Water Theatre is located in Wuzhen, Zhejiang Province, China, described as “the Venice of Asia”.
Water Theatre was transformed from two fishponds and the slope in the West Scenic District of Wuzhen. It included the original water area, geography and architectural relics in its design. The concept was to find a balance between “preservation” and “modification” with the intention of making the theatre itself a cultural symbol with Oriental imagination. Its purpose was to serve as a site for performance and also a Zen place to recollect Eastern humanistic tradition.
The relationship between water and the theatre here is a continuation of the traditional Chinese theatrical experience. Among canal towns in the south of the Yangtze, there were once many conventional stages built alongside the river: viewers could row from all directions to watch performances at the bow. These old stages form the most classical parts of theatrical architecture in China.
Water Theatre is a transformation of an existing site in an old culture town. While rural reconstruction is a trending topic now facing China, a diversity of conceptions and the needs of social groups are intertwined, and the construction of Water Theatre was no exception. These interwoven notions not only exist in the design of theatrical architecture, but also appear in the performance rehearsals. The tense collision of different ideas is the epitome of the reality in China as a whole; a surged fluid results from rapid development, and a spectacle of the current society is filled with surrealism and the unknown.
Country/Region Zhejiang Province, China
Designer Chen Xianghong (CN)
General planner and Designer: Chen Xianghong
Garden and Landscape designer: Zhang Yun
Author: Tan Zeen
Co-Videographer: Wang Yongli
Co-Videographer: Hai Qi
Co-Video editor: Liang Mei
Co-Video editor: Qu Xiaoyu
Text Editor: Tam Tam
Coordinator: Ni Fang
Coordinator: Zhang Xiaomeng