Four years in the planning stages, the 1.8 million square meter theater within a
renovated train factory on the outskirts of Hangzhou city, and built by the Hangzhou
Xintiandi Group, a privately owned developer of tourism and cultural projects across
China, is a marvel in its own right. The purpose-built theatre, created in collaboration
with Auerbach Pollock Friedlander and CUC Architects (the Local Design Institute),
has been designed for an immersive experience for about 1,500 spectators and blurs the
line between performance, spectacle, and special effects, quite literally moving the
spectators to a different realm.
The audience chamber, the size of a soccer pitch, is divided into two sets of intimate
revolving seating wagons, each of which can revolve 360 degrees and traverse 27.5m;
giving rise to two different viewing experiences in one show. These seating wagons
view the massive 100m-wide mainstage, divided into 3 panels individually controlled
to create any configuration imaginable, allowing the setting to shape-shift as the
story unfolds, and a center stage area that is also constantly rising, lowering, and
spinning in a circle. Further enhancing the story possibilities, the upstage great wall
itself is segmented into nine individual moveable parts, which shift during the course
of the drama.
Waagner-Biro Stage Systems delivered and installed the two identical wagons, which
can move linearly, independently of one another, on a rail system. The two wagons
each run on 20 separately driven bogies. On the wagons, there is a turntable with
a seating stand, which provides space for about 721 spectators (23 rows). The area
of one seating wagon is 814 square meters and has a speed of max 0.61 m/s.
Also designed by Auerbach Pollock Friedlander in collaboration with Cirque du Soleil,
the video projection system allows for complex mapping of virtual scenery and visual
effects throughout the stages and auditorium. There's more than 700 moving lights and
six 56 4K projectors imported from Belgium in this rig. Making use of the latest
technology, the sound system is comprised of nearly 1,700 loudspeakers under digital
control that allows voices, music, and effects to be discretely mixed to any
combination of loudspeakers. Each seat has three speakers in the headrest — designed
to create surround sound — customized for the show. The audience is completely
enveloped in an unparalleled visual and sonic environment.
A combination of 3D props, video mapping, and trap doors from which acrobats seem
to 'disappear' inside landscapes and return when you least expect it, allowing
for artists to perform gravity-defying acrobatic acts; all of which are designed
to disorient the senses.