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March 2, 2012

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Home » Metro » Education

Students shoot for the stars at prestigious acting school

THOUSANDS of students from all over the country began their pursuit of stardom yesterday at the Shanghai Theater Academy, one of China's film star cradles.

An estimated 2,000 students lined up for only 50 places in the academy's hottest acting department at the registration that will run through Saturday.

Last month, the academy's Beijing registration station attracted more than 2,200 students. Students need to take the three-round examinations of recitation, dancing, singing, gymnastics and impromptu performance before getting the admission offer.

"During each round of competition, every student will be judged by at least five examiners who are veterans in the field," said Long Junjie, director of the academy's acting department.

This year the academy also invited celebrated actors and directors to the judging panel, such as acclaimed actor and singer Wang Luoyong and famous theater and film director Sherwood Hu.

After the examination results are released in early April, students must take part in the nationwide college entrance exams to be held in June and must attain a certain mark, stipulated by the academy, to be accepted.

Stardom mania has increased in China in recent years as acting departments have been the most earnestly sought-after major in China's art schools.

This year more than 6,000 students participated in the exams at the Beijing Film Academy but only 30 of them will be enrolled.

Celine Zhang, an 18-year-old student from the neighboring Zhejiang Province, registered at the Shanghai Theater Academy yesterday.

"I know how fierce the competition will be," Zhang said. "Though most of my family members encourage me to study law and economics to find decent and stable jobs after graduation, I won't give up my dream of acting."

There are also many star wannabes who regard the acting department a short-cut and golden chance to quick fame.

But according to director Sherwood Hu, they should think twice before take up performing art as a life-long career.

"Not each of them is qualified to be a good actor, as acting is a tough profession that requires one to have enough talent, passion, diligence and sometimes luck," Hu said. "Many acting graduates can't find stable and well-paying jobs. The students should understand how hard this road could be and get well-prepared for that."


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