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People's Art Theater marks 60th anniversary with all-star show

07-06-2012 13:13 BJT

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There’s a hot new show at the Beijing People's Art Theater. The play "Jiaziyuan" boasts a star-studded cast that spans five generations. They’ll go into rehearsals soon and open to the public in late September. The show is being presented as something of a tribute to the 60th anniversary of the theater.

All these dramatic heavyweights in one place made for a hotly anticipated press conference. Gathering all the big names here for a single show, the Beijing People’s Art Theater is hoping for a major hit.

Zhang Heping, art producer of "Jiaziyuan", President of Beijing People's Art Theater, said, "The show tells a story of an overseas Chinese returning home to find out her late father had the apartment converted to a nursing home for the aged. Conflicts between the old and the young are depicted in order to reveal the status quo of the lives of old people. It’s original, contemporary and local."

"Jiazi" means 60 years in Chinese, a number that is also linked to the glorious history of Beijing People’s Art Theater. Just take a look at the big names in the cast, it would be hard to assemble a better tribute to the 60th anniversary of the theater.

Lan Tianye, art producer and the hero of "Jiaziyuan" says the play is well-written and living up to the great script was a big challenge.

Lan Tianye, art producer of "Jiaziyuan", actor of Beijing People's Art Theater, said, "I know it’s a challenging role but I have no idea how I answered ’yes’ to the invitation without hesitation Maybe it’s because this theater is like a home to me."

Zhu Lin, now 90 years old, entered the theater in 1953. The writers of the play felt the 60th anniversary show wouldn’t be complete without her.

Zhun Lin, actress of Beijing People's Art Theater, said, "I told them that I wanted to be in a play if there was any role sitting in the wheelchair. And a few months later they came to me with this play. It’s an amazing gift! Because I love this stage so much!"

Also driven eager to get back on the stage was Heidi Wong. As a successful actress, she graduated from Beijing People’s Art Theater and later went to University of California in Los Angeles. Appropriately, she’ll be playing the role of the returning overseas Chinese.

Heidi Wong, actress of Beijing People's Art Theater, said, "It’s been 25 years since I left here. And now I’m coming back home."

For many performers like Wong, the stage of the Beijing People’s Art Theater is their spiritual home and artistic shrine. Having played host to all manner of shows over the last 60 years, the stage has seen all the greats of modern Chinese drama.

Founded on June 12th, 1952, the theater has produced more than 300 plays and hundreds of iconic figures have graced the stage. However, sixty years can’t be summed up in just numbers and names.

Lan Tianye, art producer of "Jiaziyuan", actor of Beijing People's Art Theater, said, "Recently I’ve been thinking about what the Beijing People’s Art Theater has done in the past 60 years. Just one thing: providing truth, kindness and beauty for the people."

Taking inspiration from real life and bringing it to the stage with love and passion. That has been the driving force behind the directors and actors of Beijing People’s Art Theater. They’ve created countless stories and characters, dedicated to their vision of "art by the people and for the people."

Recent years have seen another surge in the box-office: some 14 million yuan in 2008, a figure that almost doubled to 27 million the next year. By 2011, the theater was raking in over 32 million a year.

Pu Cunxin, vice president of Beijing People’s Art Theater, said, "To be frank, performers of our generation feel very proud about our time. We stage a lot more plays than our forerunners ever did. I do almost 100 shows every year, and nearly one thousand people attend every show. Every single show for me is like cutting wheat in the field. Bit by bit, step by step, on the way to a bumper harvest."

"Jiaziyuan" will premiere this September, a dramatic and inspiring tribute to this grand old theatre.

For the sixty years are remarkable, not only for the Beijing People’s Art Theater, but also for the development of Chinese drama.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: CNTV.CN

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