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A Broadway in Beijing?
2009-05-13 10:42 CRIENGLISH.com


Taiwan drama "K24" is a highlight of Beijing's three-month theater festival. [Photo: chinadaily.com.cn]

Beijing may soon have a national theater hub, along the lines of New York's Broadway or London's West End.

In the first moves toward this, the Theater Season of Urban Youth across the Straits, will present seven theater works by artists from both the Chinese mainland and Taiwan from May 24 through August 23. They will be staged in different venues, including Oriental Pioneer Theater, Fengchao Theater and Star Live.

The shows will include National Theater Company director Meng Jinghui's first musical "Murder Case of the Hanging Garden", independent director Huang Ying's drama "To Be Continued" and Taiwan folk rock band Hohak's music theater show "Rice and Love".

"We hope this three-month long event will facilitate an exchange of theater works across the Straits," says Yang Qianwu, vice-chairman of the Beijing Dramatists' Association.

One of the highlights of the event is Meng's "Murder Case of the Hanging Garden". Although music has played an important role in many of his works, Meng - a name popular with Chinese theater-goers - says this is the first time he will be telling a story through music.

"I'm still not sure about the final form of my musical, but it will be something different from Broadway," says Meng. "It would be stupid for a Chinese director to follow the Broadway model."

The Theater Season of Urban Youth across the Straits is part of a year-long theater project called Live 4 Seasons that also includes Young Persons' Theater Summer Camp, Beijing Youth Theater Festival, and Beijing International Contemporary Theater Season. A detailed program schedule can be found at


Taiwan drama "K24" is a highlight of Beijing's three-month theater festival. [Photo: chinadaily.com.cn]

Beijing may soon have a national theater hub, along the lines of New York's Broadway or London's West End.

In the first moves toward this, the Theater Season of Urban Youth across the Straits, will present seven theater works by artists from both the Chinese mainland and Taiwan from May 24 through August 23. They will be staged in different venues, including Oriental Pioneer Theater, Fengchao Theater and Star Live.

The shows will include National Theater Company director Meng Jinghui's first musical "Murder Case of the Hanging Garden", independent director Huang Ying's drama "To Be Continued" and Taiwan folk rock band Hohak's music theater show "Rice and Love".

"We hope this three-month long event will facilitate an exchange of theater works across the Straits," says Yang Qianwu, vice-chairman of the Beijing Dramatists' Association.

One of the highlights of the event is Meng's "Murder Case of the Hanging Garden". Although music has played an important role in many of his works, Meng - a name popular with Chinese theater-goers - says this is the first time he will be telling a story through music.

"I'm still not sure about the final form of my musical, but it will be something different from Broadway," says Meng. "It would be stupid for a Chinese director to follow the Broadway model."

The Theater Season of Urban Youth across the Straits is part of a year-long theater project called Live 4 Seasons that also includes Young Persons' Theater Summer Camp, Beijing Youth Theater Festival, and Beijing International Contemporary Theater Season. A detailed program schedule can be found at www.live4seasons.cn.

The project is a joint initiative of the Beijing Federation of Literary and Art Circles and National Theater Company of China, and is supported by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture and the People's Government of Dongcheng District, Beijing.

Although Dongcheng district has always been a magnet for theater lovers, the latest efforts mark the first time a clear plan for the development of theater in the district as a whole, has emerged.

The area from Wangfujing to Kuanjie in Dongcheng district hosts some of the most important theater troupes and organizations in China, including the National Theater Company of China, Beijing People's Art Theater, and Central Academy of Drama. This area is also home to 17 professional theaters and more than 10 other performance venues.

In 2008, 2,400 theater performances were held in Dongcheng district attracting an audience of 1.54 million, or 70 percent of the whole theater market of Beijing, according to the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture.

According to Mao Guifen, deputy governor of Dongcheng, the district plans to establish five more theater groups and also set aside more funds for new theaters.

The project is a joint initiative of the Beijing Federation of Literary and Art Circles and National Theater Company of China, and is supported by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture and the People's Government of Dongcheng District, Beijing.

Although Dongcheng district has always been a magnet for theater lovers, the latest efforts mark the first time a clear plan for the development of theater in the district as a whole, has emerged.

The area from Wangfujing to Kuanjie in Dongcheng district hosts some of the most important theater troupes and organizations in China, including the National Theater Company of China, Beijing People's Art Theater, and Central Academy of Drama. This area is also home to 17 professional theaters and more than 10 other performance venues.

In 2008, 2,400 theater performances were held in Dongcheng district attracting an audience of 1.54 million, or 70 percent of the whole theater market of Beijing, according to the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture.

According to Mao Guifen, deputy governor of Dongcheng, the district plans to establish five more theater groups and also set aside more funds for new theaters.

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