Duyet Thi Duong Theater- Hue Royal Theater

Duyet Thi Duong- Hue Royal Theater- Culture Pham Travel

Royal Theater Hue Introduction

Where is the Duyet Thi Duong Theater located? In the Hue imperial capital, there are many architectural buildings built during the existence of the Nguyen Dynasty. With many different types of architecture and different uses.

Also, Hue Royal Theater (also called Duyet Thi Duong Theater), is located in the southeast corner of the Forbidden Purple City. It is an architectural work of large scale, with the main function being the royal theater. “Duyet Thi Duong Theater” is understood as a house for viewing art performances. From this people can contemplate good and right things.

Duyet Thi Duong- Hue Royal Theater- Culture Pham Travel
Hue Royal Theater Entrance

Duyet Thi Duong (Duyet: considered to distinguish between right and wrong; Thi: watch; Duong: house). It is a theater for the king, royal family, and royal officials. It is a place to perform Tuong (classical drama) to serve the envoys of the nations. This is the oldest theater in the Vietnamese theater industry.

Duyet Thi Duong Theater’s History

Duyet Thi Duong was built in the 7th year of Minh Mang (1826) on the old background of Thanh Phong Duong Theater (1805). It is located in the southeast corner of the Forbidden City, the Hue Imperial Citadel. This is a place dedicated to the King, his royal relatives, the officials, and the royal guests to see art performances (mainly royal classical drama).

Duyet Thi Duong- Hue Royal Theater- Culture Pham Travel
Duyet Thi Duong Theater Building

Moreover, although the Nguyen Dynasty built three more theaters later, the Nguyen kings still renovated and embellished Duyet Thi Duong to serve as a place to perform various art forms. A place to serve the envoys of other countries when coming to Vietnam. Duyet Thi Duong Theater was restored for the first time in 1829 (10th Minh Mang).

However, after the fall of feudalism under the Nguyen Dynasty (August 1945), the Duyet Thi Duong theater fell into oblivion. In the war years that followed, along with other structures in the Forbidden City, the theater was severely damaged.

Until 1962, when Vietnam was divided, the government of the Republic of Vietnam used the Duyet Thi Duong theater as the teaching base of Hue National School of Music (today Hue University of Arts). Thus, many details of the works of the old theater were demolished. The structure of the theater was also changed, leaving no room for exhibitions and performances. 

Hue Royal Theater- Culture Pham Travel

Plus, in the years after liberation, this cultural work was not cared for in time. In addition, the destruction of time and war, plus the lack of human consciousness made Duyet Thi Duong degraded seriously.

From 1995 to 2002Hue Monuments Conservation Center completely restored and rehabilitated the theater for the last time. It officially went into regular operation in March 2003. The seats for the guests and the seats for the ancient mandarins have been repaired to serve tourists.

Duyet Thi Duong Theater’s Architecture

Duyet Thi Duong Theater has a total area of ​​11,740 m2. The theater’s construction area is 1,182m2. The entire theater campus was formerly used to grow rare and precious medicinal plants.

Additionally, to the right of the theater is the Royal Hospital, a place to make medicine for the King and the Royal Family. On the left is the Thuong Thien department, which is used to prepare dishes for the King. They are all separated from the theater by a wall.

Hue Royal Theater- Culture Pham Travel

Furthermore, the theater’s building materials are all made of ironwood, with a height of 12 m, including 2 floors. The ceiling is embossed with scenes of the moon, stars, the sun, the expression of the miniature universe, and so on. The outside is carved with dragons, phoenixes, other patterns, and so forth. The square stage is in the middle of the theater.

Hue Royal Theater-Culture Pham Travel

Plus, the king’s position is in an arch right in the middle of the second floor. In front of both sides of the arch hang two parallel sentences by King Minh Mang. The two on the left and right are places for national guests. The court officials sat on the couch, which was placed on the left and right sides of the stage.

Lastly, the royal family watched the performance on the second floor, on a stage that had three rooms. The one behind is backstage, and there are two rooms on either side for actors to dress up, and change costumes to prepare for the performance.

Hue Royal Theater’s Status Nowadays

After nearly 200 years, under the impact of harsh nature and the destruction of war. Duyet Thi Duong Theater has suffered bad damage and has been restored and repaired many times.

Duyet Thi Duong Theater- Hue Royal Theater- Culture Pham Travel

Moreover, from 1995 to 2002, the theater was completely restored and officially went into regular operation in March 2003. The Royal Traditional Theater of Hue Monuments Conservation Center is managing this theater.

Besides, although it was not restored like its original state, Duyet Thi Duong theater was revived with a lapis lazuli roof, gilded painted columns, a stage, backstage, and an auditorium with the old look. True to the spirit of restoration, repair, and ensuring adaptability to the current use function.

Hue Royal Theater-Culture Pham Travel

After completion, the Duyet Thi Duong Theater has functional spaces. The first floor has a performance area, an area for the audience to sit and enjoy royal dance performances, and an area for actors to dress up. The second floor includes spaces to display costumes, musical instruments, and documents related to Hue Royal’s traditional art.

Hue Royal Theater-Culture Pham Travel

Since 2004, Duyet Thi Duong has been restored and put into operation by the Hue Monuments Conservation Center to serve tourists with the Hue royal court music genre, which is quite attractive to tourists. The theater has collected and restored 8 out of 11 ancient dances, 40 Hue Royal Court songs, and many excerpts from classical drama.

The Royal Theater Hue-Culture Pham Travel
“Luc Cung Hoa Dang” is one of the eleven ancient royal dances.

Currently, Duyet Thi Duong is the place to perform Hue music and songs of the Hue Royal Art Troupe. On average, there are about 4 performances per day. Each month more than 2,500 visitors come to the Duyet Thi Duong theater to enjoy art, most of which are international tourists. Especially during Hue Festivals, this place becomes the center of attraction for international tourists. The performances are always crowded.

Culture Pham Travel
Hue Royal Court Music

In addition to the attractiveness of Nha Nhac (Hue Royal Court Music). Visitors come here also because of their curiosity to know what the appearance of the oldest theater in Vietnam looks like. Perhaps, this is also the unique feature of Duyet Thi Duong for domestic and foreign tourists.

Performance Time at Duyet Thi Duong Theater

  • In the morning: From 10h00 to 10h35.
  • In the afternoon: From 15h00 to 15h35.
  • The ticket price is 200,000VND/ Person (at least 10 people/ performance).

Hence, if you have been to Hue once, surely no one has not visited the Hue Royal Theater in the Citadel. You cannot miss the chance to come to the Duyet Thi Duong Theater. It has a world intangible heritage ( Hue Royal Court Music) in architectural heritage, recognized by UNESCO.

In addition, a relic not only carries its architectural and artistic values but is also a space containing historical and cultural values. Hue Royal theater-Duyet Thi Duong Theater –  the oldest theater in Vietnam.

On the whole, Hue Royal Theater in the complex of Hue monuments is an attractive destination that you cannot miss when coming to Hue. Culture Pham Travel wishes you the most enjoyable experiences on your excursion.

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