Beijing

The performing arts in China took a long time to recover from the Cultural Revolution (1966–76), and political works are still generally banned or avoided. In recent years, names such as Kevin Spacey and the Royal Shakespeare Company have alighted on Beijing, reinforcing the capital’s reputation as an arts destination. For culture vultures, there are avant-garde plays, chamber music, traditional Peking opera, acrobatics shows, and lots more.

As most of the stage is inaccessible to non-Chinese speakers, visitors to Beijing are more likely to hunt out the big visual spectacles, such as Beijing opera or kung fu displays. These long-running shows are tailored for travelers: your hotel will be able to recommend performances and venues and will likely be able to help you book tickets.

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  • 1. National Centre for the Performing Arts

    Xicheng District | Opera

    Architecturally, the giant silver dome of this performing arts complex is stunning, and its interior holds a state-of-the-art opera house, a...Read More

  • 2. The Red Theatre

    Dongcheng District | Theater

    If it's Vegas-style stage antics you're after, the Legend of Kung Fu show is what you want. Extravagant martial arts—performed by dancers...Read More

  • 3. Beijing Exhibition Theater

    Xicheng District | Theater

    Chinese plays, Western (and Chinese) operas, and ballet performances are staged in this Soviet-style building that's part of the exhibition...Read More

  • 4. Capital Theater

    Dongcheng District | Theater

    This is a busy, modern theater near Wangfujing shopping street. It often has performances by the respected Beijing People's Art Theatre and...Read More

  • 5. China National Puppet Theater

    Chaoyang | Theater

    The shadow and hand-puppet shows at this theater convey traditional stories—it's lively entertainment for children and adults alike. This venue...Read More

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