International street art festival to be held at Sinan Mansions

The StArt Festival 2018 will include stilts shows, traditional opera, music, dance, puppet shows and mute performances at the Sinan Mansions between April 29 and May 1.
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A file photo of a puppet show named Saurus from a Dutch troupe that features several 5.5-meter-tall puppet dinosaurs that interact with audience and passers-by.

Over 100 art performances from international artists will be staged for free at a public space near Xintiandi during a street art festival next week.

The StArt Festival 2018, to include stilts shows, traditional opera, music, dance, puppet shows and mute performances, will be displayed to the public on the plazas and streets of the Sinan Mansions between April 29 and May 1.

Half of the performances are created by artists from abroad, such as France, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Spain and Hungary, to offer an art feast with "global standards," Zheng Yi, branding director of the mansions, said.

"These performances will be held in 15 sites among the historic villas of the mansions for residents and tourists to surprisingly encounter during the Labor Day holiday," Zheng added. No fixed schedule will be offered on when the performances will start.

The mansions, covering about 50,000 square meters in Huangpu District, feature over 50 historic garden villas in various architectural styles. Many of them were former residences of celebrities such as poet Liu Yazi and Peking opera master Mei Lanfang. Some of the villas have been converted into cafés, restaurants and shopping malls.

The festival aims to offer an open and free public space art festival and let various artistic genres collide and mix with each other, said Bertrand Dessane, the festival's art director from France.

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A stage photo of the special comedy named Jacques Baguette, in which artists use their backs to perform various characters.

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A file photo of a large puppet installation from famous Chinese artist Ma Liang. The installation, about a pilot from the age of steam, shows his understanding of Western philosophy and puppet arts.

As a highlight, a puppet show named Saurus from a Dutch troupe will bring several 5.5-meter-tall puppet dinosaurs to the streets of the mansions. The giant dinosaurs and artists who serves as trainers will interact with the audience and passersby.

German troupe Men In Back from Berlin will perform a special comedy named Jacques Baguette, in which artists will use their backs to perform various characters.

Some award-winning plays will also make their Shanghai debuts at the festival, like the Last Dance of Brigitte from a Spanish troupe that won the top prize of the Dutch international puppet festival.

Chinese artists will also bring their innovative works to audiences at the mansions. Famous artist Ma Liang will bring a large puppet installation, about a pilot in the age of steam, to show his understanding of Western philosophy and puppet arts.

Local opera director Cai Yiyun has prepared an interactive event on the topic of marriage. Performers will simulate those at the popular dating corner at downtown People's Park, as well as couples at wedding ceremonies, to encourage the audience to discuss the meaning of marriage. Cai will hold her own wedding ceremony at the mansions after the festival.

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A stage photo of the Last Dance of Brigitte from a Spanish troupe that won the top prize at the Dutch international puppet festival.

A grand parade with all the performing artists present will be held at the mansions at 2pm on April 29 to mark the beginning of the festival. 

The first such street art festival of the mansions was initiated in May of last year, where over 10,000 people came to watch a total of 123 art performances during the three-day festival.

The festival highlights the feature of Shanghai culture which combines east and west, Cao Xiaomin, deputy director with the publicity department of Huangpu District said.

"The buildings of Sinan Mansions are a mixture of local and western architectural styles, while the performances to be held there also show such a combination," Cao said.

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Last Dance of Brigitte from Spanish troupe Zero En Conductra


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