Pudong introduces bidding to give residents the culture they want

People in Pudong are not being spoon-fed performances they don't like. The government has held an auction to give them what they want.

Pudong government has become the first in the country to introduce public bidding to supply cultural services.

The aim is to better satisfy residents’ needs. Officials from Pudong towns and communities do the bidding having first consulted with residents on what they like.

In an auction held last Friday, officials and representatives of residents from 36 communities and towns in the Pudong New Area bid against each other to buy 25 shows by China’s top troupes — from Peking Opera classics to multimedia children’s drama.

The shows, with a starting price of 10,000 (US$1,510), were actually sold out from 60,000 to 250,000 yuan.

“Previously, our people are spoon-fed with performances they may not like much. And our grassroots cultural facilities don’t know where to introduce high-quality shows,” said Sun Yu, deputy director of Pudong’s cultural authority. “So we decided to return the choices to our people.”

“I didn’t expect it,” said Song Guanlin, executive of China Oriental Performing Arts Group, whose large-scale evening gala “Flower Blossom in Orient" was the most popular product.

“We used to hold a stereotyped image that free cultural services were crudely made. It’s not true. People do want high-quality performances,” Song said. “Also, it pushed us to make more shows catering to people’s needs.”

Huju Opera “Deng Shichang” by Shanghai Huju Theater was sold for 75,000 yuan to Tangzhen Town.

“Our people, especially the elders, love our traditional local Huju,” said Liu Qinjian, director of the Tangzhen Cultural Services Center. “We need high-quality programs. Previously, we didn’t know where to reach these renowned troupes, but now the government helps to build a platform for us.”

Cultural officials said Pudong is taking efforts to provide cultural services at the doorstep and creating a strong cultural ambiance. In the next five years, it plans to introduce world-known artists and foster local talent.

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