Daytime traffic and passersby at Beiwei Lu, address and home of the Wansheng Theatre. Across the road lies TianQiao Market.
The Wansheng Theatre of Beijing is located just inside the border of Xuanwu District of Beijing. Born from a longstanding tradition of street performances by Chinese Acrobatics Artists and experts in the Tianqiao area of Xuanwu , the humble district of Beijing, the famous theatre has the longest history of Chinese Acrobatics in the City. Established as an indoors Theatre after 1949 AD and the birth of "New China" (Xinhua) the Wansheng Theatre has always been the highest stage for Acrobatics and is currently home to the Beijing Acrobatic Troupe.
The shows performed at Wansheng Theatre by the Beijing Acrobatics Troupe include many national or world award-winning programmes. The performers are the Best of the City and North China.
Time : 7 pm, daily
Place: Wansheng Theatre
Price: 100 yuan (US$13.0)
Tel : 65287750 ext 198
This page was last updated on: June 16, 2017
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Directions, map, how to get there
an eye on the road signs along this main artery, untill they change from the sign QianMen Dajie into Tianqiao Dajie (Dajie'=road). They do so at the intersection from which Tiantan Lu leads
Wansheng Theatre is located on the next side-street leading West, at Beiwei Lu. When coming along the above described route from the North and the direction of TiananMen Square, turn west and right into Beiwei Lu. From here the Theatre should be on your right hand again, but is hidden behind a taller Building and some smaller streetshops. Go into Beiwei Lu and find the Wansheng Theatre some hundered meters up the street among increasingly modern surroundings. The historic post-revolution theatre still stands proudly, together with its neighbor across the road, the Tianqiao Theatre and uprising appartment blocks.
You are now at the heart of the Tianqiao neighborhood of Beijing.
In times far past during the Ming Dynasty (1368 AD - 1644 AD), this was the main performance area for street-artist, most of whom were restricted to working outside the city walls, and who thus kept to the poor southern districts of Xuanwu and Chongwen.
Here, at the border of both districts, along the central road into the City, was where it all happened. Street Acrobatics, lively music, martial arts, opera performances, they all were competing for attention from the passing crowd. Therefor, it was mainly in the Tianqiao Area of Beijing where most of China's current arts reached their new forms and heights, and new techniques were developed and refined.
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How to get There -
Although inside the Xuanwu District, the Wansheng Theatre is sometimes also designated by the neighborhood it is located in - Tianqiao. As a result, since a number of years it has been regularly mistaken for the Tianqiao Theatre, which is the nearby home of the National Ballet of China, a modern looking Theatre just down the street from and west of Wansheng Theatre. With this knowledge in hand and some easy extra instructions, the Wansheng Theatre is very easy to locate and can hardly be missed, even in evening darkness. In short, head down south from central Tiananmen square and follow Qianmen Dajie down from the front gate to the Eastern Entrance to Dashilan Street, which leads west into the Xuanwu District Hutong.
As a result the Tianqiao Area of Beijing, is regarded as the cradle and heart of arts performance in Beijing. It still is today !
You should now be standing at the Wansheng Theatre, home of Beijing Acrobatics since it's construction in 1949 AD. Across the street stands the gleaming modern marble-and-gold Tianqiao Theatre,
since 1951 AD home of the National Ballet of China (NBC) and restored in 2001, hence its gleaming exterior. The Tianqiao Theatre was established on December 31st of the year 1951, after which the National (Central) Ballet Group here was led by none other than the internationally renowned Russian Master Peter Gushev.
The Tianqiao Theatre hosts many performances, among which in Chinese ballet, classical ballet, modern ballet, but also modern dance.
Go ahead and dwell around the newly modernized area. Since the photos in this report have been taken, the neighborhood has attracted further attention and many
Traditional street snacks and other foodstuffs on sale at small stalls on street-corners of the Tianqiao area of Xuanwu District in the old City area's of Beijing (photos November 2002).
Hot poached sweet potato from an old oil drum, or a bicycle repair on the spot ? All is possible on a Xuanwu Street Corner.
The corner of Beiwei Lu and Tianqiao Dajie with new
constructions going on everywhere in Nov 2002.
From here the Wansheng Theatre is located a considerable distance walking southward, but just keep walking until you hit Xushikou Dajie, a main traffic artery and rather obvious intersection.
From here all you need to do is cross safely and continue down south. Keep
away to the East and Yong An Lu to the West. Interestingly, you are now at the height of the norther border of the famous Tiantan - Temple of Heaven Park - a united nations world heritage site.
The gigantic Temple of Heaven Park is
one of the largest in Beijing and is by far the most important historical relic of the adjacent Chongwen District, which starts across the road and lies to the East. It is also a pleasurable and welcome getaway from city noise and summer heat for many. Take the road east to find the North Entrance into Tiantan Park.
To find the Wansheng Theatre keep moving south from the Tiantan Lu intersection and find the Wansheng Theatre one more large block southward. You have now entered the Tian-Qiao (higher overpass or heavenly bridge) Area. Several small hutong lead away from the street here, but ignore them.
Traditional customs and modern appartments and Malls will be the new face of Xuanwu District and other parts of Beijing.
Final Help Map - An overview of East Xuanwu and Most of Chongwen District.
The Ming Dynasty Era confucian relic the roun(ed) altar at Tiantan Temple of Heaven Park, wellknown for it's peculiar echo stone and effect. This white marble altar hides some interesting number details and was among the most sacred altars in ancient China. Find this and other intriguing architectural feats to wonder at and explore for yourself at Tiantan Gongyuan in the Chongwen District.
The Wansheng Theatre dwarfed by it's larger neighbor and adjacent new appartments. The area has been modernized and several new cultural venues have popped up in this now suddenly trendy neighborhood.
Satellite Image Map of Xuanwu-Chongwen District Border. Route to Wansheng Theatre from TiananMen Sq (NW corner) along main boulevard South to West-Flank of Tiantan Park.
Mouse over Image to show Route !
Tiantan Park and Area Geographical Map showing location of Wansheng Chinese Acrobatics Theatre
Closed off TianQiao Market behind metal screens and the modern facade of the Tianqiao Theatre in November 2004.
History of the Wansheng Theatre
The history of the Wansheng Theatre is narrowly entwined with that of the neighboring Hutong, the Tianqiao Area. As a result, the local Acrobatic Show and the Old Theatre are much cared for by local citizens and so far has survived several waves and plans for modernizations in the area. A much changed but still historic part of the ancient Xuanwu District, which is the oldest part of the former Imperial Capital of Beijing, the Tianqiao Area, grown from slums, has been the gathering spot of street performers and artist since the earliest history of the (current) City. Now located in a more modern neighborhood it has received renewed attention as a center of Culture in the Xuanwu District. Hip apartments wanted by the upwardly-mobile young of the new generation lie literally around the corner of the Wansheng Theatre and of course the adjacent National Ballet Theatre always draws a good crowd. Lately, after 2002, some new bars annex cultural venues with their own live performances have opened at Beiwei Lu and Tianqiao market, giving a new lease of live to the area and the Wansheng Theatre.
All in all it is a nice area to stroll in the evenings.
Please note - If you have come all the way to the not-so large Tianqiao Bus Terminal (should be left-hand and south) or the Friendship Hospital (righ-hand), then you have progressed to far up the street and must turn around. That is unless you decide to go for the li Yuan Peking Opera Theatre (housed inside the Jianghuo Hotel), just a small distance away from the Hospital. Don't go into any side-streets and get lost in the Hutong and newly arisen modern housing. Without a map and a good idea where you started off from, you may be lost.
However, any local who speaks English can point you the correct way to the Tianqiao
Theatre or the Wansheng Theatre.
They are thAt famous, yes.
Handpainted wall decorations on the walls at Tianqiao make clear what its all about - traditional chinese folk arts at their very best !
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new bars or venues have sprung up around the two main theatres. The streets are now more modern, but the Hutong touch and atmosphere of Tianqiao and the southern districts have been reasonably preserved. In the early evening the newly affluent locals come out and it is market time and not much later the shows start !!