Beijing's cultural authorities have decided to renovate Yangping Theater, the city's largest Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) theater in existence.
The theater, first built in 1802 by businessmen from more than 20 counties in Shanxi Province, is now used as a storehouse for a pharmacy.
The whole renovation project will take two or three years at the cost of more than 10 million yuan (US$1.2 million). When completed, the building will return to its former function as a theater, according to Jia Hongzhen, director of the Chongwen District Culture Commission.
Comprising a stage and three courtyard houses in a row, the theater was noted for its grandeur. Experts agreed that the renovation would be valuable for research into the building's architecture and the history of Chinese drama.
The first phase of the renovation is expected to start this month, with focus on the interior of the theater. The affiliated facilities would be repaired and the theater's exterior restored in the second phase, said Jia.
(Xinhua News Agency September 5, 2002)