Sichuan opera is a vibrant art form that showcases the joys and challenges of daily life in rural China with tales of love, tradition, and family honour. It is the youngest form of Chinese opera, originating in China's Sichuan province at the end of the Ming Dynasty and the beginning of the Qing Dynasty (around 1700). The tradition suffered a setback during the Cultural Revolution, the period of persecution set into motion in May 1966 by Communist Party Chairman Mao tse-Tung to reassert his ideological authority. The operas were banned and most of the troupes were disbanded, but they were revived in the late 1970s.

Award-winning photographer Kevin Frayer travelled to Cangshan in Sichuan province to watch the Jinyuan Opera Company perform. He told IBTimes UK: "As a photographer it was a lovely experience. The performers were warm and inviting and I greatly admire their dedication to keeping this tradition alive."

As the traditional audience grows older, Sichuan opera is struggling to endure as younger generations are leaving the countryside for China's cities to seek employment. Frayer told IBTimes UK: "Watching the old villagers enjoying the once-a-year event was a privilege. You could feel that it was transporting them to a different time. For the few young people in the room you could sense that they were sharing in something important."

Frayer said: "I felt as though I was watching through a a door slowly closing – but optimistic that the tradition will always find a place."