Historic Mansions Host Free Performances

Over 100 performances by international artists will be staged for free at public space near Sinan Mansions during a four-day street art festival next month.


The StArt Festival 2019 will include stilts shows, drama, music, dance, puppetry and mime on the plazas and streets around the historical villas between May 1 and 4.


The performances will feature 32 artists from nine leading art troupes from both home and abroad. Close interaction with the audience will be a major highlight of the event, said Li Haiyu, the mansions’ general manager.


A show entitled “CORdas” from the Spanish flamenco dance troupe Dansacio, for instance, will invite the audience to join them in traditional flamenco dances. The audience can also follow a “headless man” in another show called “The Suit” to walk across Sinan Road to nearby Fuxing Park.


The shows will be held at 16 sites among the historic villas and the park for residents and tourists to encounter during the Labor Day holiday, Li said. There’s no fixed schedule as to when the performances start.



The mansions in Huangpu District feature over 50 historic garden villas in various styles. Many were former residences of celebrities such as poet Liu Yazi and Peking Opera master Mei Lanfang. Some of the villas have been converted into cafes, restaurants and shops.


The annual event began in 2017 and attracts over 10,000 visitors and millions of online views every year, Li said. In response to rising demand, this year’s event has been extended to run from 11am to 10pm every day with “non-stop performances,” Li said.


A grand puppet parade “Gueule d’Ours” (huge bears) will be held at night when glowing bears will appear in the downtown region.


The slogan of the event is “All in All Free,” because the organizer wants to host an open art festival to allow the public to enjoy world-class art performances while enhancing their understanding toward art, said Li.