National Taichung Theater：The World’s New Landmark of Theater and Architecture
National Taichung Theater (NTT), the first national-level performing arts center in central Taiwan, dedicated to being “A Theater for Arts and New Lifestyle”, today, August 26, launches its soft opening and one-month trial operation, leading up to the grand opening on September 30. Designed by the Pritzker Prize winning architect Toyo Ito and hailed by the international media as one of the world’s nine new landmarks, the architecture is supported solely by curved walls and no pillars, which is representative of NTT's endeavors: to engage and connect, to embrace the flow of ideas, and be unafraid to defy the norm. This brand new landmark houses a 2007-seat Grand Theater, a 796-seat Playhouse and a 200-seat Black Box. With plans in place to host annual arts festivals, create local arts programs, and participate in international collaborations, the National Taichung Theater aspires to allow imaginations to soar, and make the appreciation of art a way of life.
An Architecture as an Opera
“The National Taichung Theater is not just a building that houses the opera. The entire architecture itself is an opera.”— Toyo Ito
With NTT, Toyo Ito has achieved a remarkable feat, which is to create a seamless integration between architecture and nature. As Ito puts it, nowadays architecture is often nothing more than consumer products. “However, like a tree house or an ancient cave, great architecture connects our hearts to nature." Envisioned as a grand opera theater in itself, Ito’s idea of the Sound Cave fosters a natural, immersive environment. With its ecosystem of free-flowing tubes and caves, NTT embraces nature both as its inspiration and its tribute. The result is a revitalization in the connection between people and space, a dynamic environment where artistic energy echoes throughout.
A cave to be accessed from all directions, the building encourages the flow of sound and other elements, creating not just a visual structure but an acoustic space where the artistic vibes and music reverberate through. Is architecture only about seeing? This is a building you listen to. Inspired by a Japanese checkered fabric pattern, Ito wants to create an interwoven series of caves that brings a sense of softness to the building. With his distinct concept of the Emerging Grid, each grid is stretched to different sizes until a unified whole is formed—an architectural symphony.
Spectacular Spaces for Theater, Design, Coffee and Delicacies
NTT is designed to provide the best experiences for artists, audiences, citizens and tourists. There are several spaces for performances and living, including three professional theaters, one outdoor theater, the corner salon, the sky garden and other well-designed spaces for restaurants, café, select-shops and arts corner.
The red-themed Grand Theater is located on the second floor and can seat up to 2007. Every seat offers outstanding acoustics and unobstructed sightlines. The proscenium stage includes an orchestra pit that can be used as a stage extension if needed. The venue can serve as a concert hall when the orchestra pit is elevated and the portal bridge lowered to the stage level. The Grand Theater is ideal for opera, musical, theater, dance, symphony orchestra and concerts.
The Playhouse’s most noteworthy feature is the convertibility of its stage, which can be interchanged between a standard proscenium form and an arena stage. The design and the seating of 796 are ideal for chamber opera, musicals, theater, dance, and recitals. While the Black Box is located on the B2 floor and can seat up to 200 people, the most distinctive design is an indoor-outdoor connection between the Black Box and the Outdoor Theater. When a removable wall is opened, both spaces can be used as one.
NTT also has the Corner Salon, a vibrant and interactive space located in the lobby of the first floor, which is approximately 160㎡ and good for lectures and exhibitions. While the featured Sky Garden, a surreal space that looks like the surface of the moon yet is surrounded with earthy green grass and a blue sky, is ideal for all open-air events, including receptions, concerts and outdoor cinema.
Besides the above venues for performances and events, NTT also provides spaces for a higher standard of living, enabling citizens and tourists to enjoy fine dining in the featured restaurant, relaxing tea time in the cafés, creative talks in the lecture salon, unforgettable tours in the gallery and lovely shopping experiences in the select shops. NTT is more than a theater; it is a place open to the public to experience brand-new arts and an elevated lifestyle.
The Programs Revitalizing through the Arts
Blessed Prana：Rite of Vital Purification in the Action of Arts from August 26 to 28, during the beginning of the soft opening, fuses together Daoism with contemporary theater to imbue NTT with a prosperous future through water purification. Under the direction of CHIU Kun-liang, who is a
master of theater and traditional art, and employing multi-site performances, which take full advantage of the design by world-famous Japanese architect, Toyo Ito, NTT uses this occasion to embrace both tradition and the future, in an event that features contemporary art installations and invites local Taichung artists to participate.
The opening season, starting from September 30 to December 31, 2016, presents 52 performances with more than 30 companies from 10 countries, including opera, drama, dance, music, Chinese opera and international co-production shows, to celebrate the power of life performances.
Starting today, central Taiwan can enjoy more theater and art in their everyday lives. NTT has booked Taiwan's greatest national treasures to perform for the occasion. The artists, representing the best of both traditional and contemporary artistic traditions, including such notable figures as LIAO Chiung-chih, Ara Kimbo, JU Tzong-ching, WEI Hai-min, TANG Mei-yun, WU Nien-jen, WANG An-chi, and many more.
Furthermore, artists from Spain, France, Germany, the UK, and India are also performing here in Taichung. Besides bringing an international flavor to Taichung, these artists will display the diversity the world has to offer and at the same time we can all discover our shared humanity through the arts. The highlights program during the grand opening season include the Asia premiere opera Das Rheingold by Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, Velencia and La Fura dels Baus; the world premiere and international co-production La Mode presented by artists from Taiwan, the Netherlands, Japan and Italy; and the Asia premiere of the musical theater piece The Dark Mirror: Zender’s Winterreise coproduced by the UK, the US and Taiwan.
NTT its magnificent programs are only the beginning. This theater will foster the arts in Taiwan to achieve new heights. For more programs and information, please visit the official website of National Taichung Theater: http://www.npac-ntt.org/
The Most Beloved Theater for Arts and New Lifestyle
The constant striving for evolution in arts and lifestyle is the vision of NTT, while its mission is to build up a wow-factor for artists, audiences, and the people in town. Through solid service and support, the laboratory efforts in productions, along with the planning of festivals, schools of dramaturgies, arts camps, arts salons, professional workshops and so on, National Taichung Theater is ready to break down boundaries between young and old, near and far, local and international, achieving a brand-new theater for arts and new lifestyle.
By conserving the classical essence as well as reinterpreting the tradition with the future in mind, National Taichung Theater is able to commence anew and be the catalyst for an endless flow of creativity, which after generations of inheritance and transformation, will ultimately contribute to a new page for human beings.