"The Crucible" opened this year's International Theater Live Festival on Tuesday in Beijing.
Li Congzhou is the CEO of Beijing-based ATW Culture Media, which is the sole distributor of the National Theater Live program in China. He explained the reason why "The Crucible" was chosen as the opening title.
"Yael Farbery is South African director, female director. But she approaches the production in a quite different way. Because she's quite stylish. So, one of her best works, 'The Crucible', is as familiar as a classic play."
This new form of theater, which is watched on the big screen, is increasingly popular for young Chinese audiences. The project was officially introduced into the country in 2015.
Li explained some of the advantages and disadvantages of the format.
"I think it's a huge opportunity for the theatrical content to be presented to a larger audience, at least to different groups of audience. Like, in this year's international theater live festival with Broadway cinema chain. She has lots of audience who are fans of independent film. So for those fans who've never been in theater, they will see theater content in the cinema for the very first time. The disadvantage is something that we feel we cannot make it perfect, so if you really feel that live, you must go to the theater."
As Li says, their audience is mainly female, aged between 20 and 35, highly-educated, and mostly fans of American and British television and film.
In 2009, the Royal National Theatre in London started its NT Live initiative, which broadcasts high-definition live performances of their productions to cinemas and arts venues around the world. It didn't take long for the new format to become a hit among theater lovers.