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Inspiration 5 Min Read

Creating immersive experiences at the Unique Dream of Red Mansions theatrical complex

May 02, 2024

At our annual partner event, we took guests through a multi-sensory experience

In this piece:

In July 2023, Cao Xueqin's Dream of the Red Mansions (one of the four great classical novels of Chinese literature) came to life at the official opening of an expansive theatrical complex in Langfang, Hebei Province.  

Known as the Unique Dream of Red Mansions, it consists of 12 indoor theatres, 108 scenic spaces and outdoor theatres that showcase highly choreographed shows and picturesque gardens. A haven for literature enthusiasts and AV aficionados alike, it offers a unique multi-sensory experience. 

Christie China 2024 Partner Event at Dream of the Red Mansions


On April 16, 2024, on the eve of the InfoComm China trade show, our ProAV sales team in China visited this extraordinary venue as part of its annual Christie partner event. As we stepped into this vast 150,000-square-meter venue that took eight years to complete, we were immediately attracted to its distinctive fusion of literature, art, and technology and its narrative tapestry that ignited our imaginations. 

For the next four hours, we were struck by the differences between the Unique Dream of Red Mansions and conventional theme parks. Instead of static imagery, it embraces dynamic scenic installations and cutting-edge AV tech to create an immersive fantasy world for guests. 

But the heart of the experience lies in the stage performances, where storytelling is the main draw. Masterful narration, live actors, and intricate stagecraft transport audiences into Cao Xueqin’s world. Enhanced by AV innovations, these performances redefine immersion and blur the lines between fiction and reality. 

Real-Unreal Theatre 

Among these performances, the live, hour-long show in the “Real-Unreal Theatre” was the most impressive. A talented cast and stunning set design transport the audience into various scenes from the novel. Thirty-six intricately carved doors reveal beautifully lit set pieces with water effects on the floor that cast fascinating reflections. Vivid projections, created by 15 Christie DWU1082-GS projectors, added another layer of depth to the spectacle, making it an unforgettable experience for all. 

Performers on a stage with blue fog at their feet.

The “Real-Unreal Theatre” features a live, hour-long show depicting various scenes from the novel.

At one point, fog effects create the illusion of a scene that takes place over a mountainous area shrouded by clouds — an effect that elicites gasps from the audience due to its incredible beauty. It’s no wonder that this captivating performance at the “Real-Unreal Theatre” stands out as the main highlight of Unique Dream of Red Mansions; its operator shared that it’s the most watched and celebrated show within the entire complex. 

Dream of the Red Mansions Chapter 33 Theatre 

A major highlight of the “Dream of the Red Mansions Chapter 33 Theatre” is an engaging reenactment of one of the novel’s most memorable scenes. The narrative unfolds on a massive, three-sided gauze screen that’s illuminated by a Christie DWU1400-GS projector on each side. The images they displayed were juxtaposed with live actors behind the screen.  

A tree and snow-filled landscape is projected onto three walls of a room while a group of people look on.

One of the novel’s most memorable scenes is projected on a massive, three-sided gauze screen that’s illuminated by three Christie DWU1400-GS projectors on each side

We witnessed a compelling portrayal of how the protagonist might react if confronted with similar circumstances depicted in the novel, but within the context of modern celebrity life. The seamless transition between ancient and contemporary narratives, enhanced by AV technology including projection, lighting, and audio effects, was truly outstanding. Sharp, vivid projections on the surrounding gauze screens heighten the ambiance, and help to immerse the audience in the storyline and performances. 

Bed Theatre 

As we entered the “Bed Theatre,” we were immediately drawn to its layout, which resembles a vast bedroom with beds of various sizes. We were encouraged to recline and witness the unfolding spectacle in front of a massive mirror that reflected amusing images of us as we lay on the beds. 

A dimly lit room of beds with side tables and lamps.

Two strategically positioned Christie DWU1612-GS projectors enhance the theatrical experience in “Bed Theatre”.

To our delight, this mirror transforms into a unique two-way screen as the show starts and reveals under special lighting that live performers are behind it. Two strategically positioned Christie DWU1612-HS projectors enhance the theatrical experience as they present fascinating displays that immerse the audience in scenarios parallel to those in the novel. At certain points, live performers emerge and engage the audience in witty banter and playful interactions, infusing the atmosphere with humor and enhancing our enjoyment of the show.  

Beidamen Light Show 

As the sun dips below the horizon, we’re escorted to a sprawling outdoor courtyard near the main entrance where another projection mapping spectacle titled “Beidamen Light Show” awaits. Sixteen ancient-style gates, adorned with intricate designs reminiscent of the Qing Dynasty period (1644 – 1911) stand illuminated by 64 Christie DWU860-iS projectors positioned atop the surrounding walls. 

The façade of a building with white swirls projected onto it.

64 Christie DWU860-iS projectors, positioned atop the surrounding walls, illuminate “Beidamen Light Show”.

Standing before these gates, still mesmerized by the breathtaking projections enveloping our senses, we are seemingly whisked away to the year 1740, the era of Dream of the Red Mansions, characterized by an enchanting blend of romance, tragedy, and social commentary. Immersed in this grand narrative, we feel as though we step into the pages of history and gain insight into the aesthetics, lifestyles, and social dynamics of China during that era. 

“It was the perfect combination of how literature, art, and science come together to deliver a stunning, multi-sensory experience that goes beyond what conventional theatre performances can offer.”

As our visit to this remarkable theatrical complex draws to a close, we can’t help but marvel at the creative genius and choreographic brilliance of renowned Chinese theatrical director Wang Chaoge. Behind the superb performances we witness is Wang’s seasoned expertise, evident in her influential scenario performances and theatrical works.  

Equally deserving of recognition are our partners at Beijing Zhongqing Display Technology, responsible for bringing the four distinct performance venues to life with astounding projections. This harmonious fusion of art, culture, history, and technology showcases the boundless potential of projection technology in cultural tourism. It stands as a testament to the transformative power of storytelling and projection artistry and invites audiences of all ages to embark on a journey of discovery and wonder.