Tianqiao Performing Arts Centre (天桥艺术中心)

  • Venue
Tianqiao Nandajie

The new kid on the venue block is the Tianqiao Centre for Performing Arts (TCPA).

Unlike Chang’an Street, or even Nanluoguxiang, Tianqiao’s arts pedigree dates back centuries. The Qing Dynasty’s Manchu emperors forced the Han Chinese outside the city walls where they built a performance culture of acrobatics, xiangsheng (stand-up) and feats of strength. These theatres, along with the newer dedicated ballet theatre, form Tianqiao’s arts district, and the TCPA is a good fit. Wise enough not to compete with the titans of Chang’an, this venue focuses on Chinese opera and musical theatre. The centre opened its doors back in November 2015, so it’s too early to determine a programming pattern, but their excellent Phantom of the Opera and Gecko Theatre Company’s Missing is a good start.

 

The lobby is like a skating rink of gleaming marble, and sports an elaborate Chinese gate. The musical theatre venue seats 1600, but its curvy design creates a surprising intimacy, modelled – according to theatre management – after Broadway. The Chinese opera venue seats 1,000, while the 300- to 400-seat “theatre lab” is for experimental works. Clearly TCPA knows its niche – the rising musical theatre industry, the government-encouraged Chinese opera revival, and Beijing’s emerging southern districts. Furthermore, the theatre is connected to a commercial zone of cafes, restaurants and shops, opening incrementally throughout the year. This is a distinct plus; upon leaving the NCPA, the FCCH or the BJCH, it’s hard enough to get a taxi let alone a glass of Merlot, but the TCPA clearly understands the connection between arts and ancillary businesses. Also, the TCPA boasts of an app that allows patrons to not only buy tickets (with free express delivery for orders over 200RMB), and a WeChat account to help find parking (input 北京天桥艺术中心). Finally, realising that poor transportation has long been the bane of all Tianqiao shows, Beijing metro’s line eight is set to open under the theatre at the end of the year. This is vital to the neighbourhood’s arts future, and will make TCPA exciting to watch.

 

 

 

Venue name: Tianqiao Performing Arts Centre (天桥艺术中心)
Contact:
Email: info@tartscenter.com
English address: Building 9 Tianqiao Nandajie Xicheng
Chinese address: 西城区天桥南大街9号楼
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