Cinemas and Theaters in Beijing

Cinemas and theaters in Beijing are on a rapid increase, numbering today over 100. The main theaters in downtown area include Capital Theater, Chinese Theater, Tianqiao Theater, Chang' an Theater, Renmin Theater, Jixiang Theater, Qingnian (Youth) Theater, Ertong (Children) Cinema, Dahua Cinema and Shengli (Victory) Cinema.

The oldest existing theater in Beijing is Guanghe Theater, built during the Ming Dynasty. First called "Cha Family Building," its name was later changed to "Guanghe Building."

The "Cha Family Building" was an open air theater set on three sides with tables drinking tea, these old theaters were also called tea gardens. There was no ticket price, only the cost of tea. Wet towels were provided to wipe away the sweat and filth accumulated during the long hours in those hot, crowed places.

Though most theaters in those days kept no seats for women, Guanghe Building was an exception. After 1949, the department in charge of culture rebuilt these old theaters such as Guanghe into standard theaters with stage, seats, backstage, orchestra, sitting room and parking lot.

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