Site Search :
·Fifth Ministerial Conference of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Held in Beijing
·Drug Fight Confronted with More Challenges
·Senior CPC Leader Returns to Beijing after Four-country Visit
·Calligraphy, Then and Now
·Lotus Painter Cai Qibao
·The Olympic Ideal
·Riverside Romance in Central Anhui
·Into the Wild – Hiking through Qizang Valley
·Folklore Flying High in Weifang
·China’s Soft Power: Room for Improvement
·Browse, Click, Buy - Domestic Consumers Head Overseas with Online Shopping
·A Private Company’s Road to Internationalization
·Zhang Jiao, Ardent Advocate of Afforestation and Green Farming
·First Single Children Come of Age
·E-Government: Open, Approachable Government Websites
Around Chinamore
·Scientists Uncover Causes of Mass Extinction in the Ashes
·Kaili -- Scenery, Music and Southern Charm
·Ningxia: Putting Money Down on Culture

Little Theater Big Market

By staff reporter ZHAO DAN

IN 2009 Beijing's little theaters staged 3,200 performances, an increase of 1,000 productions over 2008," said Fu Weibo, general manager of the Oriental Avant-Garde Theater. "Schedule of our theater has been booked through the end of 2011," he says excitedly.

Though the year 2009 still felt the pinch of the global economic crisis, the little theater market nevertheless advanced by leaps and bounds.


A scene from stage play How to Fix You to Death My Darling in March, 2010. Photos by China Foto Press

Fancy for the little

Little theaters were born out of the tradition of the Théâtre Libre in France, meaning "free theater" in the late 19th century. These types of productions and companies later became popular across Europe, America and Japan. It is the outcome of anti-commercialism and experimental and explorative spirits in Western theater. In 1982 stage director Lin Zhaohua presented China's first avant-garde theater play Juedui Xinhao (Absolute Signal) in Beijing despite the great difficulties of doing so and the many discouraging voices.

Since then this new stage art has developed steadily and attracted more and more attention. Compared with large stage productions that might easily involve millions of RMB in investment, a little theater production may cost between RMB 200,000 and 300,000. This modesty of input has attracted many investors. Meanwhile, the contents of such plays follow the current developments in people's lives closely and reflect the latest events, personages, and vernaculars that are of great interest to the general public, luring audiences from all walks of life.

"We've come together because we love it," says Yuan Zihang, speaking for both himself and his colleagues at the Xixiaotang Troupe, a private little theatrical company founded in 2005. He joined the troupe upon graduation from university, as the troupe was just forming. Now he is CPO (Chief Public Relations Officer) of Xixiaotang's home theater, Fenglan International. According to him, Xixiaotang now has over 20 full-time employees, none of whom having any formal theater training. Among his colleagues there is a graduate of automation engineering from Tsinghua University, a former host from Shaanxi Cable TV, and a student returned from overseas. Guan Haoyue, the founder of Xixiaotang, majored in intelligence engineering while in university. "If they had remained in their fields of expertise, they would earn much more than they do now; but they love what they are doing now," says Yuan.

1   2   3   next page  

VOL.59 NO.12 December 2010 Advertise on Site Contact Us