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Shanghai's 10 Unmissable Events and Festivals this Summer

Shanghai's 10 Unmissable Events and Festivals this Summer
It may not come as a surprise, but there really is something for everyone this summer in Shanghai. From art installations to music festivals, every street comes alive with culture around this time, with the city’s famous Tourist Festival meaning everywhere showcases their finest exhibitions, performances and experiences for the massive and varied crowds. Join them, and discover the most exciting season of all in China’s cultural capital.


Theatre | Three Short Plays by Samuel Beckett
Art Gallery, Theatre

26 – 27 July A new performance of a Beckett play is always remarkable in itself, with his estate holding tight control over who does or does not get to perform the great man’s work. However, this one is a particularly crucial watch; not only are three plays being performed, but also this is the first time ever that ‘Play’, ‘Footfalls’ and ‘What Where’ will be performed in Chinese. Come to see how well his tales, of three heads in urns talking of their lost love triangle, a haunting woman in turn haunted by her mother, and a strange interrogation in the void, translate into a language they have never been told in before. Qianshuiwan Culture Center, 179 Yichang Road, Shanghai, China,

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Art | The Ninth Wave
Art Gallery

8 August – 26 October In what is the Power Station of Art’s first solo exhibition by a living artist, the gallery presents the work of the America-based, Chinese-born artist Cai Guo-Qiang. The show wishes to bring attention to what the artist sees as a crucial time in the environmental crisis. Inspired by the horrific incident in 2013 of 16,000 dead pigs being carried by the tide of the Huangpu River, the show ceremonially began in mid-July, with the artist bringing The Ninth Wave, a boat manned by a crew of figures of dying animals, across the same river to the gallery, and the eponymous exhibition looks set to continue in the same grand scale through eleven new works, including another of his famous gunpowder works.

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Dance | World Ballet Stars Gala

9 August

Another first for Shanghai comes courtesy of the Shanghai Grand Theatre, who are bringing their 2014 ballet season to a close in stunning fashion with this gala, featuring many leading lights of international dance who have never performed in Shanghai before. Chief among these is the Bolshoi’s prima ballerina Svetlana Zakharova, but also performing are principals and soloists from Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Shanghai’s own Shanghai Ballet. All of these and more will be performing in this one night only show, which has been intriguingly titled Baiser Volé, or ‘stolen kiss’.

Shanghai Grand Theatre, 300 Renmin Avenue, Shanghai, China, +86 21 6372 8701



Theatre | Revel’s World of Shakespeare

28 – 31 August

Joseph Graves (the co-founder of the Institute of World Theatre and Film at Peking University) brings his one-man show about his own Shakespeare-obsessed English teacher to Shanghai after ecstatically reviewed shows in Beijing; in fact, Time Out went so far as to say ‘Take the day off of work, change your holiday plans,reschedule your wedding, but don’t miss this show’. It is easy to see why it received such praise, with Graves seamlessly moving from comedy to haunting tragedy in mere moments. Find out for yourself this August whether these reviews are much ado about nothing or not when it finally comes to Shanghai.

Lyceum Theatre, 57 Maoming South Road, Shanghai, China, +86 21 6217 8530

Culture | Shanghai Tourism Festival

15 September – 5 October

Every year, eight million people visit Shanghai for this festival, taking place across 20 days in countless locations across the city. If the grand, awe inspiring floats, food, festivals and fireworks are not reason alone to visit, every major gallery and museum offers half price entry throughout the entirety of the festival, as well as many tour companies and hotels offering deals, meaning there is no reason not to see and experience everything the city has to offer during this time, from the famous Shanghai International Musical Fireworks Festival to the smallest, most hidden away treasures of the world’s most populated city.

Event takes place in various locations across Shanghai, China, +86 21 2311 5559

Arts | China Shanghai International Arts Festival

27 September – 27 October

Everyone from Andrea Bocelli to Beyoncé has graced the stage of this, the only state-run culture festival in China. Coming at the tail end of the Tourism Festival, the China Shanghai International Arts Festival presents a whole month of the world’s greatest music, drama, dance, and whatever other cultural discipline which can be thought of from all over the world. However, the festival is not all about the big names (although there are plenty of them performing,) with the stages showcasing local performers big and small attracting so far attracting 18 million visitors over its thirteen successful years.

Event takes place in various locations across Shanghai, China, +86 21 6272 0346