Beijing Bites

Published on 23 March 2017

Photo: Beijing People’s Art Theatre

5 things to know about the Beijing People’s Art Theatre



One of China’s leading theatre companies, the Beijing People’s Art Theatre has presented more than 300 productions since it was founded in 1952 with influential Chinese playwright Cao Yu serving as its first president.


The company’s signature work, Teahouse, which played at the Esplanade Theatre in 2015, is an epic drama and a commentary on 50 years of turbulent Chinese history.


Top Restaurant, currently playing at the Esplanade Theatre, is another iconic masterpiece that follows the ups and downs of a Peking duck restaurant set in the Qing Dynasty. To add realism to their roles, performers had to learn how to roast, chop and serve duck at a traditional Beijing restaurant.


To accurately portray period styles and customs, restaurant workers from the era were sought to find out more about the outfits worn in turn-of-the-century Beijing. Details like tunic length for waiters have been preserved in the play.


Chinese works aside (realistic modern drama being their dominant style), the company has also staged Western plays like Death of a Salesman, guest-directed by the American playwright Arthur Miller himself.

Photo: Beijing People’s Art Theatre

Top Restaurant will take place from 23 to 26th March 2017 at 8pm (2.30pm on Sunday) in the Esplanade Theatre. Click here for more details

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