The “Impression Lui Sanjie” is a performance place like no other. This has been described as the world largest natural theatre, where 10,000 spectators can watch the show, which contains a cast of 600 performers.
Utilizing the waters of the Li River as the stage, this is one of the most dramatic landscapes in China. Seemingly endless greenery surrounds the site, and with the backdrop of mist shrouded towers of Karst reaching to the sky, the story is told, of gifted folk music singer Lui Sanjie. This story is over 1000 years old and is about Lui and her lover running from the authorities, and transforming into larches which allowed them to stay together forever.
The auditorium is based on the natural islands of the river, with the audience standing on specially designed terraces, surrounded by the lush green plants and bamboo groves. Lighting, sound and all other modern requirements for a 21st century show, are hidden from the casual observer. During daylight hours, the canopies can seem almost solid and yellow in colour, although allowing dappled areas of sunlight to shine onto the floor below. During darkness, the moonlight and augmented lighting systems, diffuse the light, helping with the theatrical aspect, as well as the ambient lighting for guests.
The story has been performed in this location since 2004, but work finished in 2020 of the installation, to increase the comfort of the theatre goers, against the almost constant rainfall. Shanghai based architects LLLab created the installation, that repurposed the natural bamboo into a 140-metre canopy. This wavy hand-woven bamboo canopy, varies in height along its length and weight; supporting pillars are hidden within the structure and faced with woven bamboo.