Chinese performance market welcomes international artists
Published: Mar 20, 2023 12:23 AM
Illustration: Liu Xiangya/Global Times

Illustration: Liu Xiangya/Global Times

 China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT) has announced that China will resume accepting applications for international commercial performances in China starting from Monday. This signifies that the three-year suspension of overseas performances is coming to an end and also shows that China is dedicated to embracing international cultural exchanges and providing the population with various cultural products, which will surely inject vitality into the global cultural market.

According to media reports, many famous Western plays are scheduled to appear on Chinese stages such as Romeo and Juliet, Mozart, l'opéra rock, Les Miserables and Riverdance. A number of renowned symphony orchestras also expect to perform in China, including the Vienna Symphony Orchestra of Austria, the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia, and the Dresden State Orchestra of Germany. 

A survey by the China Performances Industry Association shows that nearly 1,000 performances from overseas have been confirmed for the Chinese mainland in 2023 and more are being considered. 

During the past three years, quite a number of Chinese audiences have experienced missing out on their favorite performances due to the epidemic. Their phones may have received such messages as "Sorry, our performance has been cancelled and your ticket fees will be returned soon." 

According to data from the China Performances Association, nearly 9,000 shows were canceled or suspended in the first three months of 2022 due to the impact of the third wave of the pandemic. 

Fortunately, starting from the beginning of 2023, various cultural programs have resumed in China and its cultural market has gradually returned to normal. During the Spring Festival in January, joint online and offline events provided rich performances in the country. 

The MCT resumed accepting applications for performances involving people from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions on February 16.

According to data from the China Performances Industry Association, there are 9,400 commercial shows to be held across the country in 2023, an increase of 40.92 percent and 22.5 percent from 2022 and 2019 respectively, while audience numbers recovered to 80 percent of 2019's figures. 

Live performances are something that cannot be replaced by online shows in terms of both face-to-face communication between performances and audiences and the sense of ceremony audiences feel sitting in the same theater, said an expert. 

In March, live performances have seen an "explosive" boom and many large-scale theaters or sites have been booked up. Concerts by popular pop singers have sold out "within seconds" of their announcement. 

The demand that had been repressed was set for a big return. 

According to the Damai ticketing website, tickets are currently on sale for more than 1,000 concerts in over 10 major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu from March to July. 

It is projected that they will trigger "retaliatory" growth in live performances in China at a faster speed. Livehouse shows, talk shows and plays have also returned. 

According to incomplete statistics by the National Business Daily, it is expected that more than 710 livehouse shows will be put on in 2023 and there will be a severe competition for such concerts from 2023 to 2024.

The full recovery of various art shows has boosted the confidence of the Chinese cultural market, and has laid a solid foundation for the arrival of international cultural troupes who were unable to come to China due to the pandemic. 

Therefore, the new policy will surely encourage international art troupes to kick off a new start and resume performances in China and inject vitality in the international cultural industry. Furthermore, it will help promote mutual learning between different cultures.