Vol­un­teers in­vited to mon­i­tor shows

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - NATION - By SUN YE sunye@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Vol­un­teers are be­ing in­vited to re­view and re­port on the qual­ity of shows staged in Bei­jing’s small venues as part of the city govern­ment’s ef­forts to stream­line the per­for­mance mar­ket.

Vol­un­teers are ex­pected to re­port if they find per­for­mances con­tain pornog­ra­phy, vi­o­lence or li­bel, or if shows are per­formed in a way that may af­fect ac­tors’ health or use ac­tors’ phys­i­cal de­fects, ac­cord­ing to a guide­line re­leased on Sun­day by the Bei­jing Bureau of Cul­ture.

The guide­line cov­ers venues that hold fewer than 600 peo­ple, said Yang Guobin, chief of the depart­ment of su­per­vi­sion at the Bei­jing Bureau of Cul­ture, who was re­spon­si­ble for draft­ing it.

“Dance per­for­mances, dra­mas and tra­di­tional Chi­nese op­eras could all fall into the cat­e­gory,” Yang said.

“The guide­line tar­gets for- profit per­for­mances,” Yang said, “We’re try­ing to stream­line shows in line with the rules of for-profit per­for­mances as well as to en­cour­age qual­ity shows.”

The bureau will co­op­er­ate with the city’s law en­force­ment team that over­sees cul­ture events and lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties to reg­u­late small-scale per­for­mances.

In re­cent years, the­ater pro­duc­tions in small venues have boomed in the city. An es­ti­mated 400 pro­duc­tions are launched each year in Bei­jing, with some 200,000 peo­ple work­ing in the in­dus­try.

All for-profit per­for­mances are ex­pected to go through an ap­proval process prior to their launch, and the bureau’s su­per­vi­sion depart­ment is ex­pected to mon­i­tor the per­for­mances on site.

Yang said ex­perts will read the re­ports from vol­un­teer in­spec­tors. “We don’t de­pend on them but we’ll try to train them in artis­tic ap­pre­ci­a­tion.”

He said the move was not new as the bureau has al­ways re­ceived au­di­ence feed­back on shows.

Yang said the guide­line is still pre­lim­i­nary and lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties will de­cide how to im­ple­ment it.

Wang Xiang, founder of the Peng­hao the­ater, an 80-seat venue off Nan­lu­ogux­i­ang, said he’s doubt­ful about the guide­line’s fea­si­bil­ity.

“It’s hard for any­one to term the value or ef­fect of an art show. Whether art has a stan­dard at all is it­self a ques­tion that is dif­fi­cult to an­swer,” Wang said.

Cheng Zhi­jian, pro­ject man­ager with the com­edy work­shop Im­prove First, said its pro­duc­tions won’t be af­fected as they al­ready go through an ap­proval process be­fore go­ing pub­lic. How­ever, he dis­liked the idea of an­other screen­ing. “Some­times you have to ex­press some­thing good by es­tab­lish­ing a bad thing in the first place. What would the vol­un­teer in­spec­tors say to that?”

Oth­ers think proper in­spec­tions are nec­es­sary. “There are some crude and crass shows around that should be out of our sight,” said in­de­pen­dent drama critic Bei Xiao­jing.

“Be­sides, real master­pieces are never vul­gar,” Bei said, “What the in­dus­try should work hard on is this: pro­duce qual­ity shows and win over all the au­di­ences, in­spec­tors in­cluded.”

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