The Flower Lantern troupe are one of the last of their kind.
Posted on February 12, 2016, at 6:03 a.m. ET
In the Chinese city of Kunming, elderly residents are putting on daily performances of traditional Chinese opera in a bid to keep a dying art alive.
Chinese opera is a traditional form of performance that can incorporate art, music, dance, and martial arts.
The Flower Lantern group of Yunnan perform daily shows above a food market. The Yunnan Opera has been staging performances for over 200 years, and has been awarded "Intangible Cultural Heritage" status by the Chinese government.
All performers are over 50, do their own makeup, and perform one show a day.
But a changing China means young people are turning to other forms of entertainment, shrinking audiences for opera.
Speaking to the AFP, 72-year-old performer He Zhengcai said that there was no longer an audience for traditional opera.
"The situation is getting worse each year, our stage has moved seven times and each time it gets smaller," he said. "Young people are no longer interested in this art, and our audiences are old fellows in general."
The troupe's founder, Gao Qinying, was pessimistic about the group's survival.
“I don’t think the group could survive another year," she said. “Five old friends used to sit there together, they came and sat on the same spot every day... Now, they are all gone.”
Rachael Krishna is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Rachael Krishna at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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