Simply put, Penghao is what a theatre
should be. Founded by Wang Xiang, a dentist who loves the arts, this cosy venue
comes complete with café, bar, and rooftop for warm nights. Being nestled in
the Nanluoguxiang area makes it a perfect stop between pre-show dinner/shopping,
and post-show cocktails – at Penghao, you don’t dress up, you don’t pay
ludicrous prices, you simply make theatre the best part of your daily life –
everything that is crucial to arts’ survival.
But Penghao is more than a labour of love.
Programming is outstanding, and usually has attendant workshops. Given the
diminutive size, the theatre features surprisingly stellar guests (mime master
Phillipe Bizot is a regular), and national premiers (the first Athol Fugard
drama series – in English). Their Nanluoguxiang international summer festival
has gone from strength to strength (this includes adding English subitles). But
Penghao also wants to help the home team; last year’s featured Chinese show had
undergone intensive workshopping before selection. True, it missed the mark,
but this theatre is building for the future. And while their budget does not
allow for aggressive marketing, hopefully patrons can get the word out. Penghao
offers excellent small-scale theatre and dance, good food and beverages, and
affordable prices – all in your own backyard. Average ticket price: 79 RMB.