Managing Director of Symbio Wildlife Park: Shen Yun ‘Quite Remarkable’

April 28, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
John Adnigde and his wife, Margaret (R), Kylie and Matt attend Shen Yun
John Radnidge (2nd R) and his wife, Margaret (R), Kylie and Matt attend Shen Yun Performing Arts at Sydney's Capitol Theatre. (Luke Hughes/The Epoch Times)

SYDNEY—Warm applause filled Sydney’s Capitol Theatre as Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company took the stage for a second night on Saturday April 28.

Managing Director of Symbio Wildlife Park, John Radnidge came with his wife Margaret, son Matt, zookeeper at the wildlife park, and Kylie Eliot, head zookeeper. Mr. Radnidge said he was enthralled from start to finish.

Symbio Wildlife Park was established in 1975 as a small wildlife park and has become an award winning zoo and tourist attraction.

“Fantastic! It was really an inspirational piece,” Mr. Radnidge said of the performance. “The history and the culture and the work that’s gone into a production of that type is quite amazing … I think it’s something that everybody would be inspired to see. Quite remarkable.”

Ancient Chinese people held a belief that their culture was divinely-bestowed, but after some 60 years of communist rule, this gift has been desecrated. Thus, Shen Yun, established in New York in 2006 by a group of overseas Chinese artists, strives to revive these ancient traditions through a collection of Chinese legends, folktales and contemporary stories, the company’s website says.

These stories are portrayed in classical Chinese dance, song and music, conveying China’s rich traditional values of relevance today. A full orchestra playing a fusion of Eastern and Western instrumentals, hi-tech digital backdrops, hundreds of handmade and ornamented costumes and stage props, are in support.

For Mr. Radnidge the entire performance was all a highlight. “I was enthralled from the opening scene to the closing, and the natural beauty and the artistic affect. The background screen and how those images came to life on stage and then disappeared was incredible. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was quite remarkable,” he reiterated.

“Just phenomenal with the technology available today … I’ve been to a lot of shows and a lot of plays but I’ve never seen anything so brilliant in design content … and the syncronisation between the animation and the acting was perfect. It was just sheer perfection,” he added.

Mr. Radnidge was impressed by the manner in which the Shen Yun performers represented their country and their traditions “with their hearts and their souls, the work ethic and the time that they must spend to produce a production like that is quite remarkable. It’s just inspiring,” he said.

“I can relate to all of that work and the culture, and what they’re trying to do, their mission, because there are so many synergies. We’re pretty busy doing what we do and it’s a struggle to get here but I’m glad I did because I really am inspired by the whole show—not just pieces of it. It’s just very, very special. More people should come and see this—they should pack this place out,” Mr. Radnidge said.

Matt Radnidge held the same sentiments as his father. “It was interesting to see a different side of another culture that you really don’t open yourself up to in this day and age. It’s often one-sided as to what you usually look into, but it’s good to see the other side.”

He was feeling “very relaxed, very peaceful,” and appreciative of the traditional values conveyed.

Kylie Eliot said the performance was “absolutely stunning.” “I’ve never seen anything like it. It was really good to get that kind of exposure. The costumes and everything was just stunning.”

Reporting by Luke Hughes and Raiatea Tahana-Reese.

Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world, with a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company will perform at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre through May 6.

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