At No. 630, Huashan Road, Shanghai, there sits an art palace where many firsts in the development of New China's art were born and set off from here:
The first actress of the Hundred Flowers Film Awards-Zhu Xijuan; the first drama, film and television actors of ethnic minority-Tibetan acting class; the first Chinese actor to play the leading role in the Broadway-Wang Luoyong; the first to light up with fireworks the opening ceremony of the Olympics-Cai Guoqiang; the first higher art college in comprehensive performing artswith the widest distribution of majors, the longest training series, and the most complete art categories...
This palace is Shanghai Theater Academy, also called the cradle of artists.
The predecessor of Shanghai Theater Academy was the Shanghai Municipal Experimental Drama School. It was founded on December 1, 1945 by the famous dramatists Li Jianwu, Gu Zhongyi, and Huang Zuolin. Gu Zhongyi served as the first principal. This is the first professional school in Chinese history that specialized in cultivating professional talents in drama performance and directing. In May 1949, it was renamed Shanghai Academy of Drama. In 1952, the colleges and departments nationwide were adjusted. After reorganization, the school was renamed the East China Branch of the Central Academy of Drama, under the direct leadership of the Ministry of Culture. In 1956, it was officially named Shanghai Theatre Academy. The long-term president was the famous dramatist Xiong Fuxi.
In the early 1960s, the school forged an educational setup consisting of four departments, including acting, stage art, drama and literature, and director. In the mid-1970s, the Department of Fine Arts was established. From the 1980s to the 1990s, a film director class was created; in 1995, the school opened the majors of art design, radio and television editing and directing, and pioneered the television host major in China and established the television art department.
In 2000, the school was transformed from the management of the Ministry of Culture to “the co-construction by the central and local governments, with local management as the mainstay.
In 2002, the former School of Performing Arts of Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai Opera School, and Shanghai Dance School were merged into Shanghai Theatre Academy, serving as an opera dance branch, an affiliated opera school and an affiliated dance school. In 2004, the school successively established the School of Creativity and the School of Continuing Education. In 2005, the school established the Chinese Opera Academy, the Dance Academy and the TV Art Academy on the basis of related majors in opera, dance and TV art.
So far, the school boasts three campuses (Huashan Road Campus, Lianhua Road Campus, Hongqiao Road Campus), four directly affiliated departments (Performance Department, Stage Art Department, Drama Literature Department, Director Department), and four secondary colleges (Chinese Opera Academy, Dance College, Television Art College, Creative College), a continuing education college, and two technical secondary schools.