Metro |  Culture and history

First-ever experimental theatre fest to open in city

By Nie Xin  |   2011-8-31  |     ONLINE EDITION

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CHINA'S first-ever experimental theater festival will have its opening event in Shanghai on September 3.

Sixteen cutting-edge Chinese experimental theaters will stage 33 performances up to September 21 during the China Experimental Theater Festival, officially organized China Ministry of Culture.

The dramas selected from 45 candidates cover adaptions of Western classics, original creations by metropolitan youths, and reflections of modern social realities.

Some of the big names include "Copenhagen" by English playwright Michael Frayn; "12th Night" based on Shakespeare's work; "First Touch" adapted from a famous Taiwanese novel, while original dramas are "Bring Strange Woman Back Home;" "If, I'm Not Who I Am;" "Marry an Honest Man;" and "I Am Sea-gull."

Shanghai Modern Theatre will present the Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Goodnight Mum."

"The experimental theater movement is getting more and more popular in China, especially among young audiences; at the same time it has a big space to make progress," says Liu Wenguo, the art director of Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture, Radio, Film and TV and the art director of Shanghai International Art Festival.

To attract more young people to the theater, ticket prices will be capped at 80 yuan (US$13). Students can enjoy productions at half price.

"We hope stepping into the theater to enjoy experimental theaters can become a lifestyle for people here," says Han Sheng, the director of Shanghai Theater Academy.

China's top drama groups will all be in Shanghai during the festival, including the National Theater of China, Beijing People's Art Theater, Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center, Central Academy of China, and Shanghai Theater Academy. Groups from Wuhan and Liaoning will also present there works at the festival.

The experimental theater started in China in the 1920s. Initially from Shanghai and Beijing, it is now also popular in Wuhan, Guangzhou, Shenyang and Liaoning.

During the Festival some forums will be held on relevant themes like how to develop experimental theater in China, the management, the social value and the creation of plays. Well-known directors, playwrights, and actors will all participate.

The four main venues are the Drama Salon and Studio D6 at Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center, the New Space at Shanghai Theater Academy, and the Drama Theater at Shanghai Grand Theater.

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