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Vietnam Open Festival marks 40th anniversary of UK-Vietnam relations

On the weekend of 22 – 23 June 2013, London’s South Bank will be transformed into a vibrant celebration of Vietnamese culture, cuisine and crafts for a free festival marking 40 years of diplomatic relations and friendship between the UK and Vietnam. The Vietnam Open Festival - organised by the Vietnamese Culture & Arts Society (VCAS) and sponsored by national carrier Vietnam Airlines.

The festival will feature pop-up food stalls from some of the capital’s finest Vietnamese restaurants; musical and dance performances; traditional Vietnamese arts and crafts - including the first ever UK exhibition of ancient ceramics from Bat Trang and Chu Dau; and only the third-ever UK performance of the famous traditional Vietnamese water puppetry, against the spectacular backdrop of the Thames, courtesy of Hanoi’s renowned Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre. Visitors will also have the opportunity to win one of three fabulous prize holidays for two to Vietnam.

Dating as far back as the 11th century, when villagers in North Vietnam’s Red River Delta used flooded rice paddies as a ‘stage’ for impromptu puppet plays, Vietnamese water puppetry is a unique and spectacular variation on the ancient Asian tradition. Unique to North Vietnam, water puppetry only began to receive international attention in the 1990s as a result of improving relations with the West - making this debut London performance by Hanoi’s famous Thang Long theatre company a particularly fitting way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Anglo-Vietnamese relations.

As Vietnam’s national flag carrier, Vietnam Airlines is proud to sponsor the festival’s Travel and Tourism Zone, where a selection of travel companies will be on hand to share their expertise and advice on travelling in Vietnam. Visitors can find out everything they need to know to plan their next holiday, and even have the chance to win a holiday of a lifetime in Vietnam, courtesy of Vietnam Airlines, Kuoni, Emerald Travel and Experience Travel.

Foodies can sample some of the best Vietnamese food available in London, with approximately 30 food stalls from renowned eateries such as Banh My 11, Mien Tay and Song Que. Visitors to the festival will also be kept entertained by captivating live music and dance performances, as well as displays showcasing historic and contemporary Vietnamese arts and crafts, ensuring the South Bank is transformed into a microcosm of Vietnam for the day.

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