Full of bustle, commerce, innovation and rocketing skyscrapers, Shanghai also has a thriving cultural scene. A trip to the city's many landmarks and historical sites can offer a glimpse into both its past and future, but to truly experience the cultural richness that the city has to offer, consider catching a traditional puppet show or an evening of gravity-defying acrobatics.
Peking Opera with Shanghai Flair
Founded in 1955, the Shanghai Jingju Company (or Shanghai Peking Opera Troupe) is one of ten national troupes officially recognized by the Chinese Ministry of Culture. Along with implementing age-old techniques and performing traditional Peking operas, their repertoire also includes Western numbers adapted to the style of Peking opera. With over 300 performers, the company has two troupes that perform both in Shanghai as well as abroad.
Tianchan Peking Opera Center
- 701 Fuzhou Road
Learn more about the history, stories, costumes and roles of traditional opera in our article on Traditional Beijing Opera.
The Shanghai Puppet Theater has been around for fifty years and has been entertaining families ever since its doors opened. Performing both traditional Chinese tales, such as those of the Monkey King, as well as Western pieces, the troupe showcases time-honored Chinese techniques such as rod puppets and shadow characters as well as integrating other puppetry art forms from around the world.
Shanghai Puppet Theater
- 5/F 388 West Nanjing Road
- 5/F 南京西路388号
The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1879, then called the Shanghai Public Band, and has since grown to world-renowned fame. It's current Director, Long Yu, has even been invited to perform with the Philadelphia orchestra. Working with musicians from around the globe, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra has also showcased a number of up-and-coming Chinese composers to help introduce their music to the world. But its international notability has come from working with Tan Dun to create the original scores for the movies Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and The Banquet.
While the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Hall is under construction, the orchestra performs at a number of venues around the city including the Shanghai Grand Theater, Shanghai Concert Hall and the Shanghai Oriental Art Center. The location for the performance is given during booking and printed on the tickets.
Flexible Form - Shanghai Acrobatics Shows
Besides the glittering colonial buildings and bustling streets, Shanghai also offers spectacular acrobatic shows for those looking for eye-popping fun. Chinese acrobatics are widely known around the world. Nowadays performers put in more effort than ever to make their performances as incredible as possible.
Mind-bending in its expression, Chinese acrobatics take flexibility and show to a new level. From balancing acts to limb-contorting theatrics, these performances are ones you won't soon forget. Routines vary and on any given night you might catch motorcycle shows, kung fu or even operatic elements mixed in with the exceptional acrobatics.
Some theaters we recommended are as follows:
ERA Intersection of Time at Circus World, Shanghai
Noted as a multimedia theatrical spectacular, the show is definitely a revolution of Chinese traditional acrobatics. The 2.5 hours plunge every audience into the river of time. Past, present and future are all vividly and magically narrated by the music, dancing and acrobatics
- Time: 7:30pm-10:00pm daily year round
- Location: Shanghai Circus World, 2266 Gonghe Xin Road, Xiabei Disctrict (闸北区共和新路2266号)
- From Pudong International Airport (上海浦东国际机场) to Shanghai Train Station (上海火车站) by airport bus route 5, then Shanghai Train Station to Shanghai Circus World (上海马戏城) by Subway Line 1.
- From Hongqiao International Airport (上海虹桥国际机场) to Shanghai Zoo (上海动物园) by bus 806 (or 807, 938), then Shanghai Zoo to Huangling Road South (黄陵南路) by Shanghai Business Line, and then Huangling Road South to Shanghai Circus World (上海马戏城) by Subway Line 1.
- VIP section: 600 CNY/person;
- A section: 400 CNY/person;
- B section upstairs and C section downstairs: 300 CNY/person,
- C section upstairs and D section downstairs: 200 CNY/person;
- D section upstairs: 120 CNY/person.
Note: Infants may not attend the show. Full price for children.
Incredible Acrobatics of China Show at Shanghai Magnolia Theatre
Comparatively, the Magnolia Theatre shares more of a traditional tinge. The show boasts a refined and wonderful performance rooted in China's long history. Audiences are awed at the well-arranged programs such as group contrition, jar juggling, barrel contortion and aerial ballet.
- Time: 7:30pm – 9:00pm daily year round (Additional act starts at 5:15pm)
- Ticket Pricing: 150, 200, or 280 CNY/person depending on the seat.
- Location: Luwan District Cultural Center, 308, Chongqing Road South, Luwan District, Shanghai 上海市卢湾区重庆南路308号上海卢湾区文化馆内
- From Pudong International Airport ( 上海浦东国际机场) to Dapu Bridge 打浦桥 by Airport Route 3, then from Dapu Bridge to Magnolia Theatre by foot.
- From Hongqiao International Airport (上海虹桥国际机场) to Dapu Bridge (打浦桥) by Bus 806, then walk to Magnolia Theatre by walk
- From Shanghai Train Station (上海火车站) to Huangling South Road (黄陵南路) on the Nanxin Line.
Shanghai Baiyulan Theater
- 308 South Chongqing Rd
Shanghai Circus World
- 2266 Gonghexin Rd
Shanghai Center Theater
- 1376 West Nanjing Rd
- 205 Wuning Rd
See Shanghai Performances with China Highlights
Want to spend an evening in Shanghai taking in a great show, filled with cultural traditions and unbelievable skill? Let our travel team know and we'll make sure to include a performance in one of our Shanghai tours. Interested in a more tailor-made option? We can create a completely customized tour for you as well.