The National Theater & Concert Hall: The Hall of Arts for All People
Located in the Boai District in central Taipei, the National Theater & Concert Hall (or the NTCH) features the traditional Chinese palace structure. The gold roofs, overturned edges, Chinese red colonnades and colorful arches demonstrate an elegant and imposing manner. The two buildings and the four adjacent plazas create an interesting and artistic living landscape, becoming one of the most significant landmarks in Taipei. The National Theater adopts the solemn hip roof shape, while the National Concert Hall is topped with the gable roof shape. While both designs were preserved for the royals in ancient times, now they welcome the public to come and admire with open arms. The architectural streamline drawn by the overturned edges of these majestic and classic national art sanctuaries inspires people to imagine the future on the basis of classicism.
From Military Heartland to Artistic Center
The area where NTCH sits has been military grounds since the Qing dynasty, but was later turned into a memorial center for the late President Chiang Kai-shek, who died in 1975. The National Theater and the National Concert Hall was then added to the memorial hall, an expansion which turned what was once a cold military barracks into a rich land for the arts to flourish and an oasis in the bustling capital.
The NT$7.4 billion construction project of the National Theater & Concert Hall began in 1981. Designed by Ho-Mou Architect Firm, the majestic venue leads the world as a modern performance center incorporated with traditional Chinese palace architecture. The interior of the NTCH, equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, is a standard Western playhouse. A German and Dutch Team, composed of Germany-based GNH and Holland-based Philips, was in charge of hardware such as stereos, stages and lighting. After the construction was completed in 1987, the NTCH had its grand opening in October the same year. The venue, managed by the National Chiang Kai-Shek Cultural Center, became a crown jewel not only domestically but also across Asia, introducing a new era during which the performing arts in Taiwan gradually goes global.
1987 was also a year of ground shaking changes. During the ten years of the National Chiang Kai-Shek Cultural Center's construction, the mainly agricultural society of Taiwan was transformed into an industrial and commercial one; the martial law was lifted, and democracy and openness were upheld. The ribbon cutting of the NTCH proclaimed the beginning of the "Taiwanese Renaissance."
Deregulation and Liberalization
Originally a government branch, the National Chiang Kai-Shek Cultural Center became Taiwan's first ever administrative corporation on March 1, 2004, granting it national budgets as well as increased corporational flexibility and efficiency, while helping it to conform with the international trend and promoting Taiwan through arts.
However, in order to enhance the cultural awareness in Taiwan in the 21th century, the Cultural Center was renamed the National Performing Arts Center following a bill passed in January, 2014, which made it the highest-level independent professional performing arts center in Taiwan. This change came exactly ten years after the venue was made an administrative corporation. Currently, the National Performing Arts Center has a total of three sites: the National Theater & Concert Hall in Taipei, the National Theater & Concert Hall in central Taiwan, and the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts in the south. The National Symphony Orchestra (NSO), which joined NTCH in August 1, 2005, is now also under the National Performing Arts Center.
As the performing arts environment in Taiwan develops since the 80's, the over quarter-century old NTCH has also come a long way. NTCH has been very active with improving its services, providing performances that are rich in content and creativity, while taking up the colossal responsibility of promoting, developing, preserving performing arts in Taiwan.