The Paper Windmill Theatre ended a five-year run of performances dedicated to children living in 319 remote townships throughout the country, with a performance in New Taipei City (新北市) on Saturday.
The troupe’s final outdoor performance, at Wanli Elementary School, drew an audience of about 6,000 people, some of whom came from as far afield as Penghu and Kinmen.
The play included a story about Don Quixote and had segments with music, dance and a multimedia show aimed at teaching young children to be courageous when pursuing their dreams and to cultivate their love of the arts.
Lee Yung-feng (李永豐), chief executive of the Paper Windmill Cultural Foundation, who initiated the tour five years ago, cried and hugged people when the last performance ended, saying that “it [the project] was simply too hard. I will [finally] be able to sleep soundly tonight.”
The tour, called “First Mile, Kid’s Smile: Arts for Children in 319 Townships,” was aimed at bridging the cultural gap between rural and urban areas, and ensuring that every child in the nation had the opportunity to enjoy a live theatrical performance.
The troupe staged performances in any township that could raise NT$350,000 (US$11,600) from individuals and corporations. It did not accept any funds from the government for the tour.
During the past five years, the troupe raised NT$200 million through donations from more than 26,000 people.