Halong Bay Junks
Halong targets theatre crowd
Halong Bay offers an incredibly beautiful landscape naturally formed by thousands of islands and islets. Recently, Halong Bay's management board has attempted to lure tourists through an experimental project that transforms caves into natural theatres.Dau Go Cave doesn't just attract tourists because of its hundreds of stalactites that are all from the ceiling like a waterfall, but it also draws many for fashion and musical shows.
Dau Go Cave was the venue of a music concert for the first time in 2005. Until now it witnessed a variety of small performances on a mobile stage which is removed at the end of a show.
The cave acted as an opera house during the Halong carnival that took place early this month with various performances of music, orchestra, fashion and dance.
Tourists and members of the Most Beautiful Bays of the World Club enjoyed the event and highly appreciated the venue, according to Ngo Van Hung, chief of Halong Bay's management board.
Developing the cave into a permanent performance space would be a good idea for Halong tourism, Hung says.
"Because Halong Bay is the World Natural Heritage Site, all projects relating to the bay need to be approved by the Quang Ninh Provincial People's Committee and Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism," he says.
After experimenting, the management board found that space in the cave is suitable to holding concerts. The shape of the cavern allows for good acoustics, while being spacious enough for a stage and audience seating.
The exterior is a vaulted space full of natural light. This can be a venue for daytime events.
Hung expects that the theatre in Dau Go Cave could serve tourists every weekend with various kinds of performing arts such as tuong (classical drama), cheo (traditional opera) and ca tru (ceremonial singing).
"We intend to build a wooden stage and seats for about 200 people and set up light and sound equipment, it won't be a modern theatre," Hung says.
"We'll make sure that the beauty of the cave and the surrounding environment will be protected.
These activities won't affect the cave and the stalactites. The performances will help foreign tourists understand more about Vietnamese culture."
Apart from Dau Go Cave, Halong Bay's management board has set up a wooden stage in Trong (Drum) Cave. This is the venue for Quang Ninh Province's cheo troupe performances on special occasions.
The inside of the cave is so wide and light that the management board doesn't have to set up lighting. The natural theatre is illuminated thanks to candles.
The Most Beautiful Bays of the World Club has recently organised a meeting and admitted new members in the cave. With the support of tourists, public opinion and authorities, the management board will continue to experiment.