoration art, tin craft,and traditional wood carving.