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The Beijing People's Art Theater, the China National Experimental Theater and the China National Youth Theater in Beijing have been at the heart of a new interest in Western-style drama, which was introduced to China in early 20th century and gradually came of age in the 1930s, a time when the great dramatist Cao Yu wrote three classic plays Thunderstorm, Sunrise and The Wilderness. During the past two decades the Beijing People's Art Theater, founded in 1952, has presented over 80 new plays and 12 repertoire productions such as the Teahouse, one of the modern classics written by Lao She (1899-1966) that chronicles the turbulence and wars Chinese went through in the more than 40 years from the turn of the century until the founding of the People's Republic in 1949. Aside from regular theaters that seat some 1,000, many smaller theaters with a seating capacity of some 200-300 have opened, which also have played a significant role in boosting the popularity of stage dramas in China's capital city, particularly among young people.

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