An increasing number of young people have been drawn to the theater for stage performances in recent years, according to statistics from the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture and the Beijing Trade Association for Performances.
Box office revenue for the city's market of performing art and entertainment exceeded 1.71 billion yuan ($273 million) in 2017, with 10,758 million tickets sold, a historical high on both counts.
Modern dramas, children's dramas and concerts were the three most popular forms of performances, selling over 1 million tickets each. Most of the audiences were white-collar workers.
The return of young viewers to the theater also shows the charm of dramas. As an ancient art form, drama embodies the best part of the performing arts and therefore has lasting glamor. Its allure lies in the close interaction between audiences and performers. The appeal also rises from the uncertainty of the performance given that there may be moments when a performer forgets his or her lines.
The prevalence of low-quality TV and Web dramas has also inadvertently helped to drive audiences back to theaters. Many TV dramas rely on stars to attract viewers rather than content. In contrast, stage dramas have a higher requirement for performers' acting skills because they cannot be reshot like TV dramas.
The thriving of stage dramas once again indicates that only by improving content and acting skills can performing arts win audiences back.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article published in Guangming Daily on March 30)