Interestingly, after writing my post yesterday, what should pop up in my twitter feed, but an article about the developing theatre culture in China – one that is driven as much by the growing popularity of western commercial theatre as the want to save the more traditional chinese forms.
…….the Chinese are particularly good at in the arts is that they get things done really quickly – they’re building concert halls, theatres and museums at a rate of knots…..
The image above is of National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing – beautiful – and the one below is the architect’s rendering of Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre
Mandarin versions of Mamma Mia! and Cats have staged almost 500 performances combined, playing across 19 cities and grossing millions of pounds at the box office, while negotiations continue for Chinese-language tours of The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables.
It will come as no surprise that I find this lamentable – is that all the West can export in terms of a theatrical tradition? I’m hoping that it is simply a way of getting a foot through the cultural door that will allow much more worthy work to follow.
I was slightly heartened by a quote from Nick Rongjun Yu, deputy general manager at the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre:
For young people, theatre has become part of their mainstream culture. Spoken theatre is gaining bigger audiences……. there is an increasingly diverse range of plays translated from English to Mandarin, including adaptations of Shakespeare….and The Woman in Black.
I’ll leave you to read the article in full here and make your own mind up!