The 8th China Arts Festival, the largest platform for Chinese performers to showcase their latest creations, opened Monday evening in central China.
State Councilor Chen Zhili announced the opening of the festival in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province.
The festival, held by the Ministry of Culture along with the local government, would display "the latest major achievement and fruits of the Chinese cultural and art sectors over the past five years," said a spokesman with the organizing committee.
A total of 54 dramas from across the country will be staged during the festival and compete for the "Wenhua" prize, the highest performance art award in China.
The spokesman said more than 500 shows and 32 exhibitions on Chinese arts would also be staged during the two-week festival, including 10 overseas dramas.
Aiming to create an "art pageant" and "festival of the people," organizers were required to sell low-price tickets totaling no less than 15 percent of the audience seats to locals, the spokesman said.
"Tickets for some performances only cost 20 yuan (US$2.63), and 20 museums and memorial halls of the city are to be opened free to the public," he said.
The festival, dating back to 1987, will feature more than 8,000 artists and actors on stage and draw more than 200,000 spectators, according to the organizer.