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The Dalai Lama graced the opening ceremony of the 20th Shoton Festival at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts based in Dharamsala, North India on March 27, where various participating groups of the event presented a premiere of their opera extract.

The Shoton festival celebrates the Tibetan heritage of Opera (Ache Lhamo) which is considered the most popular form of theater in Tibet.

This year's ceremony features plays from nine Tibetan Opera associations and three debut performers on different stories, with one of the stories focused on the life of Buddha.

Wangdu Tsering, Director of the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts gave a welcome address to over 4000 people gathered to witness the event, spoke on the significance of the day, and concluded with a presentation of the institution's annual report.

The 20th Shoton Festival is scheduled to run for another ten days till April 5.

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