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Tuesday                                                                 Jing鈥檃n is a potted history of Shanghai. Century-old villas, well-pre-
29 May                                                                  served traditional shikumen neighborhoods with high walls and stone gates,
                                                                        and renovated factories all have a story to tell.
                                                                        Glitzy retail malls, charming boutiques and annual music and arts events give
 C                                                                      the district a distinctive ambience and ever-growing opportunities.

                                                                        In this series, we explore some of the landmarks that have come to charac-
                                                                        terize the district鈥檚 culture and history.

JING鈥橝N                     The Majestic Theater, one of the oldest theaters in Shanghai and the first in the city to screen Western films, reopened to the public in
                            2016 after a massive renovation. 鈥?Jiang Xiaowei

                            Drama festival reigns majestic in
                               a renovated art-deco theater

Scan on WeChat to have      Li Qian                                        The Majestic Theater, built in 1941   鈥淥rdinary World,鈥?adapted from the award-winning novel
real-time update of what鈥檚                                              in the art deco style, is one of the     of the same name, opened this year鈥檚 Modern Drama
happening in the district.  Modern Drama Valley, the                    oldest theaters in Shanghai and was      Valley in Jing鈥檃n.
(Chinese only)                             annual theatrical festival   the first in the city to screen Western
                                           held in Jing鈥檃n, kicked off  films. It underwent massive renova-                                                 Majestic Theater
                                           at the historic Majestic     tion beginning in 2010 and reopened                                                 Address: 66 Jiangn-
                            Theater on May 5.                           to the public in April 2016.                                                        ing Rd
                                                                                                                                                            Renown: one of the
                               Opening this year鈥檚 festival was            Designer Zhang Ming managed to                                                   oldest theaters in
                            鈥淥rdinary World,鈥?adapted from the          find old drawings from the Shang-                                                   Shanghai and the first
                            award-winning novel of the same             hai Urban Construction Archives                                                     in the city to screen
                            name that portrays the lives and            when she was assigned to restore                                                    Western films.
                            struggles of people in rural Shaanxi        the original look of the theater.                                                   Current function:
                            Province in the 1970s and 1980s.                                                                                                cinema and theater
                                                                           The floors were repaved with
                               Huge millstones, dirt mountain           terrazzo made by traditional crafts-
                            passes and cave houses carved into          men. The copper door handles were
                            cliffs 鈥?common sights in rural             repaired, and handrails on the sec-
                            Shaanxi 鈥?form the stage back-              ond floor were redone in paint made
                            drop. The performers speak in some          in France. The theater marquees, in
                            Shaanxi dialects, adding local flavor       red, were inlaid in glass.
                            and rustic charm to the drama.
                                                                           鈥淗istorical buildings are the city鈥檚
                               The choice of the opening work           memories,鈥?Zhang said. 鈥淲e have
                            may appear strange to some people,          to restore the original look and at
                            representing as it does a world far         the same time highlight distinctive
                            removed from the buzzing modern             features.鈥?                            metropolis of Shanghai. How did
                            that happen?                                   The old blends with the new. The
                                                                        theater is equipped with the latest
                               Li Xuan, director of the Shaanxi         technologies, including a digital
                            People鈥檚 Art Theater that produced          monitoring system. Seating was
                            the drama, said it reflects Shanghai鈥檚      scaled back from 1,328 to 1,261 to
                            spirit of openness, inclusiveness           make room for a new ventilation
                            and great theatrical ambience.              system.

                               鈥淚 was worried whether we could             The theater was one of the back-
                            resonate with Shanghai audiences,鈥?         drops used by acclaimed Taiwan
                            she said. 鈥淏ut then someone told me         director Ang Lee in his 2007 film
                            that our culture shares so many of          鈥淟ust, Caution,鈥?which was adapted
                            the same roots as Shanghai, and             from the 1979 novel of the same name
                            that really touched me.鈥?                   by Chinese author Eileen Chang.
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