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Literature

All the world’s a stage for Chinese city that wants to recreate Shakespeare’s hometown

Site honouring three literary masters will also pay homage to ‘China’s Shakespeare’ Tang Xianzu and Spain’s Miguel de Cervantes

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 December, 2017, 7:56pm
UPDATED : Friday, 08 December, 2017, 10:14pm

Shakespeare is coming to China with a new tourist attraction that recreates the English writer’s hometown near the city where another revered playwright was born.

The new town in Jiangxi province dubbed Sanweng, or “three masters,” will be built near Fuzhou – the birthplace of Tang Xianzu, who is frequently described as China’s Shakespeare.

The venue will also honour their great Spanish contemporary Miguel de Cervantes, who died in 1616 – the same year as Tang and Shakespeare.

Fuzhou took another step towards making the literary hub a reality on Thursday after signing memorandums of understanding with Shakespeare’s hometown Stratford-upon-Avon and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the British charity that oversees sites across the globe celebrating the playwright, Chinese news portal Thepaper.cn reported.

The agreements will put into motion plans released by the Fuzhou government in September last year, which will be overseen by Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

The project will see replicas of Shakespeare’s two family homes and several Stratford streets being built on the site, according to the British newspaper The Telegraph.

Family graveyard of ‘China’s Shakespeare’ rediscovered

Visitors will also be able to explore a recreation of Cervantes’s hometown of Alcalá de Henare, which includes its main church and town square.

The site will also include a replica of the Trinita dei Monti, a Renaissance church in Rome, where Cervantes lived for several years.

Sanweng will also honour Tang – whose best known works are the sequence of plays known as the Four Dreams – with a museum, town hall, and “garden of famous artists of opera”.

The town is slated to be part of the broader collaboration and cultural exchange efforts between China and the United Kingdom.

In April last year, Fuzhou and Stratford formally signed an agreement to establish friendly relations to lay the groundwork for further cooperation.

In April this year, a delegation from Fuzhou travelled to Stratford to take part in the celebrations commemorating the 453rd anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth.

Why China’s love affair with Shakespeare endures

A delegation from Stratford-upon-Avon also joined in a festival honouring Tang in Fuzhou, where archaeologists recently announced they had discovered the site of his family graveyard, which was largely destroyed in the Cultural Revolution.