Over 500 performances will be shown in Shanghai in July and August as COVID-19 subsides

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/30 18:08:40

Dancers rehearse Swan Lake at Shanghai Grand Theatre on June 17. Photo: Yang Hui/GT

Cultural and leisure activities have finally returned to Shanghai as COVID-19's impact appears to be mitigated in the city and pandemic control measures have become a new normal for most residents. In July and August, over 500 performances, including dramas, dance performances, operas and musicals will be shown in the some of the city's theaters, satisfying the craving for many theater lovers who have been waiting for far too long, Yu Xiufen, director of Shanghai's Culture and Tourism Bureau said on Tuesday.

In Shanghai, more than 120 theaters have opened and are accepting customers, Yu said. Nearly 20 of them, including the Shanghai Grand Theatre and 111-year-old People's Stage have resumed performances; however, the total number of audience is limited to 30 percent of the venues' capacity as China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism aims to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

Shanghai Grand Theatre plans to stage 11 live performances including Chinese folk music, traditional Chinese opera and Western opera, the theater told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The theater had staged the classic ballet Swan Lake on June 18 to mark its first performance after a five-month break due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The classic show which was first performed in 1998 won applause from its audience who were desperate to watch a live performance after so long.

"The performance was so amazing. The crew has given 300 percent into the show even with only 30 percent of the audience in the hall. I hope that more people will be able to walk into the theater next time," a netizen named Lavenderinsha said.

"Tears came to my eyes when I saw the first scene, probably because I haven't seen it for a long time. The endless applause after the performance shows how good it was," another attendee wrote on Sina Weibo, noting that it was the first live performance they had seen since January.

In fact, the return of theaters is one of the first steps for citizens to move toward a normal life after the pandemic, Zhang Wenhong, the outspoken Chinese COVID-19 treatment expert, said at the rehearsal of Swan Lake on June 17, Jiefang Daily reported.

However, it is still unknown as to when the limitation on audience numbers will be relaxed or lifted, because of the resurgence of COVID-19 in the country, Zhang said.

Currently, over 90 percent of companies in Shanghai's culture and tourism industry such as libraries, museums, hotels and entertainment venues have resumed services. The city is mulling an action plan to develop and move its culture and tourism industry online, with high-quality products, brands, and companies considering the change in demand among the public due to the pandemic, Yu noted.

"We hope we can build a smart version of Shanghai, the cultural metropolis and world-famous tourist city," she said.

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