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tipa 18Dharamshala: The Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) on Wednesday marked 51 years of excellence in preserving and promoting traditional Tibetan theatre and opera in exile. Tipa's anniversary coincides with the annual Tibetan summer festival of Yarkyi.

His Eminence the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee graced the ceremony and other guests included officials from the Tibetan Government-in-exile and representatives of Tibetan NGOs and monastic institutions. Only selected members of media were invited as the celebration was a closed-door event.

TIPA's director, Shosur Sonam Choephel, outlined the history of Tibetan arts and opera, and promoted two new TIPA publications - Opera History and The History of TIPA. Mr Choephel thanked the scholars and writers who worked on the books, including Geshe Beri Jigme Wangyal.

In a brief address, Gyalwa Karmapa said, "Among many cultural and religious learning centres established by His Holiness the Dalai Lama after coming to exile, the TIPA has become the most important centre of the preservation of Tibetan art and opera culture.

tipa 27"The primary responsibility of TIPA is to preserve and promote the vast repertoire of theatrical arts that has been passed from generation to generation in Tibet. Therefore, we must express gratitude to the institute's past and present members who have ceaselessly contributed towards fulfilling His Holiness's wishes and the good of Tibet's secular and religious heritage. I call on the members to continuously make concerted efforts".

The Yarkyi festival's final day incLuded dramatic presentations of the life of Gautham Buddha and music from Tibetan Mahayogini Jetsun Milarepa, who performed in a competition of traditional song and dance.

TIPA was established? by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in August 1959 to preserve Tibetan artistic culture in the face of Chinese occupation
. The institute has 112 members, including artistes, instructors, administrative staff and craftspeople.