See art exhibitions amid historic downtown villas

Edited by Yang Jian.

More than 70 performances by hundreds of young artists are held for free in public spaces near Sinan Mansions during a three-day art festival over the weekend.

The 2021 Sinan City Art Festival, which is themed “HUG”, features outdoor performances, immersive dramas and exhibitions on the streets and inside historic villas through Sunday.

The performances will feature around 100 artists, including some from the Kunqu Opera Troupe and the city’s Dramatic Arts Center. Close interaction with the audience will be a highlight.

Walking the streets among the historic villas, visitors will easily come across ephemeral performances, including traditional operas, dances, music, films, exhibitions, and new media performances.

A small theater for immersive drama was recently opened in the festival mansions. Young artists from the Kunqu Opera Troupe of Shanghai will present a play combining traditional Chinese opera and modern dances. The audience can interact closely with the artists and even participate in the performances.

Ti Gong

Artists perform at Sinan Mansions during the weekend.

As a highlight, the play “White Rabbit, Red Rabbit” will be staged. The long-awaited play is not rehearsed, has no director, features a different actor every night and a script in a sealed envelope on stage. The theatrical experience is by Iranian writer Nassim Soleimanpour.

This year’s festival aims to create an art carnival to bring people back amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a platform for young local artists to showcase their talent, according to the mansions.

The shows take place in more than a dozen sites among the historic villas and the park. There is no fixed schedule for the start of performances.

The Manors of Huangpu District include more than 50 historic garden villas in various styles. Many were former residences of celebrities such as poet Liu Yazi and Peking Opera master Mei Lanfang. Some villas have been transformed into cafes, restaurants and shops.

The annual event started in 2017 and attracts over 10,000 visitors and millions of views online every year.

See art exhibitions amid historic downtown villas

Ti Gong

Artists interact with visitors to Sinan mansions.

See art exhibitions amid historic downtown villas

Ti Gong

An artist invites a visitor to perform with her.

See art exhibitions amid historic downtown villas

Ti Gong

Foreign artists perform for visitors in mansions.

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