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Record 30,929 hopefuls eager to follow dreams of showbiz stardom

    Record 30,929 hopefuls eager to follow dreams of showbiz stardom



    Thousands of hopefuls wait to sit the exam at Shanghai Theater Academy yesterday.

    A record number of 30,929 students will take part in the entrance examination for the Shanghai Theater Academy as they pursue their dreams of stardom.

    Star wannabes lined up early yesterday morning to sit for the examination in which they will battle for only 464 spots in acting, directing, TV hosting, scriptwriting, dance and stage art. The examination goes on till March 11.

    Over 10,000 candidates from all over the country are battling it out for the academy’s two most sought-after departments: acting and TV hosting.

    The acting department of the academy will enroll only 50 students this year, or one in every 126 applicants. As well as displaying their skills in recitation, impromptu performances, singing, dancing and gymnastics, the candidates are also required to do well at the national college entrance exam.

    Officials from the academy said several measures have been taken to ensure a more open and fair examination system. The jury panel is composed of theater scholars and famed directors.

    “Our judges are not allowed to coach candidates at training classes,” said Hu Min, an official with the academy. “Each of them has signed a letter of commitment to clarify their responsibilities.”

    Competition at the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing is even fiercer, with one in every 195 applicants expected to enroll in the acting department. Even heartthrob Yi Yangqianxi, a member of boy band sensation TFBoys, is taking part in the entrance exam at the Beijing academy.

    Enthusiasm among young Chinese for the arts have been increasing in recent years. The number of candidates for the Shanghai academy has increased by around 170 percent since 2012.

    Huang Changyong, director of the Shanghai academy, attributes the fever to the cultural prosperity of China.

    “Art professionals with all-round expertise will be in high demand,” he added.

    With the popularity of hit reality shows such as “The Sound” and “The Making of An Actor,” an increasing number of young people have become aware of the hardship and challenges for showbiz stars.

    Zhang Yujie from Jiangsu Province, who hopes to enter the Shanghai academy’s acting and TV hosting departments, said that she was eager for a chance to improve her skills in communication, creativity and self-expression.

    Parents of the candidates are also supportive of their children’s choice. A woman surnamed Chen said that she talked with her daughter about the challenges and realities of an acting career, but she respected her choice.

    “I told my daughter the career is not quite stable and secure, and I would rather her to be admitted to a comprehensive university,” Chen said. “However, she convinced me of her passion for performing arts. I think I should support her to try because it is her dream.”