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September 3, 2009

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Detective plays take spotlight

THE 79-year-old Xinguang Film Art Center on Ningbo Road near Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall has been renovated to be the city's first "whodunnit theater."
The theater will focus on detective plays, such as those written by Agatha Christie.
All plays staged in the theater will have English subtitles.
The first play - Christie's "Cards on the Table" - will be staged on September 26 at the theater with a seating capacity of 300.
Detective plays are popular in Shanghai.
About 30 percent of the plays being staged in the city this year fall in the category, according to Zhang Yu, director of Shanghai Modern People's Theater.
The theater company will stage six detective and thriller plays at Xinguang Film Art Center in the new season.
"Many new theaters and cinemas have been built across Shanghai in recent years, while historical theaters like Xinguang were neglected," he said.
Before the renovation, Xinguang Film Art Center was used as a cinema and found it hard to compete with bigger and more modern rivals.
It will still show films in the day time, with a focus on arts movies from both home and abroad.
Built in 1930, Xinguang Film Art Center once hosted plays, Peking Opera and movies. It was the first theater to screen a Chinese movie with recorded sound.
Screen legend Charlie Chaplin paid a visit to the theater during his stay in Shanghai in 1936.
"Love in a Fallen City," the most famous work by renowned Chinese writer Eileen Chang, made its debut in Xinguang in 1944.


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