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Shanghai is planning to establish Broadway-like theater area downtown

By ZHANG KUN in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2019-09-27 07:51

A local official introduces the history of the Bund Central Plaza in Shanghai, part of the planned area of theaters, on Wednesday. HE QI/CHINA DAILY

Shanghai is planning to build a Broadway-like theater area in its downtown Huangpu district, tapping into an ongoing campaign known as Show Life.

Huangpu district started the Show Life campaign to promote its theater industry in July 2018. Since then the district has launched diverse initiatives, bringing quality productions to its theaters and expanding to more public spaces.

There are 22 proper theaters in Huangpu district, the majority of which are located around People's Square in the city's center. Another 26 venues have been identified as new spaces for performances.

"We have the highest density of theaters in the area, and we want to make new collaborations with outstanding theater talent from all over the world, provide the best theater experience for audiences and achieve great influence," Cao Xiaomin, deputy head of the publicity department in Huangpu district, said at a news briefing on Wednesday.

In the first seven months of this year, more than 15,500 shows were presented in the area covered by the Show Life campaign. Among them were 20 productions shown in Asia for the first time.

Three festivals have been included in the campaign this year. The Shanghai International Musical Festival from February to May included a showcase of original Chinese productions, forums, a musical singing competition and incubation projects for new original Chinese musicals.

The Shanghai International Theater Invitation Showcase covers 16 productions from June to October at the China Great Theatre on Niuzhuang Road. Under the guidance of Tian Qinxin, an internationally acclaimed theater director, the festival has managed to premiere some quality productions from abroad in Shanghai.

In November, the Show Life campaign will present the Shanghai International Comedy Festival, with more than 130 performances of 27 productions.

"We aim to present colorful events covering almost the whole year," Cao said.

Productions for the comedy festival will be presented in 18 theaters, two-thirds of which are in Huangpu district.

"We are proud to engage more theater spaces all over the city and reach an audience exceeding 100,000," says Xu Yanqing, head of the district's culture and tourism administration.

The administration has launched a new service center at Dashijie, or Great World, Shanghai's oldest indoor amusement park, Xu said. Theater schedules are being publicized at the center. In addition, free pamphlets with theater information are being distributed at the center as well as airports, metro and train stations and hotel lobbies.

The Show Life campaign has provided a 100 yuan ($14) subsidy for each ticket sold to lure more spectators, especially those unfamiliar with the theater, says Qiao Liang, head of Huangpu district's information office. Bargain tickets are available at the new service center in Dashijie.

The purpose of the campaign is to call on people to "enjoy shows and enjoy life". The burgeoning of the theater industry has also brought prosperity to other sectors in the area, Qiao said. "For example, since last year when the 90-year-old Great China Theater was refurbished and reopened, nearby restaurants and hotels have seen a growing number of young and posh clients."

 

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