Star hopefuls lined up for last year's entrance exam at the Shanghai Theater Academy. (Jiang Xiaowei/SHINE)
Shanghai Theater Academy has seen a rapid 42 percent increase in the number of students vying for a place this year, revealed the academy on Feb 5.
From February 26 to March 11, a record number of students — 30,929 — will be sitting the academy's entrance examination for a total of 464 places in acting, directing, TV hosting, scriptwriting, dance and stage art.
According to Huang Changyong, director of the Shanghai Theater Academy, the number of candidates has increased by around 170 percent since 2012.
This year, the academy is working on a more open and fair examination system for the candidates.
"We will attach much more importance to the students' all-round abilities," Huang said. "The candidates are also required to achieve good performance at the national college entrance exam."
Only one in every 126 applicants will secure a place in the most sought-after department: acting.
This year, the acting department will enroll just 50 students. Compared with last year, the increased 10 seats of the department will be offered by a newly launched film school — a joint effort of the academy, Alibaba Group and Fosun Group.
The applicants will receive tests in recitation, singing, dancing and gymnastics during three rounds of examination. Among the judges are famed directors, theater experts and scholars.
For the first time, a casual performance workshop will be included in the examination. The judges will observe the candidates' creativity, learning capability and potential through impromptu performances.
Competition for a place in art college in Beijing is fierce, too.
This year 51,698 students applied for admission to the Central Academy of Drama, a 43 percent increase over last year.