Change City Image from Drama: Shanghai Jing’an and the Culture and Communities Committee at Edinburgh City Council Sign Cooperation Memorandum

Publish Time:2018-06-04

【Introduction】:Apart from generating 130 million pounds, and bringing 280 million pounds of economic profits to Scotland, more crucially, if, without the art festival, it’s hard for us to imagine what today’s Edinburgh would look like.

On May 22, Donald Wilson, Convener of the Culture and Communities Committee at Edinburgh City Council, attended the “2018 Shanghai - Jing’an Modern Drama Valley” international forum “Drama and City: The Future Path of Asia’s Performing Arts”, and expressed his idea about the relation between city and art. He said that apart from generating 130 million pounds, and bringing 280 million pounds of economic profits to Scotland, more crucially, if, without the art festival, it’s hard for us to imagine what today’s Edinburgh would look like.

"All the cities which are honored as ‘World Drama Capital’ are those that have their own distinctive cultural spirits. To change the imagination of a city by drama is considered as a new model of cultural practice." Yang yang, Vice President of Shanghai Theatre Academy, said. Today's Shanghai drama industry is facing a new transform and opportunity in the cultivation and production mechanism.

2018 Shanghai•Jing’an Modern Drama Valley “Drama Avenue”

There is an intensified connection between dramas and cities. Shanghai is speeding up its pace to build itself as an international cultural metropolis, at the same time, its overall performing arts industry is in good shape. According to the relative data, within 5 years, the quantity of performing unit in Shanghai has grown from 780 units (in 2012) to 1398 units (in 2017).

The number of theaters and related facilities is increasing, product categories are more varied, original product sector is booming, consumption in the entertaining sector is thriving, performing industry is rapidly developing, and all of these give a solid foundation for Shanghai to create a much higher development goal. Experts pointed out that Shanghai needs to work harder in creating a cultural harbor, and maintaining its position as a “source” of culture.

It is necessary to take theatre construction as a core for developing Shanghai into an Asia’s performing capital. Therefore, the under-construction projects, including 8 performing arts districts and new theaters, are to be expected.

Yesterday, Jing'an District People's Government, Shanghai Municipality signed an MOU with the Culture and Communities Committee at Edinburgh City Council. In the future, Shanghai and Edinburgh will take Shanghai Jing’an Modern Drama Valley and Edinburgh Festival Fringe as a communication platform to develop the art and culture together in the fields of culture, innovation, festivals, etc. The organizers, theater managers from Edinburgh, and more than a dozen experts and scholars from China and abroad gathered here to share their ideas and advice for Shanghai to create the "performing arts of Asia".

The representatives from Edinburgh suggested that the art festival that fills the street with dramas should not only be a marketing behavior. Instead, it should be a measure to show the inclusiveness of a city and will bring endless vitality.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is considered to be one of the most dynamic and innovative art festivals in the world. Every August, the artists and tourists from all over the world meet with each other to experience the fascination of drama in the ancient but young city.

According to Convener Donald Wilson, the cultural development of Edinburgh has experienced two peaks. One is at the beginning of the Enlightenment in the 18th century, where Edinburgh brought together great thinkers, philosophers, and scientists from all over Europe. The creative thinking has grown explosively, and has laid the foundation of Edinburgh's culture and has continuous influence until now. The other is the Edinburgh International Art Festival, which has been held for more than 70 years since 1947. At the beginning of its establishment, the shadow of World War II enveloped the continent. At that time, art and culture became the “international language” that could promote world. The drama eased the pain of war and narrowed the distances between regions.

Today, the Edinburgh International Art Festival has developed into a complex festival including Fringe, Filmfest, army ceremony, International Book Exhibition, Blues and Jazz Festival, etc. “If there was no Edinburgh International Art Festival, we can hardly imagine what today’s Edinburgh would become”, said several drama actors from Edinburgh. However, the large scale of the festival organization and operation is a big challenge of managers and operators of the festival.

“Every August, curators, artists and critic around the world gathered in Edinburgh for the event, which makes the festival a great opportunity for artists to promote their works and introduce themselves to the world. Although the event cannot solve all problems, we hope that it can expand our vision, and artists, curators, tourists will love to visit and stay in Edinburgh not only in August, but in the rest of the 11 months.” Edinburgh Festival Fringe drama producer and director says that in recent years the cost of participating in the exhibition for the artists has increased dramatically, and this has affected the artists to exhibit their abilities. To help the global artists obtain better financing and subsidies, a financing institute named Creative Scotland was born in Edinburgh. Apart from artists, this foundation also provides large sums of subsidies for the Edinburgh International Festival to jointly create some works to present to the audience.

Associate Professor Guo Chenzi of Shanghai Theatre Academy thinks that Shanghai has already appeared to be strongly influenced by the “wharf” of culture recently. The old and new theaters opened one after another, such as the “2018 Shanghai Jing’an - Modern Drama Valley”, 1862 Theater, Grand Theater of China, etc., and large-scale first-class drama masters and their works have also appeared. Shanghai has been built into the performing capital in Asia. This does not only make the local market of Shanghai become prosperous, but it can also help cities along the “Yangtze River Delta” reach co-development.

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