Following a creation period of 10 years, Taiwan's new Taipei Performing Arts Center has finally opened.


Co-designed by the Dutch duo Rem Koolhaas and David Gianotten, of OMA, the 13-storey aluminium and glass cube structure consists of three auditoria: a 1500-seat Grand Theatre, an 800-seat Blue Box Theatre (which, when combined, make a 2300-seat Super Theatre for the largest productions) and an 800-seat Globe Playhouse. Together, they make an imposing statement, designed, according to the complex's CEO Austin Wang, to showcase 'the multiplicity of voices in Taiwan.'

The project, which cost 6.7bn new Taiwanese dollars, ($220 mn) - almost double its original budget - has been saddled with complications, including halted construction and Covid infections among the engineers. The complex's opening, on Sunday 7 August, took place against the backdrop of tension with China over US politician Nancy Pelosi's visit. But the sense of ambition behind it is palpable: 'Despite challenges posed by the pandemic, we have been able to collaborate with artists from the UK, France, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Spain and Thailand – presenting theatre, dance, musicals, operas, symphonies, multi-media works and performance art,' says Wang. 'This body of work is a testament to the tenacity of Taiwanese artists and the technical prowess of the Center.’

Thirty-seven productions and 142 performances are scheduled for the TPAC's opening season. Among the artists are Formosa Circus Art joining forces with the Taipei Male Choir; and the Bulareyaung Dance Company performing a new work that showcases the music and dance of Taiwan's Atayal people.


Located above Taipei’s Shilin Night Market, the TPAC is designed to coexist with the city's 'vibrant street culture', in the words of David Gianotten, OMA's Managing Partner. 'For us, this mix of cultures aptly captures the energy of Taipei, a city always open to changes,' he explains.


Hannah Nepilova is a regular contributor to BBC Music Magazine. She has also written for The Financial Times, The Times, The Strad, Gramophone, Opera Now, Opera, the BBC Proms and the Philharmonia, and runs The Cusp, an online magazine exploring the boundaries between art forms. Born to Czech parents, she has a strong interest in Czech music and culture.