Madame White Snake

An opera troupe fights eviction in Shanghai

Madame White Snake An opera house in one of Shanghai’s last remaining informal housing settlements is ordered for demolition. In the midst of dwindling audience numbers, sweeping gentrification and a pandemic, what is left for this community and its leader, Zhou Guixiang?
Zou Guixiang’s opera troupe had performed in Shanghai for 30 years. But higher rents are forcing people out of the city. "When we first moved here, the monthly rent was US$280. Now it’s up to $2,000." says Zhou. Finally, the opera house succumbs to the same fate as many cultural spots in Shanghai, as it is ordered for demolition, and Zhou and her family are evicted. When the pandemic struck, Zhou lost her livelihood and had to stay with her daughter. "Being at home during the lockdown gave me a lot of anxiety" she says. Not all is lost, however, as Zhou and her family settle into a new home outside the city. "Now that we’ve moved to this new place, we are quite happy" says Zhou.

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