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Immersive live drama will inject vitality into the tourism industry
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Immersive live drama will inject vitality into the tourism industry

As night fell, accompanied by dazzling lights and emotive music, actors were performing a story depicting the faithfulness, loyalty and courage of local merchants at the foot of Pingyao, a renowned ancient town in north China's Shanxi Province.

Following the performers, the audience shuttled between different performance scenes.

"The settings in the theater are delicately designed and the actors have performed very well. I am deeply moved by the morality of Shanxi people as shown in the drama," said Song Ciyi, a university student from Beijing who had just finished watching the performance.

The immersive live drama "See Pingyao Again," with a casting crew of 300 members, has been performed for 10 years and has attracted more than 5 million viewers to watch in total.

Kong Lingjuan, marketing manager of a local culture and tourism development company operating the drama, said the theater had arranged five performances of this drama daily during a recent peak travel period, but that tickets still proved hard to get.

"The drama not only tells the story of the history of Pingyao but has also become a new attraction for visitors," said Kong, adding that the performances had raked in some 8.3 million yuan (about 1.2 million U.S. dollars) in revenue during the eight-day holiday consisting of the Mid-Autumn Festival and the National Day earlier this month.

According to a report released by the China Association of Performing Arts, the number of performances aimed at securing revenue in China in the first half of 2023 had reached 193,300 nationwide. Total ticket revenue skyrocketed by 673.49 percent year on year to 16.8 billion yuan.

Among the performances, immersive live dramas have proved very popular at tourist resorts.

Apart from indoor dramas performed in theaters, outdoor dramas, which have integrated outdoor landscapes into the drama settings, are also popular.

Embraced by the Lyuliang Mountains on the Loess Plateau, the outdoor immersive live drama "A Dream in Qikou" is being performed in the ancient town of Qikou on the banks of the Yellow River, drawing large audiences.

The performance has helped create nearly 100 jobs for locals.

"The part-time job allows me to get in touch with more people and also provides 20,000 yuan of income a year," said Wang Nengxiang, 58, a farmer who is in charge of costume maintenance for the performance.

Chen Hongjin, an official with the bureau of culture and tourism of Pingyao County, said live stage shows have given tourists an immersive experience, boosting the development of the tourism industry.

"The pattern of 'tourism+performance' has not only injected vitality into China's performing arts economy, but also outlined infinite possibilities for the integration of culture and tourism," she said.

This photo shows the stage of outdoor immersive live drama "A Dream in Qikou" on the banks of the Yellow River, in Lyuliang City, north China's Shanxi Province.

This photo taken with a mobile phone shows artists performing during the immersive live drama "See Pingyao Again" in Jinzhong City, north China's Shanxi Province.

XinhuaShen Yi

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