The producer of China's first re-enactment of the anti-communist classic Animal Farm is planning to take the stage play to Shanghai after cancelling a third of the performances in Beijing due to a lack of funding. Promoter Han Jia said that rumours that she had been pressured by officials nervous about the play's implications for the ruling party were untrue. The final nine showings were cancelled because ticket sales totalling 8,000 yuan (HK$7,550) would not cover the costs of about 30,000 yuan, she said. Starting in late November, Animal Farm showed 21 times at the China Central Drama Academy, sometimes drawing close to a full house of 700 people, Han said. Tickets sold for 60 to 200 yuan, which is more than most people from Beijing would normally spend on a night out. Its Beijing run ended last month. Criticism in the Chinese media may have affected popularity, Han said. The 30 actors and actresses in the production are from the drama academy's vocational degree programme. According to a Sina.com entertainment report, this kind of play 'of course leads to a conflict between the original and the artistic creation, and whether experienced reporters or arts critics . . . most people, while enjoying the play, could not help starting debates'. The play's Chinese version sells legally on the mainland. It differs from the 1946 English original which is banned. The play's final act departs from George Orwell's ending, with humans and animals partying in harmony on the windmill created under leading pig Napoleon's regime. The director told foreign media that the play is not anti-Marxist but a comment on everyday people ignoring differences between right and wrong. Han said she was not discouraged by losing money on the Beijing debut. She plans to take the play to Shanghai as soon as she finds a venue. She said the actors were eager to go to Shanghai. She is also hoping to show the play in France if approved by a Sino-French arts exchange committee.