Shanghai Arts & Culture

Shanghai has a thriving arts and culture scene.It has the biggest selection of theatre, film and art such us acrobatics, musicals, opera, dance, theatre, classical and contemporary music. New state-of-the-art theatres and auditoriums have attracted in recent years the likes of Yo-Yo Ma, Luciano Pavarotti, Diana Krall, the Kirov Ballet, and touring companies of Les Miserables and Cats, among others. The shows are sophisticated enough to compete with most western cities.

  • Chinese Acrobatics
  • Chinese Opera
  • Other Stage Performances
  • Cinemas
  • Museums

    Chinese Opera

    Learn Chinese Language in ChinaShanghai has its own troupe that performs Beijing opera. The stylized singing, costumes, acrobatics, music, and choreography of Chinese opera Songs accompanied with a five-note scale differs that from the eight-note scale in the West). The plot of the opera is usually a historical drama with a tragic outcome. The performers' faces are painted with colors symbolizing qualities such as valor or villainy, and masks and costumes announce the performer's role in society, from emperor to peasant. Most Beijing opera last for 2 hours or less. All of these combined with martial arts choreography, acrobatics, and brilliant costumes, these performances can bring delight even to the unaccustomed audience. Regional operas, including the Kunju form, are also performed in Shanghai. Kunju, born near Shanghai in the old city of Kunshan, is the oldest form of opera in China, and Shanghai has China's leading troupe. This opera tradition uses traditional stories and characters, as does Beijing opera, but it is known for being more melodic. Regular venues for opera include the following.

    Yifu Theatre (Yifu Wutai)

    This is the premier venue for Shanghai's opera companies. The Shanghai Peking Opera House Troupe, featuring some of China's greatest opera stars, performs here regularly, as do the Shanghai Kunju Opera Troupe and other visiting companies. Performances most nights at 7:15 pm; occasional matinees on weekends at 1:30pm.

    Address: 701 Fuzhou Lu, Huangpu, Shanghai
    Tel: (8621) 6351-4668, (8621) 6322 5294

    Majestic Theater (Meiqi Daxiyuan)

    One of Shanghai's oldest and most ornate theatres.
    Address: 66 Jiangning Lu, Shanghai
    Tel: (8621) 6217-4409

    Chinese Acrobats

    Study Abroad in ChinaOn the theatre and the stage, there are regular Acrobatics Shows, a must for travelers to come and enjoy the show. These colorful acrobatic displays never fail to amuse the audience. It features all the impressive acts of Chinese circus usually packed into one 90 minute show. Below is a directory of Shanghai's famous acrobatics center.

    Shanghai Circus World ( Shanghai Maxicheng)

    The new home of the Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe, this glittering arena in the northern suburbs houses a 1,672-seat circus theater with computer-controlled lighting, state-of-the-art acoustics and a motorized revolving stage.

    Address: 2266 Gonghe Xin Lu, Zhabei District, Shanghai
    Tel: (8621) 5665-6622 ext. 2027

    Shanghai Centre Theatre ( Shanghai Shangcheng Juyuan)

    This luxurious, modern, 1,000-seat auditorium at Shanghai Centre is equipped for a variety of performances but specializes in performances by the Shanghai Acrobatic Theater, which almost nightly gives a 90-minute variety show featuring about 30 standard and inventive acts, from plate-spinning and tightrope walking to clowns and magic. Shows are held most nights at 7:30pm with some seasonal variation.

    Address: 4th Floor, 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu, Jing An, Shanghai
    Tel: (8621) 6279-8663, (8621) 6279 7132

    The Great World Entertainment Center

    It's the largest comprehensive cultural and recreational center in China, the center offers operas, movies, concerts, acrobatics, magic shows and different games. The centre also has an exhibition hall, a reading room, a game room and a theatre.

    Address: 1 Xizang, Shanghai
    Tel: (8621) 6326-3760

    Other Arts, Drama, Music and Dance Performances

    Shanghai is the site of major national and international music, drama, and dance performances nearly every day of the year. The most frequent venues are

    Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre
    It shows various interesting dramas and plays.
    Address: 288 Anfu Lu, Xuhui, Shanghai
    Tel. (8621) 6433-5133

    Shanghai Concert Hall
    It primarily hosts classical music performances by local groups.
    Address: No. 523 East Yan'an Road, Shanghai
    Tel: (8621) 6386-9153

    Shanghai Grand Theatre
    It shows everything from Irish dancing to Russian ballet.
    Address: No. 300 Renmin Road, Shanghai
    Tel: (8621) 6386-8686.


    China Business ProgramToday, Shanghai is no longer the center of Chinese filmmaking; as compared to the 1930's and 1940's film industry, although the Shanghai Film Studio continues to film some movie and television projects and the occasional joint-venture film with foreign filmmakers. At the same time, China limits the release of new Hollywood films to just 20 a year. In the past, most of these movies were dubbed in Chinese, but recently, some have been shown in Shanghai in their original language with Chinese subtitles.

    In the last two decades, Chinese directors have made some of the best films in the world, but some of these still can't be officially shown in China. . Originated in 1993, the Shanghai International Film Festival every June attracts over 250,000 viewers to the screenings.

    Majestic Theatre
    As Shanghai's oldest theater, it shows a variety of programs including ballet, tango, and opera.
    Address: No. 66 Jiangning Road, Shanghai
    Tel: (8621) 6217-4409

    Shanghai Film City
    It's the biggest cinema in Shanghai.

    Address: No. 160 Xinhua Road, Shanghai
    Tel: (8621) 6280-6088

    Paradise Cinema
    Address: No. 308 Anfu Road, Shanghai
    Tel: (8621) 6431-2961

    Shanghai Museum of Arts & Crafts

    Learn Chinese at Top Chinese UniversitiesThe Shanghai Museum of Arts and Crafts in Chinese is called Shanghai Gongyi Meishu Bowuguan. The Museum is located at the People's Square in downtown area of Shanghai. This magnificent three-story late French Renaissance mansion was built in 1905 for the French Concession's Chamber of Industry director. It became the residence of Chen Yi, Shanghai's first mayor after 1949.

    For aficionados of Cultural Revolution (1966-76) history, it also served for a time as the residence of Lin Liguo (Lin Biao's son's mother-in-law), who tore down the glasshouse that used to be in the eastern section of the residence.After 1960, this became the Shanghai Arts and Crafts Research Center and its many rooms were converted into studios where visitors could watch artisans work at traditional handicrafts.

    Opened in 1996 for the public, this is the first museum in China that meets international exhibition standard. It has a collection of 123,000 cultural artifacts in 21 categories, mainly the exhibitions of painting, bronze, sculpture, ceramics, calligraphy, jade, Ming & Qing Dynasty furniture, coins, seals, and ethnic artwork.

    The bronze collection is said to be the best in world. Presentation and labeling are available in Chinese and English and lighting are first-class. The displays give an excellent introduction into the development of all facets of Chinese art and culture, from ceramics to sculpture and seals.Consider the English-language audio guide (RMB35) for a more in-depth presentation.

    Address: 79 Fenyang Lu, at intersection with Taiyuan Lu, Xuhui, Shanghai
    Tel: (8621) 6437-3454

    NOTE: Although this information is correct at the time of our web publication, it is still advised that you call the phone number and confirm the address before going to the venue because some venues may have changed their telephone numbers or address locations.